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Life Expectancy: Money, Health & Hip Hop by DJ Layne Luv

Hip Hop Health Picture

How Can We Make A Healthy Lifestyle Cool In Hip Hop? 

In the United States, being a young & black guarantees a person born under those circumstances a significant amount of obstacle & struggle. Not only is the African American still inferior economically, the race’s environment has a high percentage of being subject to, poor diet, questionable healthcare (which means they can’t afford adequate treatment for disease), and violence (whether it be amongst each other or by the hands of law enforcement). Even in a time where the life expectance for the average human is 75, throughout time, a lower number has always been the case for the African American male. This is because the African American race has always had to survive under the most stressful conditions dating back to slavery. But my question is, why isn’t health and money for healthcare brought up more in the Hip-Hop community? How Can We Make A Healthy Lifestyle Cool In Hip Hop? Is it because it doesn’t weigh in on the “cool” factors to talk about? Is it because dying or the threat thereof  has become the ultimate badge of honor? Why are we still having to do fundraisers and benefits for disease treatment and funerals? What financial plans are in place for rappers, DJ’s and B-Boys when they get sick or expire?

These are tough questions, however most of these issues could be solved with the proper funding and education around the matter of Hip-Hop and Health. We just recently lost Prodigy of Mobb Deep who battled sickle cell all his life. Sean Price of the group Heltah Skeltah passed away in his sleep in 2015. Heavy D died from a blood clot in his lung but it was later found out he did in fact have heart disease. Big Pun actually died of cardiac arrest.

I’m from Columbus Ohio, so even though this is a national publication, I want to honor an iconic rapper from my city who was special to us in the #614 and recently passed away… Sheron “Neswordz” Colbert  #RIH

Now let’s stop for a second, because I don’t want to get into the rappers that died at the hands of violence because that’s not where I’m going with this blog.

This is my point:

Hip Hop will be 44 years old this year. This means that the pioneers of Hip Hop are either senior citizens or on their way to being senior citizens. This means (God forbid) we may be losing a lot more Hip Hop icons in the “hopefully” distant future. But I’m noticing the mortality rate decreasing in age within the culture and I wanted to bring awareness to it in this blog.

One thing I loved about our last presidential administration, Big Up Obamas!, is that the Hip Hop community put them in office and President Barack and First Lady Michelle made it their business to bring awareness to healthcare and education directly to the minority in America.

How Can We Make A Healthy Lifestyle Cool In Hip Hop? 

How can we make LIVING cool in Hip Hop? How do we celebrate Life instead of Death? And most important, how do we put Financial well-being and Health together in this culture?

It definitely takes money and good decisions to be healthy. And maybe that’s why a healthy lifestyle isn’t cool to most young adults. Because Hip Hop from the beginning was all about taking the risk. Living on the edge. The new Rock N Roll. While Jay Z’s new 4:44 album is a great album to raise consciousness, the radio still bellows “Percocet, Molly Percocet” in regular rotation. Twerking videos and Drug money to the ear still resonates among adolescence. I get it! A safe lifestyle is a boring lifestyle. But yet, after the facade is lifted, and something tragic happens, all of the sudden we see that the rapper with money to the ear doesn’t really have sustainable income to treat the calamity.

Here’s this…The hardbody has always been the thing in Hip Hop, but what you don’t realize is Will Smith, LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Fantasia and Ashanti live very healthy lifestyles. They don’t engage in Marijuana, Alcohol or any other recreational drugs. Rumor has it that rapper Future…lol….doesn’t drink Lean or pop pills…but he advertises it to the youth in his music. So from that standpoint, what’s being fed to the public may appear to be a cooler lifestyle, trust me, eating right and adding exercise to your lifestyle will increase your chances of living a long and productive life.

Am I the old head in the room? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I can’t put this On The Table (Pun Intended) If you are one those people that just so happens to want to pursue or are pursuing a career in Hip Hop. Please take your health seriously. Black N Milds look cool until you get lung cancer. Sleeping with Twerk video models are cool until you get HIV. Living reckless with a bunch of beefs looks cool until we have to bury you and someone has to pick up those expenses. Live for today but plan like you will live tomorrow. Put a financial plan in place so that if anything does happen, you have your family taken care of.

