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#BrooklynGirlCode™ Event Recap #NYCMenTeach Presents: A #HipHopCypher !!!

NYC Men Teach: A Hip Hop Cypher official event flier.

It was a star-studded event this past Friday when NYC Men Teach presented: “A Hip Hop Cypher.” Everyone bought their best rhymes and poetry to the cypher while some of today’s top Hip-Hop artists and influencers stopped by to drop some beautiful gems for the next generation of Hip-Hop artists. Celebrities who were in attendance included Big Tigger of BET’s Rap City, the lovely Free (formerly of 106 & Park), Philly’s own Freeway who was celebrating 19 years of his debut album Philadelphia Freeway; News anchor/activist Dr. Marc Lamont Hill who dropped tons of Hip-Hop knowledge on us, DJ Whutever and Umar Bin Hassan of legendary spoken word group The Last Poets who served as the elder for the evening’s festivities.

Everyone bought their A-game to this successful and positive event. What a way to cap off Black History Month 2022! Thank you to the moderators Nathaniel Smith, Vincent Deas and DJ Faro who kept us dancing to the hits all night! Special shoutout to all the great people over at NYC Men Teach for putting together such an informative and insightful event! Keep educating! -xoxo

Event moderator Vincent Deas as well as famous rappers Freeway, Big Tigger and Free were all in attendance!
Featured Poet for the night Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets and Event Moderator Nathaniel Smith.
Miss Free Marie giving some insight on the music industry.
Big Tigger holding it down for the Hip-Hop pioneers.
Philadelphia’s finest, rapper Freeway showing some love in the cypher.
News Anchor/ Activist Dr. Marc Lamont Hill spreading all of his Hip-Hop knowledge!
What a fun night shared with family and friends!
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#PeppaPig Gets Savage on Twitter & Takes Shots at Kanye West’s New Album #Donda !!!!

Kanye West gets Trolled by Peppa Pig
Kanye West gets Trolled by Peppa Pig
Kanye West gets trolled by popular British cartoon Peppa Pig.

They say when you’re on top that everyone is going to come for you! Well surprisingly cartoons are not exempt from this group! Kanye West dropped his highly-anticipated tenth studio album Donda this past week and Peppa Pig was caught trolling the Chicago rapper in a now-deleted savage and sassy tweet! The popular British animated pig who is no stranger to music also recently dropped her sophomore studio album titled Peppa’s Adventures: The Album. Peppa Pig’s album (which we’re sure is way more kid-friendlier than Kanye’s) was given a higher rating (6.5) by Pitchfork. Unfortunately, Kanye’s Donda album only received a 6.0 rating by the publication.

Well, it didn’t take long for Peppa Pig to let the world know on Twitter that her album was rated higher than Yeezy’s! Peppa Pig got into savage mode real quick taking shots at Yeezy for the whole world to see! Shortly after Peppa Pig’s official twitter account posted the tweet, it was deleted. Still, this has to be the funniest thing we’ve seen all week and we had to share.

Moral of the story… don’t mess with Peppa Pig and her music! Check out the bossy tweet from Peppa Pig’s official Twitter account below! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Peppa Pig's official Twitter Account trolls Kanye West's 'Donda' album on September 1st, 2021.
Peppa Pig’s official Twitter account trolls Kanye West’s ‘Donda’ album on September 1st, 2021.
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#Women In #Music: Art Vs. Business

Rapper Cardi B Performing at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

In today’s monetized music business, women are pushing the envelope and shattering traditional glass ceilings that were once set in place to keep men on top. With so many women in the industry currently making moves both in front and behind the camera, it’s becoming more and more obvious that music may be the surest way to skip all the loop holes and go straight to the top in corporate America. But who gets taken advantage of now that the women are becoming the leaders?

One of the main discussions in the music business today is the over-sexualization of women. From Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion‘s racy “WAP” performance at this year’s Grammy Awards receiving FCC complaints to Rihanna and Beyonce respectively showing off their bare bodies to promote their clothing lines, there’s no doubt about it, sex in the music business is “a thing.”

