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#BrooklynGirlCode™ #NewMusicFridays: #Brandy Strikes Back at Jack Harlow + Maino, Jim Jones and Fivio Foreign Drop New Summer Heat “Slide”

Wooh! It’s going to be a hot summer! Music veteran Brandy Norwood was not here for any new rappers not putting some respeck on her name! The world- renowned R&B singer dropped her “First Class” freestyle this past week dissing Hip-Hop newcomer Jack Harlow. The diss track comes after Jack Harlow paid a visit to Hot 97’s “Ebro in the Morning” morning show and confessed that he did not know who Brandy was. That was not a good move. Brandy went on Twitter to let the world know that she will “murk” Jack Harlow on his own beat and then followed-up with her own version of Harlow’s “First Class” freestyle. Lesson of the day… do not play with Miss Norwood.

Brandy sends a tweet to let fans know exactly how she feels about Jack Harlow
Brandy sends a tweet to let fans know exactly how she feels about Jack Harlow.

Also in music news, New York City rappers Jim Jones, Maino and Fivio Foreign drop their new summer anthem “Slide.” The song samples Drag-On‘s 1999 song “Down Bottom” featuring Juvenile off the Ruff Ryders Ryde or Die Vol. 1 compilation. We are definitely here for all this summer heat. Listen below and let us know what you think and please stay cool this summer because it’s going to be a hot one! -xoxo

Brandy Norwood strikes back at Jack Harlow with her “First Class” freestyle.

Rappers Jim Jones, Maino and Fivio Foreign drop new summer anthem “Slide.”
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#BrooklynGirlCode™ #TBT’s: Nina Simone’s “To Be Young Gifted and Black!”

“In the whole world you know, there’s a million boys and girls who are young, gifted and Black. And that’s a fact!” -Nina Simone

It was the summer of 1969. Singer/songwriter Nina Simone was at the height of her career. Simone was performing at the Harlem Cultural Festival in New York City and decided to introduce her new song, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” to the world. The song which was inspired by Simone’s late friend and famous playwright, Lorraine Hansberry turned out to be the ultimate ode to Black Excellence! The song would later be featured on Nina Simone’s live studio album Black Gold and would also become an unofficial anthem for the American Civil Rights Movement.

In honor of Black History Month, #BrooklynGirlCode is taking a trip back in time to the summer of 1969! Young gifted and black…oh what a lovely precious dream! Check out an exclusive throwback interview of Nina Simone speaking about the song below and enjoy! -xoxo <3

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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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#PopSmoke’s New Album #Faith Is On the Way!!!

Pop Smoke 'Faith' cover art

Just when we thought summer couldn’t get any hotter🔥🔥, Pop Smoke‘s management team recently announced that the late Brooklyn rapper has another posthumous album dropping for our listening pleasure! The new album, appropriately titled Faith after the tattoo on the rapper’s left eye has a star-studded lineup to boot! All-star features on Faith include Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Chris Brown, Dua Lipa, Tory Lanez, Quavo, Kodak Black, Tyga, Swae Lee, Takeoff, Youngboy Never Broke Again and several others.

Faith is the follow-up to Pop Smoke’s chart-topping 2020 release Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon. Faith is set to be released on July 16th, 2021 and we are ready! Congrats to Pop Smoke’s family on all his recent success. Check out our exclusive interview with Pop Smoke’s mother Audrey Jackson that we featured on #BrooklynGirlCode back in April. Long live Pop Smoke! 💫💫💫

Rapper Pop Smoke
Photo of Rapper Pop Smoke courtesy of Complex Instagram.
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#JazzLegend #Thelonious #Monk Turns #100!

Screenshot 2017-10-10 11.58.56
Thelonious Monk performing at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem. Photo courtesy of Bluenote.com.

Today is the centennial birthday of American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. So, you know Brooklyn Girl Code had to write about it! Thelonious (Sphere) Monk (named after his maternal grandfather) was born in Rocky Point, North Carolina on October 10th, 1917. To many, Monk is considered to be one of the forefathers of modern jazz. And today on his 100th birthday, Thelonious Monk is still one of the most-recorded jazz composers in history falling second to Duke Ellington. This record is one that we may not see broken for a long time to come. Monk who stood out from the crowd for his unique sense of fashion, was a true genius on the piano and could woo his audience even if he played wearing only shorts. Monk started playing piano at the young age of six after moving from North Carolina to the Big Apple in 1922 with his family. As a youth, Monk played the church organ and later began taking his musical career more seriously serving as the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem. A world-renowned venue that is known as the birthplace of Bebop music. Monk’s noted influences included Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson and his mentor Mary Lou Williams. After an incident with the New York City Police involving Monk and his friend Bud Powell in 1951, Monk had his New York City Cabaret Card revoked and couldn’t play at many N.Y.C. venues for several years. This forced the jazz legend to take his musical talents over to Europe.

Later in his life, Thelonious Monk became more introverted and performed less for sold out crowds. But, thank goodness his music career spanned over thirty years (1940s- 1973) because otherwise, we would have never been blessed with Monk’s musical genius and prowess. Long after his death, Thelonious Monk is still influencing American music and culture and will continue to do so. Happy 100th Birthday to a real American jazz legend! Watch footage of Thelonious Monk playing with his band in Norway and Denmark in 1966 below via YouTube.

Thelonious Monk and fellow Jazz musician John Coltrane.
Thelonious Monk sitting on his thrown! I3