It’s a new day! Taking care of yourself and your family is the “New Gangsta”

Follow these on Instagram:

@DJLAYNELUV

@UptownWeekly

@FleetDJs

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Where is Hip Hop ?

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Let’s talk Hip-Hop, in a past conversation I brought up the question “Where is Hip-Hop?” Now a few of you may not understand the question or even may disagree with my solution but let me give you my reasons first. When I think of Hip Hop -The Music: I believe the ARTist behind it is telling you a story about a past time or a future time, but it’s a story that warns you, teaches you and lifts you. Dealing with Hip Hop- The Culture, I see it as a community of people that obviously didn’t come from too much but was rich with talent and was rising above more than what was just placed in front of them. Don’t get me wrong I love a nice beat I can bounce to with some great hooks, but there is a difference between Rap and Hip Hop. When I search Hip Hop artists, the first person that pops up is Drake! Listen I’m a sucker for Drake as well he is a fantastic RNB singer/rapper, but as a Hip Hop artist, I don’t see. Not trying to be old school or anything but give me an ARTist that I can play when I’m around the elders that will get them up and jump and think they are about to slide down the Soul Train Line. Find me an ARTist where not only am I inspired to dance but also draw because I can feel where they are coming from and where they are headed. Rap music is great, and I am not downplaying it at all, Hell I try to twerk to a couple of them myself, but there is no Rap Culture, there is no moving past the foundation of Rap or Pop or the community without Hip Hop. So the answer to my question “Where is Hip-Hop?” Hip Hop is still in all of those who still carry it as a culture, but hip-hop has spread and has branched off to all categories of music you just have to listen to the story and Preserve The Culture that we still hold onto.

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614 Radio Legend: Kevin “The Man About” Townes by DJ Layne Luv

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Blogger Sidenote: This is a very special blog post for me because, most people think my musical passion lies solely in DJing. While this is true, however, most that know me, know that I have a white-heat adoration for the occupation of radio & broadcasting.  To provide a bigger fun fact, although my followers know that Tom “The Fly Jock” Joyner is my current radio idol, my aspirations of wanting to be a disc jockey started with a gentleman by the name of Walt “Baby” Love and his show entitled “The Countdown”. I used to sit and listen to him every Sunday by the window seal.

Now I don’t know where you might be from, but but back in day in Columbus Ohio, if you were a radio disc jockey, you were THE hometown celebrity to be. You were “The Man” or Woman, and had much “juice” in my city. Names like Kirk Bishop, Eddie Saunders, The Nassau Daddy himself Bill Moss (CapSoul Records), Les Brown, Mike Reeves, KC Jones, and Mel Griffin ring bells in the city of Columbus to this very day. Unfortunately I can’t name a lot of female jocks because as James Brown put it best…it was a “Man’s World” back then. When acts would come to town like The Whispers, The Temptations, The Bar Kays, and The Commodores the jocks would get as much attention from the ladies as the headlining acts.

This leads me to the gentleman we’re spotlighting in this blog. I came to know this guy about three years ago. He would always support my internet broadcast as if he had a vested interest to see me win. Eventually I just bonded with his spirit. Shortly after, I was able to witness him in action doing an internet show on Jamz.com. But this is not just a story about one man’s journey in radio…this is a story about a man’s fight for his life, for his legacy to be remembered, and to let the world know that Kevin Flemister aka Kevin Townes cares about the City Of Columbus, it’s rich history, and the business of entertainment.

Kevin Townes grew up in the Lincoln Projects on the Southside of Columbus. He is a graduate of South High School Class of  1984. During his teenage years, he became heavily influenced by the live broadcasts hosted by hometown legend Kirk Bishop at the Eastside skating rink. Through methodical planning, Kevin and some of his friends decided they would host a replica skate parties in their community recreation center (Barack). The venture proved to be more successful than the gentlemen thought. People from all over the city were coming to the recreation center to attend the skate parties. That provided the push for Kevin to dream about becoming an on-air disc jockey.

