Category Archives: Articles

Prodigy, was one of the illest storytellers to ever grace the culture.

Article via

Extremely sad news, rap fans, as the legendary Mobb Deep lyricist Prodigy has passed away. According to his fellow Queensbridge rap savant, Nasir Jones, the man born Albert Johnson has shed his mortal coil. No other details have been offered and we will continue to follow along with the story as it develops.

Born in Hempstead, New York, raised in Queens, Prodigy became a member of the street-wise duo Mobb Deep. His grandfather, Budd Johnson, and his great-uncle Keg Johnson were strong contributors to the Bebop era of jazz, making Prodigy just that for music at a young age. Nas helped to raise public consciousness about Prodigy and Havoc, as the single, “Shook Ones Pt. 2,” raced up the hip-hop charts.

An album fueled by the inner city experiences of the then-young lyricists, The Infamous and Hell on Earth became hip-hop classics, studied by the likes of EminemCapone-N-Noreaga and more.

The group’s publicist issued a statement confirming the news stating:

“It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep. Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”


A Sucker EMCEE, a one-man show from Craig “Mums” Grant | OkayPlayer

a sucker emcee

Article source:

In 2014, the LAByrinth Theater Company produced A Sucker EMCEE, a one-man show from Craig “Mums” Grant. Grant, a poet and actor, used hip-hop and rhymes to tell his life story, from a young boy in the Bronx to a great success in the acting field — he appeared on HBO’s OZ — to back to the Bronx again.

Three and a half years after the play’s initial run, the show is coming back, this time at the National Black Theatre in Harlem.

The show will have a limited six-show engagement. The original production team, which included director Jenny KoonsDJ Rich Medina and set designer David Meyer, are all returning, so expect the same quality as the initial show.

Tickets for A Sucker EMCEE are on sale now and cost $25 in advance and $35 at the door. The show will run from April 26 through April 30, 2017, so jump on this quickly.

April 26 through April 30th

N.W.A. inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

NEW YORK (AP) — N.W.A. entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Friday, with the groundbreaking quintet that reflected the rough streets of Los Angeles in a style known as gangster rap defiantly refuting those who suggested rappers didn’t belong in the institution. They joined the rock hall in a ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays…

via N.W.A. inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — theGrio

RECAP: Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival Summer 2014


DJ Rob Swift on the 1s and 2s at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

2 weekends ago I was honored with the chance to attend the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Tickets were provided, so I had to make the pilgrimage to NYC to check it out.

The festival similar to the A3C Fest in ATL is celebrating it’s 10th year in operation this year.

The Legendary Brand Nubian at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

Hosted in a vacant lot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (right off the East River) it was a beautiful sunny day for an outside concert for sure. When I arrived Tanya Morgan joined by Spec Boogie were getting on stage. I dipped out and missed a few acts including Brand Nubian, Beatnuts, and who knows who else. Luckily I looked at the BKHHF website that morning and noticed that Jay Electronica’s set time had been moved up to an earlier time. The post mentioned his set would be epic, and there would be special guests you didn’t want to miss. 

Video Music Box, VJ Ralph McDaniels at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

30 minutes after his initial set time though, his DJ was still spinning his actual songs to the crowd. The host Uncle Ralph McDaniels and other staff looked like they were stalling, the sound engineer kept checking mics (as if the mics weren’t crispy already from the last performance). I started thinking to myself did this just turn into a Jay Elec listening party? Is he here? Will there be a show? 

Jay Electronica at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

And FINALLY… Jay graced the stage flanked by a crew of brothers dressed in F.O.I (Fruit Of Islam) garb. Once he appeared, I must say he definitely gave the crowd a show.