Rappers Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B give a racy and controversial performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

I guess the real discussion might be, can you succeed in the music business while staying true to yourself? Especially in today’s industry when it seems the female artists are often baring it all with hopes to become a household name. It actually still may be very possible. Ethiopia Habtemariam, a music executive who was recently promoted to Chairman & CEO of classic American imprint Motown Records is proof of this.

After joining Motown Records just seven years ago in 2014, Ethiopia Habtemariam rose through the ranks of corporate America while overseeing some of today’s most popular artists like Lil Baby, City Girls and Vince Staples. Habtemariam made it to the tippy top of the music industry where the bosses reside and she didn’t have to be overly sexual or twerk anything in front of any camera.

Motown Records CEO & Chairman Ethiopia Habtemariam.

Then you have Mona Scott-Young, a Haitian-American television and music executive who is responsible for creating the popular reality television series Love & Hip-Hop that has garnered a lot of attention over the years for perpetuating a bad image of hip-hop artists. Mona Scott-Young recently made the news for claiming that she gets way more criticism than her white male counterparts (i.e. Ryan Seacrest, Andy Cohen) due to the fact that she’s the only Black woman in her position. The interesting thing about Mona Scott-Young’s story is that her Love & Hip Hop show actually creates a platform for up-and-coming music artists to be seen. It was Love & Hip-Hop that introduced Cardi B to the world right before the sex-driven, Bronx-born rapper took the music industry by storm. So, can we be that mad at Mona Scott-Young for the image that Love & Hip-Hop portrays? Cardi B is undeniably one of the most successful hip-hop artists in history to date. Who knows if she would have reached this pinnacle without being featured on Love & Hip Hop? It’s almost like a double-edged sword.

Success is success is success! However, it’s harder for the older generation of music lovers to accept this brand new world of music. They’re the ones who grew up watching Lauryn Hill do it with such grace and class.

Lauryn Hill was and still is a beautifully talented artist who sold millions of albums and made a lot of money while keeping all her clothes on — a true gem in Hip-Hop. Still whether behind the camera, in the office or on stage at The Grammys, women in music, both the artists and the executives are raising the bar for many generations to come. And we definitely love to see it! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Singer/Rapper/Songwriter/Actor Lauryn Hill.

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Audrey Jackson Is Making Sure the Legacy of #PopSmoke Continues Through His #ShootForTheStars Foundation!

#BrooklynGirlCode creator, Aziza Hassan (left) with Audrey Jackson, mother of rapper Pop Smoke in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2021. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.

It’s hard to believe it’s been one whole year since Brooklyn rap phenomenon Pop Smoke (born Bashar Barakah Jackson) passed away. The young, talented rapper was just getting his feet wet and becoming a huge force to be reckoned with in the music world when he was taken away from us during a home invasion in Los Angeles, California on February 19th, 2020. Popular for his slick dance moves and unique rap voice, Pop Smoke was gaining traction and fame all over the world and he wasn’t letting his foot off the brakes. Although his passing was a huge loss to Hip-Hop and his family and friends, of course, Pop Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson is making sure that her son’s legacy lives on through his Shoot For The Stars Foundation. The foundation created by the late rapper is a non-profit foundation that aims to inspire inner-city youth to reach their goals despite living in difficult circumstances.

Audrey Jackson, mother of rapper Pop Smoke poses in front of a portrait of her son in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2021. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.

On April 10, 2021 #BrooklynGirlCode along with Renayssance Entertainment got the opportunity to speak with Pop Smoke‘s mother Audrey Jackson and discuss her plans for her son’s foundation. The event held at popular Brooklyn spot, The Brooklyn Estates was apart of a full spa weekend hosted by Miss Jackson for mothers of hip-hop artists who lost their children to violence. The private event turned out to be a huge success drawing popular media outlets like News 12 Brooklyn and Fox News. Audrey Jackson is a very kind woman on a serious mission to keep her son’s legacy alive and she won’t stop until her mission is complete! Check out the full exclusive interview with Jamel Oakman of Renayssance Entertainment below.