Nothing short of a Howard Stern movie….Kevin went on to attend Ohio University. During his freshman year, Townes got a job on the South Green Campus at the college radio station called WSGR. Townes moniker at that time was Kool DJ Kev! The thrill for Kevin was short lived after he grew bored of his responsibilities at the WSGR. To Townes, he felt like he could do more and wanted to do more with his career. After a year and a half of frustration Kevin dropped out of college altogether.

Following his instinct, he returned to Columbus and an old friend by the name of Frank Kelly was starting up an independent community hip hop radio station called CTNT. But what gave the station it’s claim to fame was, while other stations would only play top 100 R&B and safe hip hop…. CTNT was playing rap records like LL Cool J Rock The Bells, UTFO Roxanne Roxanne, and Run DMC Rockbox. “And we weren’t just playing the singles…we were playing the album cuts too!” said Townes. Anybody from that era knows that you could only get that station through a cable receiver, however, tapes of the mix shows were in high circulation and duplication around the city.

In 1987, Townes went from CTNT to the Columbus Hip Hop infamous Z103 (Sunday Night At The Raps). Through diligence and loyalty, the program director took a liking to Flemister. Once a spot opened up, Kevin was asked to do live overnights. While Kevin was working, he noticed that the city looked to him to find out where all the cool places were to go, and all the events that ruled the night. The town was his, even if it was for that 4 hour brief air shift….thus the name was born…Kevin Townes. Kevin liked the freedom he had to develop himself and play the songs he wanted to play to set the tone for the city that evening. It’s so important to document that, because corporations will never allow that kind of freedom again. The reason for this, is that they don’t want the city getting too comfortable with a personality, less they get fired and don’t welcome the replacement with the same love & respect and above anything else….lose loyal listeners.

In 1990, Townes radio world came Full-circle when KC Jones asked him to come over to 1580AM WVKO to host Blue Monday. A radio tradition in Columbus established and popularized by the late great Kirk Bishop. Of course they were big shoes to fill, but Kevin did it his way and the city loved him for it.

In ’92 Kevin lands himself back at Jack Harris aka Papa Jack’s 106.3fm and the station is going through the transition because Power 106 is setting up to be ran by Bluechip Broadcasting with Frank Kelly and Warren Stevens signed on a program directors. Once Corporate got its hands on urban radio….everything changed and not for the good. The jocks were told what to play and what to say. It’s riding in a Dodge Charger with a 4 cylinder engine…what’s the point LOL? But that didn’t stop Kevin’s hustle drive. He also hosted a Hip-Hop television video show called Music Video Avenue from ’93-’96

In 1996, Kevin’s world crossed paths with a young man from Louisville Kentucky. The man from Louisville would change how Columbus Ohio would hear urban radio forever. Enter Paul Strong. On the drive to Columbus, Paul heard Kevin’s Sunday broadcast, and decided Townes had the chops he needed for his show. The deal was offered and from that point, he became the pioneer and original member to what is now known in radio history as The Power Morning Crew. After Townes stint with Power, he did other things, but that was the last time he did radio on that grand of a scale.

The Original Power Morning Crew

But the true story is where Kevin found redemption and where he really found out what he was made of as a man. In 2013, Townes was experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. After a number of misdiagnosis, it was finally discovered that Kevin had a leaky heart valve and caused his health to decline tremendously. Kevin Townes could have chose to be private about his affairs, however he had the same epiphany I had when it came to social media…it was media…which meant he could use that platform to tell his story and be an encouragement to others.

Procedure after procedure Kevin would ask for the prayers of his followers right before a surgery and would always say encouraging words to his friends after overcoming each trial. As we acknowledged his fight to live, Kevin also inspired hope in other people though his videos of promoting heart health awareness and spirituality.

Kevin is no longer working in terrestrial radio. But for everything he’s been through, and continuing to go through, he remains in good spirits and when he can, whether it’s internet radio or a Facebook video, he lets you know that HE IS STILL KEVIN “YOUR MAN ABOUT” TOWNES! 