Jay Electronica at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX
Jay Electronica, Talib Kwali, and Mac Miller perform at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX
Jay Electronica and Mac Miller at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX
Talib Kwali, Jay Cole and Jay Electronica at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

The hour-long set featured all the joints you would probably expect to hear in a Jay Elect set: “Eternal Sunshine,” “Exhibit A (Transformations)”, “Exhibit C,” etc. Special guests included Mac Miller (who straight forgot whatever verse he was supposed to be spitting) which turned into freestyle session between the two. There was also Talib Kweli and J-Cole who seemed to appear and disappear rather quickly. The show was going great and had no one else appeared on stage with Jay, I would have been perfectly fine with that.   But being the magician Jay Elect is, of course he had a trick up his sleeve and that was none other than Jay-Z himself.

“It Feels Good To Be Home!” Jay-Z says to the crowd at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

Hov didn’t just pop up to rock the couple cuts he has with Jay Elect, he set it off by his rendition of “Young, Gifted, and Black,” and even gave the crowd a treat of “P.S.A.” as well as his joints with Jay Elect including the latest “We Made It.”

Jay Electronica and Jay-Z perform live at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX
Spike Lee talks to the community at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

I took a bunch of camera phone pics and even got some video. Then I saw all these fly pictures and HD video, and put my stuff in the archives. HA. 
Oh… and before you see these videos, I must mention I ran into Spike Lee who had a 40 Acres Pop Up Shop set up at the fest. I treated myself to a T-shirt and a “Do The Right Thing” behind the scenes book which Spike actually signed… Not too bad considering where we were a few years back! HA.

Jay Z Joins Jay Electronica For “Young Gifted… by BKHipHopFestival

Raekwon The Chef performs live at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

After this… CJ Pro Era rocked, and Raekwon did his thing with a few Brooklyn guest including AZ, Masta Killa, Troy Ave, and Papoose. But to be honest, nothing quite surpassed the energy of the moment seen above.

Masta Killa joins the stage with Raekwon The Chef at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival BHFX

Pics courtesy of Tyrone Z. McCants of Zire Photography. See Full Gallery Here

Shouts to the homie Navani, Suce, Dillon, E Holla, and everybody else I got a chance to connect with during my brief stay in NYC.

Until next time… 



Len Berzerk and The HanneBullz – Back 2 Da Bx!

Len Berzerk – Back 2 da Bx!
Artist: Len Berzerk

Director: Tyrone Z. McCants, Moves2Make Ent. / Visual Poetry Productions



Len Berzerk was born in Brooklyn but raised on the mean streets of the South Bronx. His passion for music developed early in life. When he heard the song “White Lines” he immediately began imitating the “Street DJ” and started scratching the record. He developed his ear for music with this simple gesture. Eventually, he began producing beats and started rapping over the tracks. His lyrical skills are diverse and he focuses on real-life situations. Len Berzerk has been recording since 1991 and received his first break into the industry in 1996. Len Berzerk is credited as a Producer, Video editor, and Rapper.
Len Berzerk continues to create beats and produces albums. His albums can be found on,,,,,, and He plans on releasing more material in the near future, until then Google the name.
P.S. Streetz Pumpin…..
His albums can be found on,,,,,, and He plans on releasing more material in the near future, until then Google the name. Len Berzerk Music.
Amazon Music: Format: MP3 Download
Please leave your comments. Thanks for the support.


The Power of Broke by Daymond John

“This year I’m releasing to you the greatest weapon I have used in business. It is called The Power of Broke and is the reason why I am in the position I am in today,” says Daymond John in a New Year message on his Facebook page. Daymond is the founder of hip hop apparel brand Fubu which has over a quarter of a billion dollars in annual revenue. The story goes that he started out selling home-sewn T-shirts in Queens, New York, and later mortgaged his home to start Fubu. Today, he’s also the co-star of ABC’s Shark Tank TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch for investment.

Daymond draws from his own startup experience, behind-the-scenes Shark Tank tales, and interviews with entrepreneurs for his book: The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage. With forecasts of a tighter investment scene this year, and a slowdown in the global economy, the practical advice in this book, which is due out on January 19, may be useful.

