Lara Lavi: Death Row Records’ New CEO

death row diary cover

Since the original Hip-Hop powerhouse Death Row Records was acquired by WIDEawake Entertainment for $18 Million in January 2009, both fans and critics of the iconic label have speculated about its future. Questions have arisen about not only the marketability, but also the purity and relevancy of a ‘new’ Death Row brand. With managing partner Lara Lavi at the helm, steering Death Row into the digital age, should a renaissance be expected? Owing to a new warden focused on improving the relationship with former inmates and renovating the brand, the Second Coming of Death Row is imminent.

Full interview on

Oh and by the way the photo at the top of the page is Lara Lavi…not me (for those who have asked).

MOBO Awards Nominees 2009

After reading the 2009 nominations for the MOBO awards, I am no longer surprised why the UK scene becomes so stagnated so quickly. When the same old names appear most years, regardless of whether those honours actually apply in that said year, it does beg the questing, what’s the point?

Peppered with just a handleful of newbies to keep the more outspoken members of the press (such as myself) at bay – as you can see that worked terribly well – the MOBO list is about as inspiring as a Gordon Brown speech. Next year, it would be nice to see some names appear actually due to relevance and talent rather than just profile and ass-kissing.

Oh and when was Tim Westwood last relevant? No seriously, somebody please fill me in, as I have a sneaking suspicion that it may have been before my time!

So without further ado, the list of MOBO award nominees, enjoy.

Alesha Dixon
Beverly Knight
Dizzee Rascal
DJ Ironik
Mr. Hudson
Tinchy Stryder

Alexandra Burke
Jade Ewen
Laura Izibor
Master Shortie

Beverly Knight
Keri Hilson

Dizzee Rascal
Kanye West

‘Bonkers’ – Dizzee Rascal
‘Boy Does Nothing’ – Alesha Dixon
‘Diamond Rings’ – Chipmunk ft. Emeli Sande
‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ – Beyonce
‘Supernova’ – Mr. Hudson ft. Kanye West

Jay Z
Kanye West
Keri Hilson
Lady Gaga
Mariah Carey

‘Beat Again’ – JLS
‘Diamond Rings’ – Chipmunk ft. Emeli Sande
‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ – K.I.G. Family
‘Number One’ – Tinchy Stryder Ft. N-Dubz
‘Strong Again’ – N-Dubz

‘808s and Heartbreaks’ – Kanye West
‘Catch 22’ – Tinchy Stryder
‘Catch Me If You Can’ – Bashy
‘I Am… Sasha Fierce’ – Beyonce
‘Uncle B’ – N-Dubz

Sean Paul
Tarrus Riley
Vybz Kartel

Diana Krall
Herbie Hancock
Madeleine Peyroux
Melody Gardot
Yolanda Brown

Amadou and Mariam
Baaba Maal
Femi Kuti
Oumou Sangare
Salif Kelta

Desire to Worship God
Kiki Sheard
Mary Mary
New Direction

Manny Norte
Ras Kwame
Rickie & Melvin
Sarah Love
Shortee Blitz
Steve Sutherland
DJ Target
Tim Westwood
Trevor Nelson

Am I the only one who wishes that the MOBO’s would step up their game in recognising fresh, new talent and experiemental music? Or just one of the few that is outspoken enough to call them on it?

This one’s for you Gordy 🙂

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT – & Tapwire Magazine

After a short hiatus (thank you to all of you who sent messages of support during my hospital stay!) I am proud to announce that with immediate effect I will be contributing to two new publications.

Firstly, I have become part of the team at Tapwire Magazine and very much look forward to helping to build up this promising brand.

Secondly, I am now extremely happy to announce that I am part of urban news giant’s team. I have just completed my first assignment, an indepth interview with the new Death Row Records boss Ms Lara Lavi, which will be available online very soon.

Finally, Thank you all so damn much for your support in making this dream become a reality 🙂

Press Release: Tapwire Madden Edition

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Brian Wise

Tapwire Magazine and EA Sports have teamed to bring you…
The 1st Annual Digital Madden Edition!

Cyber Cerebral – It’s here! In celebration of the release of Madden NFL 10, professional sports’ most popular gaming designer and publisher – EA Sports – has teamed with interactive publication Tapwire Magazine to bring you this, 1st Annual Digital Madden Edition!

This publishing first is as historical as it gets! This has “never” been done before – until now!

“It’s amazing how the Madden franchise has impacted pop culture.” – Rob Semsy Senior PR Manager – EA SPORTS

EA Sports has supported the urban market for years and has given countless opportunities to urban and other genres alike. This is our special dedication to pay tribute to the creators and the fans of Madden.

“We wanted to bring Madden to the urban market like never before. It was only natural we team with the creators of this globally recognized gaming franchise, making it a true interactive experience instead of doing a typical magazine feature.” – TRUTH & FATHOM Founders – Tapwire Magazine

“We also wanted to salute John Madden, the man for which this franchise is named. Our dedication to innovation in publishing and journalism, along with being creative and charismatic has been inspired by Madden’s professional conduct, commitment to excellence and personality.” – Mr. Joe Walker Editor In Chief/Creative Director – The Underwire Interactive Magazine

This special Madden edition of Tapwire is packed with entertainment. It includes exclusive interviews, new music from up-and-coming artists on our “Unofficial Madden Soundtrack”, and exclusive interviews; these feature EA Sports’ Phil Frazier (Senior Producer), Ian Cummings (Senior Designer), and Mike Young (Art Director); Trey Wingo (host of ESPN NFL Live), NFL players Shaun Phillips (San Diego Chargers), Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis Colts) and (former Atlanta Falcons star) Jamal Anderson; Olympic gold medalist and TNA wrestling champion Kurt Angle, rap stars Paul Wall, Juice, Young Black, Cashis, E.S.G, Moka Blast, Young Black Boss Hogg Outlawz, Tre Beatz, Pro-Verb, Smoov, and Hakeem Tha Dream! Producers and On-air Personalities and DJ’s; Roscoe Umali, Big D (The Basement), and Dj Hollygrove! That’s an All Star line-up!

