Darkchild presents Verse Simmonds

If you are an R&B fan and you haven’t heard about Verse Simmonds then you should probably stop what are your doing and read this immediately.

Having grown up in the Virgin Islands, Verse describes his signature blend of Caribbean flavour with traditional R&B as ‘Island B.’ Already making waves in the industry with his mixtape single ‘Buy You A Round,’ Simmonds appears to have a promising career ahead.

Currently signed to Darkchild Records, his latest track ‘America’ featuring Pitbull and produced by Rodney Jerkins, which will be the lead single from his forthcoming debut album, will be released in the near future. The Grammy-winning super producer has praised Verse for his songwriting abilities and unique sound.

His debut album Stories of a Bachelor is scheduled for release this summer on Darkchild/Interscope. For more information, you can go to www.versesimmonds.com or follow him on Twitter (@VerseSimmonds).

You can also look out for my Darkchild interview coming soon to Allhiphop.com, in which he discusses Verse, his forthcoming projects and his thoughts on the R&B/Hip-Hop industries.

World AIDS Day 2009 – Check Yourself!

World AIDS Day 09 - Check Yo Self!

World AIDS Day….have you been tested?
It’s YOUR responsibility so in the words of Ice Cube Check Yourself!

HIV/AIDS remains largely a taboo in the Hip Hop World and far too many people have already lost their lives to this illness. Many people living with HIV still lead full and meaningful lives, but only if they are diagnosed and treated soon enough. Please do not become another statistic, play it safe, take responsibility for your life and get tested!

Check Yourself!

For more information about World AIDS Day or the HIV/AIDS pandemic, go to http://www.worldaidsday.org/

Jay-Z’s Empire State Of Mind Video


The uplifting, Alicia Keys-assisted New York anthem Empire State of Mind provides an ode to the endless possibilities of life in the Big Apple. Jigga’s video for the track aims to provide an equally glamorous and inspirational view of the city that never sleeps. A stark contrast from the rebellious and explosive attitude displayed in his video for Run This Town. Empire State of Mind radiates a different mood entirely, although interestingly similar in actual content and the level of ego displayed!


Image: Roc Nation/MTV

Highlights include some extremely impressive architectural shots of the city and appearances of well-known New Yorkers, alongside the general feel-good approach of the project. Although it does seem to overlook the reality of some of the areas mentioned, the Empire State of Mind video gives a great artistic exploration of the city that gave birth to our genre.

Lil Wayne Tha Carter IV/Rebirth Double Album


After months of speculation following the massive international success of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III album, Cash Money boss Birdman has confirmed that Lil Wayne will be dropping a double album featuring both his Rebirth and Tha Carter IV projects in December.

Wayne had announced that he had a ‘surprise’ for fans in a recent interview with DJ Drama. Although Birdman then revealed that, “he’s coming with the rock album and Tha Carter IV. It’s gonna be a double disc and the Young Money album all on the same day.”

UPDATE: Contrary to Baby’s original statements regarding the Lil Wayne releases, Weezy himself has now clarified that he will not release Tha Carter IV and Rebirth as a double album. The superstar rapper stated in a recent interview that ‘it won’t be given like that.’ He continued to explain, ‘trust me, it won’t be given like that because Tha Carter IV deserves Tha Carter IV. And that’s that.’

Weezy then clarified, ‘Rebirth may come as a double [album] which comes with the Young Money All-Stars disc. Yeah, so it may be the Young Money All-Stars and Rebirth.’

UPDATE: Lil Wayne’s Rebirth double album is now due to drop on February 1st 2010.

Respect in Hip Hop Culture: Art Versus Ego

Suite 101 - Respect In Hip Hop Culture

Suite 101 - Respect In Hip Hop Culture

Rappers are often synonymous with over-sized egos and bad behaviour, which seems so distanced from the forward-thinking and empowering movement that has influenced their music. Hip Hop as a genre has evolved greatly since its birth in the late 1970s, although sadly it seems that the culture is yet to mature

Humble, respectful and focused, are unfortunately terms rarely used to describe the majority of rappers in the public eye. Is it any wonder, after watching Kanye West’s latest outburst at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, that Hip Hop has such a poor reputation in not only the media but popular culture as a whole? For all of the complaints that the music world does not take Hip Hop seriously as a genre, there are far more arguments for these preconceptions. Between legal trouble and constant displays of violence and disrespect in public, rappers are frequently tarnishing the reputation of Hip Hop as a culture….