Here are 23 more great books on startups and entrepreneurs that I must read in 2016


Source: 24 books on startups and entrepreneurs that I must read in 2016 – Tech in Asia

Hip-Hop Vocab: The Lexicon Is In The Lyrics | KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Chris Kindred for NPR Listen Listening… 0:00 /

Originally published on December 23, 2015 4:35 pm

Austin Martin, a junior at Brown University, stands in front of an eighth-grade class at Community Preparatory School in Providence, R.I. He’s here to test out the website he developed, which he hopes will help junior and senior high school students learn the vocabulary they’ll need for their college entrance exams.

He starts the class by connecting his laptop to a projector, and then he veers off the traditional path, away from rote memorization — and toward rap music.

A short song clip plays over speakers: “So rude that your mentality is distorting your reality.”

Martin zeroes in on the word “distort.”

“OK, so in this example,” he says to the class, “When they say ‘so rude that your mentality is distorting this reality,’ what do you think he means?”

The program is called Rhymes with Reason. He’s using rap lyrics to teach vocabulary, in the hope that some will connect more to popular music than they do to static words on a page.

This undergrad isn’t the first to think of using hip-hop in the classroom to engage students. The Hip-Hop Education Center, founded by New York University professor Martha Diaz, lists hundreds of programs that use hip-hop culture as a teaching tool.

But Martin says aggregating his lessons on a website for kids to use anywhere — at home, on their phone — sets his program apart.

Hip-hop, Martin says, is full of words students might need to know for the SAT or ACT. He’s amassed more than 450 examples so far.

“I just got out of high school. My sister is in high school,” says the 20-year-old Martin. “I’m in tune with that climate.”

In the classroom, most of the kids seem to understand that “distort” means to alter or change.

And then, like many English teachers, he asks the class to use the word in context. But not in a sentence. He wants them to write it in their own rap lyrics.

Here’s what student Tiffanie Pichardo comes up with: “You’re always distorting my brain, making me insane, the way you cross your arms and give me attitude, why don’t you go somewhere and don’t be rude.”

Micah Walker takes a different approach: “I went to court, but my opponent started to distort what I was saying, in fact they started fraying, from what that was the truth, and as a result, I came out with a broken tooth, but it’s OK ’cause it’s my turn to step into the booth.”

Grace Jordan raises her hand with another rhyme: “People think that I’m no good but their views are distorted. I’m the best; they’re wrong is what I retorted. Their minds are warped; they’re not in their right mind, ’cause smart people know I am the best. I’m the best that people can find.”

After the exercise on “distort,” the class moves on to “meticulous,” “complex” and “domain.”

They keep rapping right up until the bell rings — some want to keep going.

Eddie Moyé, the teacher in this eighth-grade class, says this enthusiasm isn’t unusual; the kids took to Rhymes with Reason right away.

“They were saying, ‘This is so much fun!’ ” he says. “They were saying, ‘Not to dis you, Mr. Moyé, but we like what Austin is doing with us,’ and I said, ‘I don’t have a problem with that.’ ”

Although he’s in an Ivy League college now, Martin says that he struggled in school. He was smart, but he says the things he was really intellectually curious about weren’t valued in the classroom.

“I knew every last thing there was to know about hip-hop and basketball,” he says. He could tell you incredibly detailed facts about rappers and NBA players.

“My favorite NBA player was Allen Iverson,” says Martin. “I could tell you what points-per-game average he had in 2004.” (It was 30.7.)

So why not tap into that enthusiasm to help kids like him, who might be turned off by traditional schoolwork.

He’s hoping Rhymes with Reason will do the trick.

After the class, Martin says he’s happy with how it went, particularly the way the students responded to their everyone else’s lyrics — saying “ooh” and “aah” when they heard a good rhyme.

“It’s really good to have that validation in the classroom for something you generated from your own mind,” he says.

Martin says Rhymes with Reason is still in the testing phase. It’s used in only a handful of classes, and he doesn’t yet have reliable data to show that it actually improves test scores or vocabulary.