This issue also takes an in-depth look at the cultural impact of the Madden video game, along super giveaway contest!

The 1st Annual Digital Madden issue will be available now at:


More Than A Women: Aaliyah Tribute

It has been 8 years since the tragic passing of the then 22 year old r&b superstar Aaliyah and the urban music world is yet to find an artist capable of having the same impact and popularity as the young star. Unlike many artists, who are perhaps often given to much credit posthumously, Aaliyah deserved every bit of praise she received. Making her mark on the industry at such a young age, the talented singer was often praised not only for her beautiful voice but also her strong morals and clean image.

Aaliyah left such a legacy in the music world that she cannot be forgotten; the brightest young star and a great role model for young women of our generation, she was a huge loss to the urban music community.

Rest in peace Aaliyah Dana Haughton, certainly more than a woman.

Aaliyah (1979 – 2001)

50 Cent’s Album Setback

Unsurprisingly hip hop heavyweight 50 Cent has announced that his forthcoming album ‘Before I Self Destruct’ has been pushed back yet again.

Although Fiddy didn’t exactly give an explanation for the setback, he did speak about the delays that have plagued the project.

“I was limited [with] time on my other projects, And this one, just because the system was in a state of confusion with things changing – the music business itself changed and it was definitely a time where I felt like I was ready and it wasn’t a possibility for me to release the record at that point. And then the Eminem train came running down the track and I had to get out the way to let Eminem’s record [Relapse] go out. Because he had been off for two years, it made good sense for to let him go out first.”

An exact release date is yet to be set, although it has been confirmed that album should be expected in November.

Announcement: Tapwire Magazine

I am proud to announce that I am now the latest member of the Tapwire Magazine family.

Tapwire, much like 3threat Media, is dedicated to providing high quality and interesting written content for the hip hop generation.

The latest edition of Tapwire, the Madden edition, is available to download online at
I am greatly looking forward to working with the team, starting with the next issue of Tapwire.

Eminem’s Relapse 2 Release Details

After the late release of ‘Relapse’ earlier this year, Eminem fans may be able to look forward to a second studio offering from the rap superstar in 2009. A speculated release date for ‘Relapse 2’ has been announced for November 16th in the UK and the 17th in the US.

Em recently spoke about the release, whilst explaining about the delay of ‘Relapse,’ which was originally due to drop in 2008.

“A lot of people were expecting ‘Relapse’ to drop last year; I was one of them. Then Dre and I went back in the studio in September for a few days, and that turned into six months. We were on such a roll; we wound up with a ton of new music produced by Dre. Putting out ‘Relapse 2’ will let everyone get all of the best stuff.”

Although it seems likely that Shady/Aftermath will be keen to monopolise on the rapper’s media prominence, the date is yet to be finalised.

UPDATE: Eminem’s manager has stated that reports regarding the speculated release date are untrue. Amazon UK, the cause of all of the speculation, continue to maintain that the album is due to be released on November 16th. Is there any truth in the statement? Is Rosenberg just trying to cover his back after the numerous delays from Shady/Aftermath with past projects? That remains to be seen.

Omarion Clarifies Young Money Situation

After Mack Maine released a statement about R&B singer Omarion’s release from the label Young Money, the hip hop community was lead to believe that the former B2K singer was fired following the unauthorised leak of a collaboration between him and Lil Wayne. Omarion yesterday released a written statement to (conicidently, the new home of Info) in an attempt to clarify the situation, claiming he has “a lot of respect and admiration for the genius of Lil ‘Wayne and the entire Young Money family.”

The singer then denied reports from the Young Money camp, stating that he had in fact actually asked Weezy to be released:

“I asked to be released from the label to pursue other opportunities that were recently presented to me. Because of our relationship, Lil’ Wayne had no issue with us ending our business relationship and released me from the label. Lil’ Wayne and I have nothing but love for each other, there is no Beef.”

He then downplayed rumours that he had leaked the collaboration “I Get It In” online, as was suggested by Mack Maine:

“I also wanted to make it clear that my company nor did I, leak the song, “I Get It In” and I want to dispel any rumors that have surfaced. I appreciate my relationship with Young Money/ Cash Money and look forward to doing business in the future.”

Omarion is expected to announce his new home in the near future. He is currently working on his next studio project, which is now reportedly due to be named ‘Ollusion.’ Interestingly, the Omarion feature on former Young Money labelmate Drake’s ‘So Far Gone’ mixtape has been cut from the re-release, although perhaps it is best to not read too much into this, as the tape’s tracklist has been cut down from 17 to 7 tracks.

Does Jay-Z’s Video Run This Town?

Jay-Z’s latest video for the second single from ‘Blueprint 3’ has premiered on MTV today. ‘Run This Town,’ which features Kanye West and Rihanna, is certainly a statement from President Carter, who is asking fans to ‘pledge allegiance to Roc Nation.’

Whilst the video is hardly groundbreaking, the use of pyrotechnics and edgy attire ensures that much like the song it is a statement to thehip hop world; 3 of the biggest figures in urban music saying ‘we’re here and we run this!’  The video certainly captures the essence of the track and frankly its nice to see a hip hop video that doesn’t rely soley on scantily-clad women and supercars, although the amount of symbolism may end up reigniting the Illuminati in Hip Hop conspiracy talk!

SO does Jay-Z Run This Town? Well, that is surely a question that is best left until ‘Blueprint 3’ drops next month.

run this town