Full article available on Suite 101:

9/11 Reflection/Tribute

I am not American. Yet the sight of United Airlines Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower of the World Trade Centre in New York City is enough to literally render me speechless and draw a tear or two. Watching the purest act of evil to occur in my lifetime, even 8 years later, it is still difficult to articulate my thoughts and feelings about it.

“What was there when we woke up this morning is now gone.” This chilling statement by a news correspondent described the two fallen towers, but for many perhaps was far more symbolic of the lost hope following the attacks.

This act of pure hatred will be forever imprinted on the memory of so many people. It is not only that act of hatred, however, that will be forever immortalised but also the heroism and selflessness displayed by so many brave individuals and the collective strength of an entire city. It was in fact the 9/11 attacks that allowed me to realise the true meaning of the words bravery and heroism.

In memory of the heroes and victims that lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy.

In memory of the heroes and victims that lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy.

Chino XL – NAHH!

Put simply, Chino’s latest offering ‘Nahh!’ was like a slug to the chest, to use the most apt simile as possible. It hit me so hard that at first I was left speechless. The Puerto Rican Superhero’s agressive flow and intricate wordplay demonstrated here show that despite his brief hiatus from the studio, he is as empassioned and focused as ever.

‘Nahh!’ contained some of the best metaphors and lyrical quality that I have heard in a long while. The track, produced by Focus…, has certainly raised the bar for lyrical hip hop and increased the desire to hear his forthcoming album ‘The RICANstruction,’ which will be released next year through his own imprint.

Look out for my Chino XL interview, coming soon to allhiphop.com.

Video: Dal J

Ice Cube & The Raiders – Straight Outta L.A.

Hip Hop veteran Ice Cube has announced that he will be working with ESPN to create a documentary about the Los Angeles Raiders and the origins of the team. The programme, which will explore the transition of the NFL team from Oakland to Los Angeles, is entitled ‘Straight Outta L.A.’ The documentary will also look at the incongruent “marriage between the NFL’s rebel franchise” and the city of angles.

In a statement, Ice Cube explained his originally attraction to the Raiders’ black and silver:

“In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president, few white kids were listening to Rap and I was an 11-year-old kid in South Central Los Angeles. I was into sports and watched as many games as I could on TV—the Lakers, USC Football, UCLA, but I hadn’t developed a connection to any particular football team. That fall, something clicked as I watched the Oakland Raiders.”

The hip hop heavyweight then continued to explain how the Raiders became embedded in hip hop culture, stating “The music, lyrics and images that I created with N.W.A as a solo artist and as an actor helped turn the Raiders into something more than a football team.” Finally, he highlighted the significance of the team, maintaining “It’s been 21 years since we released ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ but to this day, kids all over the world buy Raiders gear, imitate the Gangster Rap style and try to connect with the South Central L.A. vibe that we brought to the masses.”


Jay-Z Talks 9/11 Tragedy

New York rapper Jay-Z yesterday recalled the 9/11 tragedy in a press conference for his ‘Answer the Call’ charity event. The rapper’s classic ‘Blueprint’ album also dropped that day.

The concert, which will take place in Madison Square Garden, is not only intended to honor the memory of those who died in the 9/11 attacks eight years ago, but also to raise money for the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s fund.

Jigga, who was filming his music video in LA at the time of the attacks, stated that the images of the tragedy ‘looked like a movie.’ He continued to explain that ‘It didn’t look like anything that could be real,’ claiming that his album was the ‘last thing’ on his mind.

The rapper recalled how proud he felt watching the ‘heroic actions’ and the ‘strength of New York’ the following day. He explained that he felt that ‘Blueprint 3’ was a good opportunity to ‘revisit the day’ and ‘do something to help out.’

Ticket holders should expect at least four tracks from his new album ‘Blueprint 3’, which is due for release on September 11th, to be performed. Jay-Z mentioned that any guest appearances would remain a surprise but hinted that some could be expected.

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 allhiphop.com.

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