But if the kids in Eddie Moyé’s eighth-grade class are anything to go by, Austin Martin is on to something.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



What motivates scientists and inventors? NPR’s Joe Palca has been exploring the power of the creative brain. And today, as part of his series Joe’s Big Idea, he has the story of a college student and entrepreneur. His online program uses hip-hop to teach vocabulary to teens.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: The program is called Rhymes with Reason, and it’s the invention of Austin Martin. Martin is a junior at Brown University. He’s invited me to go with him to a class at Community Preparatory School in Providence, where he’s testing the software.

AUSTIN MARTIN: So guys, how are you guys doing?


MARTIN: Cool. So today, we’re going to get into another lesson with Rhymes with Reason.

PALCA: Martin has attached his laptop to a projector so the class can see what he’s doing.

MARTIN: I think we might jump around a little bit just to get some, like – some fun words in there. 

PALCA: Martin decides to start out with the word distorting. He calls up a webpage with a music clip. He clicks the link.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Rapping) Glue it, to my heart I do it huge. And your attitude just blew it. So rude, it’s your mentality; it’s distorting your reality. Actually, the more you speak make me think where I’d rather be.

MARTIN: OK, so in this example, when they say so rudely your mentality’s distorting this reality, what do you think it means?

PALCA: Most of the kids seem to get it means altering or changing. Then he asks the class to use the word in context. But not in a simple sentence like we used to do but in a rap lyric, and this is where things get interesting. In a few minutes, hands start to shoot up.

TIFFANIE PICHARDO: You’re always distorting my brain, making me insane, the way you cross your arms and give me attitude. Why don’t you go somewhere and don’t be rude?

MICAH WALKER: March 31 I went to court, but my opponent started to distort what I was saying. In fact, they started fraying…

GRACE JORDAN: People think that I’m no good but their views are distorted. I’m the best; they’re wrong is what I retorted. Their minds are warped. They’re not in their right minds because smart people know I’m the best that people can find.

PALCA: That was Tiffanie Pichardo, Micah Walker and Grace Jordan.

EDDIE MOYE: Great job.

PALCA: Eddie Moye is the regular teacher in this eighth grade class. He says the kids took to Rhymes with Reason right away.

MOYE: And they were saying oh, this is so much fun, this is so much fun. And they were saying well, not to diss you, Mr. Moye, but we like what Austin’s doing with us. And I said I don’t have a problem with that.

PALCA: Although Rhymes with Reason inventor Austin Martin is now in an Ivy League college, there was a time when he struggled in school. He did excel in two subjects – hip-hop and basketball. He says he could tell you every last fact about every rapper, every NBA player.

MARTIN: My favorite NBA player was Allen Iverson. I could tell you what points-per-game average he had in 2004.

PALCA: It was 30.7, in case you’re interested. Anyway, Martin figured he’d take that kind of passion and use it to good advantage.

MARTIN: I wanted to find a way to finally make it so the intellectual engagement in hip-hop was rewarded in academic setting.

PALCA: He’s hoping Rhymes with Reason will do the trick.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: Oh, I’m so excited.

PALCA: The class has moved on from distorting to other words. The students try making lyrics with meticulous…

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: When I spit my bars, people think I’m meticulous. It comes naturally – OK, I lied. It’s ridiculous.

PALCA: …Or complex…

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #3: Rapping is complex. For example, all I can think to rhyme with complex is the word Rex.

PALCA: …Or domain.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #4: I am sick of people coming at my domain. I’m from Pawtucket – yeah, I’m repping the name. Best city in Rhode Island. It puts the rest to shame. Better keep up ’cause I’m in the fast lane.


PALCA: The kids seem reluctant to stop when the period is over.

MOYE: OK, ladies and gentlemen, please collect home books. Put them back in the home book locker, please.

PALCA: After we leave the school, I asked Martin whether he thought the session went well. He said yes, particularly the way kids responded to each other’s lyrics.