Follow him on Facebook

under: Kevin Flemister-Townes

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@FleetDJs

@StateOfHip_Hop

@UptownWeekly

 

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[INTERVIEW] Gamal Brown: “Dance To The Music”: DJ Layne Luv

Gamal Brown Dance Company

There are several names that rattle off the tops of peoples heads when famous dance companies are mentioned across the country.  Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King, American Ballet Theatre and so many more. However, because of stiff competition, most dancers may not ever realize their dream of dancing for these prestigious companies. Thanks to inspiring people like Gamal Brown, aspiring dancers can still live their dream through companies just like his in their communities. The name of his company is called Onyx Productions of Columbus Ohio. Instead of the brow-beating strict discipline like most of his east-coast mentors, Brown takes on a more available and nurturing role when it comes to teaching his students. But don’t let any of that fool you because he can be just as tough and critical as any New York performance arts instructor.

Besides my fascination with music, dance comes in at a close 2nd as I am a die hard fan of the late great James Brown, Michael Jackson, and The Temptations. I’m also a fan of newer artists such as Usher Raymond, Chris Brown and Janelle Monae. My transparency will also have me to admit that Fame, All That Jazz, and A Chorus Line were some of my favorite movies. I say Admit because in the Hip Hop world, sometimes “sophisticated culture” is frowned upon and I wanted Gamal to shed a little bit of light on what it truly means to be a part of the dance culture.

OTT: Ok Gamal so give us a little bit of your background.

GB: Well I was born and raised right here in Columbus. I studied in Ballet Met for a number of years. After I had graduated high school, I went on to Dayton Ohio where I attended Wright State University. While I was there, I attended the Jeraldyne School of Dance. I worked out with a few other dance companies and then received an opportunity to go to Africa and study with the ballet masters in Senegal. It was really amazing , And I must say, anyone that visits the motherland, it is a life changing experience.

OTT: How do you balance teaching what you know, while still developing as an artist?

GB: Hahaha there are long days and even longer nights…but that’s just it. You never stop being a student in this culture but make no mistake about it; you have to want to be here. You have to want to learn. People have their misconception on what dance truly is until they encounter a master at this craft. That separates the real from the fake, real quick. My undergrad is in business economics so when I view an opportunity from a high level, I have to make sure it’s worth my time and investment, and this is also what I try to get my students to understand. Mastery takes time, and you have to be willing to put in the work.

OTT: I’m an extreme advocate for saving the lives of urban young males in America. Being that their manhood is tested on every level, a number of them may view the cultured arts as soft or become downright homophobic of the art of dance. How can we get them to view this in a different way?

GB: Oh yeah…but just think about it Layne, you’re in this field where you’re always in tights. You’re in this field where the assumption is that you’re doing these effeminate movements, but the reality is..the strength and training that it takes to do what we do are second to none. If you’re partnering with someone and she weighs 145 pounds solid…there is nothing feminine about that. That takes a strong man. Are there a number of gay menin this particular culture? Yes, but that’s true in any culture. But I’ll have a straight person look at it like this, what other place can you find some of those most gorgeous women, bodies stacked and you get to engage in the most sensual, intimate movements for a living? It seems like that’s where I’d want to be hahaha.

But before you ask the next question, let me say this, it takes a certain level of mental strength to do ballet and modern dance. People will always criticize, accuse you or try to judge you and put you in this box. We come from this masculine community where you either play football, basketball, baseball or run track. It’s time for us to view the arts as something more than this effeminate culture to where you have to be a woman or gay. The arts are for everyone.

OTT: Since Social Media is at the forefront of gaining an audience, how to you think it has effected the presentation of dance?

GB: Wow now that was a great question! You’re a great writer I can tell, but to answer your question, we’re in a microwave generation. People want to be on stage right now. Aspiring dancers want the followers and acknowledgment now. I don’t think they realize the steps it takes to become a professional dancer. Don’t get me wrong, when I look at certain videos I see great movements but no training. I don’t even give a pass to these Hip Hop freestyle dancers either, because I’m thinking about the next generation behind them is going to be injured often because they have not been taught how to properly train. What are you teaching them? This is why it’s stressful to teach dancers, because it’s hard to get them to unlearn what they’ve been doing all along. It’s hard to watch people molesting the movements of the art to where professionals like myself will say  “I need you to stand in acudapie’ and hold that position” but they don’t understand that language. And each level you go to, you have masters that will hold you accountable for not mastering your craft. The craft has to be honored if we’re going to be craftsmen.

