Jermaine Dupri Tour Dates

CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF: HOW HIP-HOP WENT VEGAN Hennessy and filet mignon—once considered the trappings of success in hip-hop—are giving way to a plant-based diet of leafy greens and legumes. What happened?

“I’ve been vegan for so long—I used to joke with Jay Z about it all the time,” says Jermaine Dupri, the hip-hop mogul behind the storied So So Def record label. “I’d go to his 40/40 Club and there wasn’t much I could eat, so he’d come over all the time and be like, ‘JD, here you come with that vegan shit!’ Then one day I look up and see him and Beyoncé are being vegan. I told her, ‘You know, he used to make fun of me for that and now he wants to be vegan.’ I had to ride him about that.”

Dupri has been a staunch advocate of avoiding animal products for more than a decade now, but Jay and Bey’s dalliance with the diet began in December of 2013. With Hov’s 44th birthday on the horizon, he decided to take up a 22-day vegan challenge. “I prefer to call it, plant-based!” he blogged enthusiastically.


veganism_veganjay3Jay Z’s “spiritual and physical cleanse” dominated the headlines, but he’s just one of a number of high-powered hip-hop artists who are trading filet mignon for grilled tofu. André 3000, Common, MCA (before he passed away), and serial rapper’s baby mom Erykah Badu have all embraced veganism to various degrees, while the RZA even became a figurehead for animal rights group PETA, fronting a campaign with the Wu-Tang Clan-referencing slogan, “A better tomorrow is a vegan tomorrow.”

If the cliché used go that aging rock stars turned hippie and sequestered themselves in small countryside farms, these days hip-hop’s 40-plus set is following a similar (albeit less bucolic) script, foregoing a regimen of excess for one centered around the purities of an animal-free diet.

In light of the music industry’s pitfalls, this emerging trend should come as no surprise. Years spent toggling between stints on the road and late-night studio sessions fueled by a diet of greasy foods, processed snacks, and boatloads of fine spirits take a toll on the body. Stic Man, from the group Dead Prez, describes his transition in grisly terms: “I was surviving on smoke, bourbon, and hot dogs and then I was diagnosed with gout,” he says. His wife, a vegan chef, encouraged him to realign his diet—a move he says has paid dividends and set him on a course of spiritual enlightenment. Now Stic tends to his community garden and lights up his Instagram account with pics of garam masala veggie burgers, coconut kale, and tomato wraps.


Once converted, vegan hip-hop artists are enthusiastic about championing their cause. Stic recalls vegan conversations he had with ?uestlove when the Roots drummer was looking to change his diet. Over the years, he’s also spoken about the machinations of the food industry with Black Moon, Smiff-n-Wessun, Common, and members of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Killah Priest, a long-time affiliate of the Clan, turned vegan a year ago after hearing GZA break down its benefits. “I remember he showed me this YouTube video,” he recalls. “That kind of turned my head about not wanting to eat animals. GZA was talking to me about it and explaining it all.” (Jermaine Dupri cites the documentary Food, Inc. as having a similar impact on his decision to stop consuming animals.)

This idea of hip-hop artists looking to share self-improvement methods has strong roots in the culture. Back in the music’s golden era, rappers like Rakim and Big Daddy Kane aligned themselves with the Nation of Islam spin-off faction, the Five Percent Nation, and laid down a strict “no pork on my fork” agenda. “These were Muslim guys—Five Percenters—and diet is a part of that culture,” said Stic previously. “So listening to hip-hop made me pay attention like, ‘Hey, what’s my diet?’ I was from the South where everything goes with food, so just hearing those things made me more conscious of what I was eating.”

Stretch Armstrong, the vegan DJ who is credited with giving Wu-Tang Clan its first radio spins, says, “Within the hip-hop community there’s always been a thirst for self-knowledge with the leaders like Rakim or KRS-One.Then the Wu-Tang Clan have always encouraged their fans to seek that knowledge out—and I think one of the most powerful things you can learn about is food and food production. Out of any area of life, you have the most control over what you put in your body. You can break the tacit conspiracy between Western medicine, advertising, and unhealthy food by adopting a plant-based diet.”

Hip-hop, of course, always loves a good conspiracy theory.

The broader farm-to-table movement taking hold in the U.S. is also bolstering hip-hop’s embrace of vegan values. Rappers have long proclaimed the virtues of enjoying natural consumables—not least when it comes to traditionally favoring weed over synthetic drugs—and the move towards sustainable and ethically sourced food plays into this ideal. The classic Dead Prez song “Be Healthy” is an ode to clean eating, but even today’s glitzy set seem to be warming to the act as well, with Big Sean freestyling, “My woman is vegan / She got my ass trying different food.”

Stretch Armstrong, the vegan DJ who is credited with giving Wu-Tang Clan its first radio spins, says, “Within the hip-hop community there’s always been a thirst for self-knowledge with the leaders like Rakim or KRS-One.Then the Wu-Tang Clan have always encouraged their fans to seek that knowledge out—and I think one of the most powerful things you can learn about is food and food production. Out of any area of life, you have the most control over what you put in your body. You can break the tacit conspiracy between Western medicine, advertising, and unhealthy food by adopting a plant-based diet.”