MARTIN: Seeing them – like, everyone say ooh and ah when they come up with a good rhyme – it’s really good to have validation in the classroom for something that you generated from your mind.

PALCA: Martin says Rhymes with Reason is still very much in the testing phase. It’s only being used in a handful of classes, and he’s not got reliable data yet showing it actually improves test scores. But if the kids in Eddie Moye’s eighth grade class are anything to go by, it looks like Austin Martin is onto something. Joe Palca, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Source: Hip-Hop Vocab: The Lexicon Is In The Lyrics | KNAU Arizona Public Radio#stream/0

Lupe Fiasco Co-Founds Neighborhood Start Fund


A non-profit organization co-founded by Lupe Fiasco to help entrepreneurs and start-ups in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

In a tweet sent over the weekend, Chicago, Illinois rapper Lupe Fiasco shared the link to the Neighborhood Start Fund, a non-profit he co-founded with Di-Ann Eisnor to help “turn ideas into start-ups.”

A website for the non-profit offers a detailed description of the organization.

According to the Neighborhood Start Fund website, they’ve “created a neighborhood-specific fund to support entrepreneurs and start-ups from underserved areas and of course so the best new ideas won’t go wasted. We provide access, network, workshops, mentoring and of course funding.”

The first neighborhood fund will be granted to entrepreneurs and start-ups in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Those interested in receiving funds must first pitch their idea(s) during a live pitch event that will take place next month on November 13.

“Our first neighborhood is Brownsville Brooklyn. We’ve just opened the idea competition and the first live pitch event will be November 13, 2015. We will be housed at the Dream Big Foundation’s new entrepreneurship center and cafe opening in January 2015,” a description on the Neighborhood Start Fund reads.


Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, Birdman and Damon Dash team up for BET reality show


Hip-Hop fans will be happy to hear a reality show featuring some of the industry’s biggest names is on its way. BET has announced plans to bring Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, Birdman and Damon Dash to the small screen.

The yet-to-be-named series is expected to focus on the stars as they juggle family life and business. Spanning eight episodes, fans will be given a glimpse into their personal lives. Lemuel Plummer, whose credits include Preachers Of Atlanta and Preachers Of LA, has been listed as the executive producer.

Although all four have previously forayed into reality TV, Snoop, real name is Calvin Broadus, had a reality series on E! channel called Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood from 2007 to 2008. Entrepreneur Dash also had a show on BET called Ultimate Hustler. Shooting for the show is expected to start in November for a 2016 air date.

Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg is working on a project of his own. The 43-year-old rapper is creating a reality show with AOL about his Snoop Youth Football League, a not-for-profit organization launched in 2005 in Los Angeles.

“Mentoring kids through SYFL means more to me than anything else I do,” he said. “It’s my way of continuing to connect with the communities that move me. I get to know kids and parents with great spirits from all over, and it becomes something far beyond football.

“It is important to not only be a football coach to these kids, but to be a life coach as well. It’s our way of sharing a life together. This series will finally give the world a chance to witness the stories, talent, and commitment SYFL represents in the same way I do.”



Hidden Text: The Roots – What They Do w/ text

You have a message… beep…  date: 1996….

Peace Party People! Yo my dawg found this video. The videos show subtext stating that the video and the portrayals were not real. Big business removed the text to keep the illusion alive long enough for labels to get fat while having the common fan believe these artists were really living the lifestyles they showed in their videos. I think it was brilliant. But many people missed the full message and fell into the trap spawning the need for materialism and ignorance. Some believe that was a conscious time in hip-hop. Imagine were hip-hop would be if we got the message. Its been over 15 years since the video with text could be found online. The removing of the text was said to be because of a rap beef between the Roots and B.I.G… but don’t believe the hype.

Side note, I think there was more text. This could been done over.

Music video by The Roots performing What They Do. (C) 1996 Geffen Records. Director: Charles Stone III