OTT: Last question. What can people expect when coming to an Onyx production?

GB: It’s nurturing, It’s fun. We tells stories of love, pain, and protest. I’m happy to see more men in my productions. It’s a movement. My next production is March 18, it’s entitled Roho which is swahili for spirit. It’s a snapshot of my life presented in 8 pieces. I was working for another company and found out that my voice was being muffled so instead of sustaining that relationship I made the decision to form my own mission. My mission is social justice advocacy. I have to tell the story according to the way I see it. I encourage you and anyone on this post to check it out. You will walk away with an experience.

Please visit Onyx Productions at:

www.onyxproductionohio.com

@DJLAYNELUV

Follow Gamal Brown on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Samantha Rogers: Carolina Promotion Specialist

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Samantha Rogers, CEO of SteadyRockin Entertainment is a 5 year veteran of the Music and Entertainment industry. A South Carolina native, she began her career in 2008 hosting college parties, recording music, and being an outstanding promoter of all around gigs on and off the campus scene. Samantha is an alumna of Voorhees College and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. It was in college that Rogers got her first taste of the music industry. SteadyRockin Entertainment consists of three street team representatives and is seeking a few more dedicated and ambitious team members to enjoy the lovely journey SteadyRockin Entertainment is beginning.

SteadyRockin Entertainment consists of artist management and promotion branches. Rogers said she’s witnessed many teens without positive role models; therefore she’d like to include positive programs for all ages within SteadyRockin Entertainment as well. As a personal manager, She has worked with and represented many local artists in and around the Carolina’s. SteadyRockin Entertainment pushed their first Indy Mixtape “DAMN NEAR FAMUZ” hosted by Grand Hustles, “Big Kuntry King’s, “personal DJ, DJ Pryme Time in 2005. She’s also involved in several other Indie mixtapes currently in the process of completion. Carolina artists Otay “Oh No” Young and Pat Rice are just a few of the artists currently on SteadyRockin Ent.’s priority artist list. Rogers states that without dedication, determination and remaining humble you wont get too far in the music industry. “Never Stop Dreamin” is a motto she goes by every day and  uses it as motivation. Samantha Rogers is also currently pushing Block Ent./MMG Digital “Dutty Pop” star Kris Kelli who just dropped her latest mixtape “DORIS PAYNE”, available for download and streaming across all mixtape platforms.


Contact Samantha Rogers by email and social media

Instagram – SteadyRockinEnt

Facebook – SteadyRockinEnt

Email – samantharogers0129@yahoo.com

 

 

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[MUSIC] The Cure: Javar Rockamore

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Javar Rockamore is a 27-year-old hip hop artist, songwriter, and producer born in Little Rock, AK and raised in Memphis, TN. He graduated from Lane College in Jackson, TN with bachelor’s degree in History. Growing up, he knew he had been bitten by the music bug so when he finished college he headed for Atlanta, GA. There he would pursue his dream of making music his living, be it through the microphone or through his production.

Through mutual friends, Javar met Antonio Reid, Jr., son of Epic Records Chairman and Co-founder of LaFace Records, LA Reid. Antonio heard the music that Javar was making and decided he deserved a shot. He signed Javar to his new management company, Marquis Reid Management, and they immediately began working on his debut project, “The Cure”, scheduled for release on February 16th (Javar’s Birthday).

The lead single is a record Rockamore produced himself, it features new Hip Hop Sensation and member of Lil Yachty’s Sailing Team, Kodie Shane (Epic Records) as well as another new talent who goes by the name GOLDe. The track is infectious and the hook is contagious. Both Javar and Golde kill their respective verses while Kodie holds it down on the hook on the track “99 Problems” which is featured on his upcoming album “The Cure”.

Javar Rockamore “99 Problems” ft Kodie Shane & Golde

Javar Rockamore “Girlfriend” ft McKenzie Lawson

Contact Javar Rockamore:

Twitter – @drokushington

Instagram – @javarrockamore

Email – javarrockamore@gmail.com

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DANCE DANCE DANCE: VIVA STYLE!