Hip-hop, of course, always loves a good conspiracy theory.

The broader farm-to-table movement taking hold in the U.S. is also bolstering hip-hop’s embrace of vegan values. Rappers have long proclaimed the virtues of enjoying natural consumables—not least when it comes to traditionally favoring weed over synthetic drugs—and the move towards sustainable and ethically sourced food plays into this ideal. The classic Dead Prez song “Be Healthy” is an ode to clean eating, but even today’s glitzy set seem to be warming to the act as well, with Big Sean freestyling, “My woman is vegan / She got my ass trying different food.”

Putting a fresh spin on the idea of living a vegan lifestyle, hip-hop artists are fast becoming the poster boys of the movement. RZA’s steely gaze on his PETA poster is far more “protect ya neck” than tree-hugging hippie. The oddball rapper Lil B has launched a vegan emoji app, while Jay Z is reportedly taking his hustler’s smarts to the 22 Days Nutrition company. These moves are all part of a shift away from tired stereotypes that, as Dupri said, have people “thinking we just eat lettuce. They think we’re cool with just eating steamed vegetables, but that’s not what I want on a day-to-day basis.”

To that end, you’ll find JD indulging in a vegan chicken parmigiana with spaghetti at the upscale Craig’s on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. That is, until he rolls out his dream of “having a vegan restaurant in every airport in the country.”

True to the genre’s spirit of innovation, the current wave of hip-hop vegans are taking the lifestyle’s traditional tenets and remixing them to fit their own needs. With shades of Rakim proclaiming “fish, which is my favorite dish” on the classic track “Paid In Full,” both Common and NORE recently moved from being vegan to adding fish to their diet. Stretch Armstrong also makes an exception for clams, adding that he won’t feast on anything with a central nervous system. Likewise, Jay Z and Beyoncé aren’t strictly vegan—although they endorse the idea of going plant-based as a cleansing mechanism.

The question now is, what price will it take for Jay Z to convince April Bloomfield to front a new vegan spot?

Lil Wayne Announces Lil’ Weezyana Fest In New Orleans

lil-wayne-weezyana-fest

Lil Wayne is now planning to put on something special for New Orleans. Today, he announced that he will be holding the first ever Lil Weezyana Fest. The show is being billed as Lil Wayne & Friends and will feature a Hot Boys reunion. Lil Weezyana Fest will take place on August 28th at Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square in New Orleans. Pre-sale tickets go on-sale this Wednesday.

What Would You Ask Jermaine Dupri?

Larry King will be talking with record producer, songwriter and rapper Jermaine Dupri - what do you want to know? Submit your questions in the form below for a chance to have your question asked on ‘Larry King Now

And be sure to sign up for show updates to find out if Larry King asks your question on this upcoming episode of ‘Larry King Now’ & don’t forget *NEW* episodes of “Larry King Now” are posted at 2PM ET online – but you can watch them after they premiere online anytime on Ora.TV & Hulu.

And if you want to know more about all the ways you can watch new episodes online, on your tablet or even TV – be sure to check out our “About” page for more info! So So Def music

Is Lil Wayne Washed? Ask Complex,First Impressions of the ‘Free Weezy Album’

It’s July 4th, but Lil Wayne hasn’t taken the day off, so here we are. The beleaguered Young Money spitter can’t really afford to take holidays off. Thanks to shine-blocking from Birdman and a feeling of insecurity towards Young Thug, he’s out here fighting for relevance. He’s a veteran with an album that he can’t even release. All of which brings us to the Free Weezy Album, recorded and released irrespective of Cash Money. Is it even free if it’s on Tidal? Never mind, I have a subscription anyway. It seems like something of a defining moment for Wayne. I’m going to take a listen before I get too gone at the BBQ and see how Weezy fares with my first impression. Fingers crossed.

1. “Glory” — Wayne is spitting but like wow, this beat gets seven Zs for putting me to sleep. It works a little better here as an intro than it did when it dropped dolo, though.

2. “He’s Dead” — My first thought: “Oh God, is this some Rebirth shit???” But wow, I’m into it. “Rest in peace to the Cash Money Weezy, he’s dead.” Wayne is really going there off the rip. This Birdman split really has him fucked up on an emo level. What I’m feeling most about this is it doesn’t sound like the same Weezy song I’ve heard 18 times across his last seven projects.

3. “I Feel Good” — Lmao…is this a breakup album??

4. “My Heart Races On” — “Reality bit me, and continues to bite me.” :-( Wayne is going through it. This is a lightweight memorial to the good ol YMCMB days. It’s getting dusty in here.

5. “London Roads” — This album is so mellow so far. I thought we were feeling good? (Also, London on da Track is bipartisan in this Wayne-Thug schism, I take it?)