For more information on the Shoot for the Stars Foundation visit shootforthestars.org. Long Live Pop Smoke!

Jamel Oakman for Renayssance Entertainment interviewing Audrey Jackson at The Brooklyn Estates in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2021. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.
Audrey Jackson, mother of rapper Pop Smoke getting ready to speak with the media in Brooklyn on April 10th, 2020. Photo courtesy of #BrooklynGirlCode.
Fun times in Brooklyn with friends! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3
At this year’s 2021 Billboard Music Awards, Pop Smoke won several awards for his posthumous album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon. Pictured above is Pop Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson at the BBMA’s on May 23rd, 2021 along with a family member holding all her son’s trophies.
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#InMemoriam The Notorious B.I.G. Twenty Years Later

Mural in Brooklyn, New York depicting The Notorious B.I.G. as Che Guevara

Check it/ I grew up a fuckin’ screw-up/ Got introduced to the game/ Got an ounce/ and fuckin’ blew up – The Notorious B.I.G., “Runnin'”

What a difference twenty years can make. Or, in this case, what a difference twenty years can not make! It’s been two decades since The Notorious B.I.G. was tragically gunned down in Los Angeles on March 9th, 1997. However, the hip-hop template that B.I.G. set prior to his passing has yet to be altered. Christopher Wallace was 24-years-old when he passed. Looking back to that year, it seems like he was way older than he was because of his mature demeanor. B.I.G. was definitely one of the coolest and just a real lyricist at heart. He put words together like no other lyricist in hip-hop had done before him. Although we’ve seen a few eras of hip-hop come and go since 1997, there is still this obvious void that has yet to be filled. Why is this?

Shortly after B.I.G.’s passing, Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) rose to stardom and did an excellent job of continuing the legacy his predecessor began. But, as far as talent and skills on the mic, no one has yet to surpass the young Brooklyn boy with the crisp Coogi sweater and the fancy Versace shades.

It’s 2017 and Emo Rap is what sells records. Long gone are the days of “rags to riches,” “made it from the bottom” hip-hop fairytales. Still, we all get a thrill out of dreaming about B.I.G.’s imaginary replacement and hoping that they could possibly be waiting on the sideline somewhere for their chance at fame. Until then… B.I.G. reigns supreme! Rest in peace Comandante Biggie!

The Notorious B.I.G. in his element! Photo courtesy of Aziza Hassan’s instagram @rashidaaz via @trace_urban Instagram

 

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#RIPTupacShakur

Photo Courtesy of @Celebritea_News Instagram
Photo Courtesy of @celebri_teanews Instagram

“We used to be like distant cousins/ fightin’/ playin’ dozens/ whole neighborhood buzzin’/ knowing that we wasn’t.” – Tupac Shakur, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha.”

It’s difficult to believe that today marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of Tupac Amaru Shakur who was known to the world as just “Tupac.” Although the prolific Hip-Hop artist and poet has been gone two decades now, his music and life continue to remain extremely relevant in the media. With an upcoming biopic being released later this year about his tumultuous life and more new music being released, Tupac continues to make history in his demise. Rest in Paradise to a true hip-hop legend and Rest in Paradise to a true hip-hop legend’s mama (Afeni Shakur 9/10/47-5/2/16) as well! “Tupac Rifa Siempre!” <3

Photo Courtesy of Aziza Hassan’s Twitter: @datfencingchic

Tupac releasing new music Hip Hop My Way
A news spot that I wrote for Hip Hop My Way in 2015 that did high numbers on the Social Network.

Tupac Shakur Covers The Source Magazine March 1994
Tupac Shakur covers The Source magazine, March 1994

"Tupac Rifa Siempre" mural art
“Tupac Rifa Siempre”

Tupac with his mother, the late Afeni Shakur
Tupac with his mother, the late Afeni Shakur