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Viva La'VeeseOne day while performing and not feeling my best I had the chance to unknowingly get the surprise of a lifetime! Philadelphia native Vanessa Busch B.K.A Viva La’Veese was also in attendance, and I had already become a consistent Facebook follower because of her movement of confidence. The song I was to perform was pretty strong, however I just wasn’t feeling as strong as the track. Viva was there with another DOPE artist named Jamai and together they gave an awesome show. Later that evening it was my call to the stage and she and her dancing companion for the evening got on the floor with me like they knew the music and made me come alive! I was ever so grateful for that moment because it was truly and silently WOMEN EMPOWERING WOMEN. She offered her talent selflessly and I had to give her a moment in something I was doing to tell EVERYONE ABOUT HERSELF!! What better place than STRAIGHT OFFICIAL: THE LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE OF HIP HOP? Dancing is definitely Hip-Hop!

Check out what Viva had to say about who she is, what inspires her, and what she is bringing to the world of DANCE!

My name: Viva was kind of a given (burlesque, Vegas etc) and I wanted my name to still have a “V” like my real name. La’Veese was a middle name of a child I grew up around but her name was spelled “lavice” the “eese” looks and feels sexier

Being a dancer:  Well I started dancing at 11. in a 6th grade talent show with my twin sister and I never stopped since then. I’ve never been to dance school either (self trained) It wasn’t until I turned 21 that I chose to make it more than just dance

Dancers:  I look up to Laurieann Gibson. As a Choreographer I’ve always saw myself through her. Her passion and desire for the art is so strong. I can relate to her craziness and her love for dance fully. Project: right now, I am launching my VivaLaFit Mommy and Me classes (fitness class designed to help mommies lose weight WITH their child) as well as my next Choreography Video and first DVD. All 3 projects begin this month.

Artist: Jamaimusic, GogoMorrow, Lee Mazin, Asia Sparks, Young Savage, Bash Jones (Dj Pennylane), Raje (RocNation) etc.

Celebrities: I’ve grown so much from wanting to choreograph for celebrities. At this point in my life I would love to Choreograph WITH laurieann Gibson. To be able to soak up her knowledge and wisdom would be more fulfilling than choreographing for a Celebrity.

VivaLaFit: The secret to being VivaLaFit is to “Unleash Your Inner VivaDiva.” You can’t fully tackle your insecurities, your weight issues, your lack of confidence or whatever reason you’re coming if you don’t LET GO. So if you unleash that inner viva diva we all have inside of us, we can accomplish so much with our bodies, our confidence, spicing up our relationship etc!

Working with Jamai and Lee Mazin: Jamai is a Phenomenal artist. We’ve been working together for only 2 1/2yrs and we’re stuck like glue. He not only has a great voice, but he’s an entertainer who also has a strong work ethic which you definitely need. I worked briefly with Lee but we’ve kept in touch and kinda planned for more things, but during that time she was definitely a kind, humble and hungry artist. Her stage presence fits her style and she’s a dope artist

Partnership: The Jamai & Viva Partnership began in 2011 when his manager contacted me to choreographer his hit single “Triple loser” I had 3 days to do it. From then on the rest is history. He saw my work ethic and I saw his and we’ve been pushing each other every since.

Contact: Hey TeamViva! To stay in contact with me you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @VivaLaVeese and my website Vivalaveese.com! My classes are Tue-Fri 7pm $10 in West Philadelphia. Hope to see you ladies soon!

Check out steamy choreography to Ciara’s Hit “Body Party” as well as the Viva La’Veese School Of Burlesque Showcase. Soon I’ll EARN MY VIVA STRIPES!!

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Lil Skillz – Foreign

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Go Gitta Records is setting fires in 2014 with it’s first release. 18 year old artist Lil Skillz is crossing borders with his brand new club banger Foreign. SKillz is no newbie to this music thing, he’s been puttin it down for years, but this year he’s locked and ready to take control. This catchy single is the first from his upcoming project and we’re already ready for more!

Available for download on itunes, amazon music and http://gogittarecords.com/foreign.

Follow Lil Skillz @reallilskillz.

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