6. “I’m That Nigga” — Be careful what you wish for, Frazier. Wtf is this Lil Chuckee ass beat, bruh? What the hell is a HoodyBaby? My uncle just very un-subtly dumped headphones in my lap, I’d better put them on before I get kicked out of the family BBQ.

7. “Psycho” — “I fell asleep in it like Whitney”…

8. “Murda” — Cory Gunz is alive? Junior Reid’s hook is basic, but I’m feeling this otherwise. Wayne and company didn’t quite murder this, but good effort.

9. “Thinking Bout You” — “Bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay/Can’t trust these hoes to-day.” sjdflsdfjlksdjfklsd Pardon me just had a Sorry 4 the Wait PTSD flashback and passed out on the keyboard.

10. “Without You” — Bibi Bourelly kills this. She wrote Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.” I don’t know if this feature is a step forward or backward, but good for her. Simp Wayne is one of my favorite versions of Weezy.

11. “Post Bail Ballin” — Guess the bail was high because this track sounds like a cheap ass time, cuz.

At this point, the gif-review is:

12. “Pull Up” — This album is boring me, fast. I need an Independence Day wine cooler to wake me up. Euro had dope bars on that last Young Money tax-write-off group album. It’d be real cool if Wayne could put his technical skills to use for like, a better song.

13. “Living Right” — My cousin just collected $50 from me. I bet against Brick Khalifa and what do you know? He lowkey housed Weezy on this. Wtf is happening?

14. “White Girl” — This song is Modern Wayne in a microcosm. A song in 2015 about cocaine titled “White Girl,” over a plodding beat that Wayne nevertheless attacks (“It’s Lil Wayne, nigga/I been the shit since Lil Zane, nigga”). One step forward, two steps back. Also, Beyoncé and Solange are, like, not white, my guy. At least stay on theme with the metaphor. Do you even know your Tidal co-owners? Jeezy does work, as the Snowman should on a track dedicated to coke. Overall though, I’d advise listening to their first “White Girl” collab, you know the one that almost made CTE a thing and on which Wayne raps “Got that Lindsay Lohan, and you can just ask Lindsay Lohan.” >>>>>>>

15. “Pick Up Your Heart” — And now we’re back in Breakup Album mode. This is the best beat on the entire album. Do Cool & Dre even answer the phone for anyone except Wayne these days? This song is great. It might be the only song I will willingly replay after this.

SPIN CYCLE. Look, during tracks 2-5, I was excited by the chance to go against the grain from what I glimpsed on Rap Twitter last night and declare this album as Not That Bad. Unfortunately, it quickly falls into the same traps that have plagued every Wayne project since Carter III, save No Ceilings. It’s boring. I need the fireworks to pop off right now just to wake me up. After one listen I was left with the desire to replay maybe two or three tracks, tops. I really don’t want to count Wayne out. I defended him against Young Thug. But this is not the way forward, b.

A couple of tactics could’ve prevented this album from being so damp. More of the super personal subject matter found in the first few tracks and the outro that would’ve molded this into the Breakup Album that I joked it was (and which it actually is, in parts). And a foray into more exciting production. “He’s Dead” shouldn’t be the only track that made me sit up. Stunna stiffed you, but you still have money and connections, fam. Why not call Mannie up? Hang with 40 at the Yolo Estate and cook up another “I’m Single”? This isn’t an Instant Recycle Bin classic like Sorry 4 the Wait 2, but that’s the best I can say. July 4 release notwithstanding, this is one boring-ass Declaration of Independence.

Album Grade: W for Wet Firework.

Explore Kenny Hamilton (@KennyHamilton) Personal Relationship with Hennessy Black

Self-proclaimed influencer and brand ambassador, Kenny Hamilton is a consultant for nightlife powerhouse the H.Wood Group — a Los Angeles-based lifestyle agency that owns some of LA’s premier venues, including Bootsy Bellows, Henry’s and The Nice Guy. A former Atlanta radio personality and road manager for Justin Bieber, Hamilton is somewhat of a nightlife connoisseur for celebrities and high-profile people alike. He’s the go-to-guy for a packed club with good music, good people and good drinks.

NBA fines Mark Cuban $25,000

The NBA has fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $25,000 for publicly confirming the team’s upcoming free-agent deals with DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews, league spokesman Tim Frank said Tuesday, confirming an ESPN.com report.

Sources said the Mavericks were informed of the fine Tuesday.

Teams and players are allowed to strike verbal agreements on new contracts during the league’s annual moratorium period in early July while the league’s salary cap and luxury tax figures are being calculated for the coming season, but team officials are not allowed to openly discuss those deals.

Cuban addressed both signings via his Cyber Dust app and did multiple interviews last Friday after Jordan verbally agreed to join the Mavericks on a four-year max deal worth in excess of $80 million.

It’s the first known fine Cuban has incurred from new NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Sources, however, say Cuban previously was fined $25,000 for a tweet about the lack of calls for Monta Ellis in March. The tweet later was deleted.

The Mavericks’ owner racked up nearly $2 million in fines in clashes with former NBA commissioner David Stern over a 14-year period that began with Cuban’s arrival in the league in January 2000.

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