Hey Young World! The Paragon Project by Delayne Whiteside


Have you ever been to a high school talent show and as the performers did their thing,  you knew that the potential was there in each and every kid, but the talent still needed to develop? Or let’s say you went to a high school musical and you were able to distinguish the high schoolers that took their craft seriously as opposed to the ones that needed that drama credit to graduate? Well that wasn’t the case when it came to the students of Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center last Friday. This vocational school in Columbus, Ohio offers career study in business and health, however the school is mostly known for it’s Performing & Visual arts. On Friday Jan. 5 2018 I was invited by The Maroon Arts Group to come check out the cd release for The Paragon Project. The students were chosen based on their talent and skill to contribute to this project. TPP is the  brainchild of Dr. Tony Anderson, that happens to be the assistant principal of Fort Hayes. Dr. Anderson is a part of the growing number of professionals that have played a major part in the Hip Hop industry in their younger years, and are now making contributions in education with the experience of their former music backgrounds. Anderson spent years on the management side and the production team of Hip Hop band The Roots before they went to late night television with Jimmy Fallon. He also received direct tutelage from the late Rich Nichols, (official manager of the The Roots.) Jason Rawls better known as J. Rawls, producer for hip hop greats such as Mos Def & Talib Kweli, is another hip hop icon of Columbus Ohio that just received his doctorate last year, and he has plans in the future of opening a grade school with a hip hop based curriculum. Kudos to them!

Anyway, getting back to the experience. Upon entering the auditorium of the Columbus Performing Arts Center on Franklin Ave., I was amazed at the turnout. There were people willing to stand in the aisles because the place was packed. “We were blown away by the turnout, I mean, we did all the due diligence in terms of marketing, but nothing prepared us for the wall to wall standing room turnout, the kids were definitely moved by it.” says Dr. Anderson. I walked in on a cover performance sung by MyKesha Corbin “Love On The Brain” originally performed by pop artist Rihanna. The crowd roared with excitement as the student body, that took up the first three rows, cheered her on. The next performance returned me into the b-boy of yesteryear. TPP did a cover of “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan and I commenced to pop locking right there in the rows. From there, the audience and I had one thing in common…we knew these kids were special and that was just the warm-up.

After a brief intermission filled with networking and fine cuisine provided by Willowbeez SoulVeg vegan eatery, the students took to the stage to present their original music. Mind you, being in this business for 21 years, I can usually tell the difference between locally recorded music and industry production. I was astonished. Every track I heard felt like it belonged on the radio or in a motion picture score. What was more intriguing was the videos that told the stories behind the songs. Each student received a chance to interpret the song for the listening audience. One particular song resonated with me. Get Back To Me by Abby Deneke is on constant repeat in my playlist. Not only is the song remarkably written, the production and arrangement would give SZA or Kehlani a run for their money. The song talks about making a decision to separate yourself from something or someone you love to regain yourself and your focus back. “Sometimes we love something too much and we end up losing ourselves. I wrote this song based on something personal I was dealing with, and creating it served as a bit of therapy for me” says Deneke. The next song I enjoyed off of the cd was “We Go High”. It’s a fun song with a house tempo by Pia Monagan. The songs takes it’s cues from the Michelle Obama speech during the 2016 presidential campaign. Monagan cleverly infused Obama’s speech into her song. “We really invested in breakout sessions and presented round table discussions to get the kids to open up and be themselves. That allowed them to move freely in their craft.” says Dr. Anderson 

DJ Mr. King from Power 107.5fm (WCKX) hosted the evening and was quite supportive of the youth. “I wanted to come from behind that curtain and start dancing with them” say King. One parent said “Their level of talent is unbelievable. While some children are thinking about new outfits or the next party, these kids work tirelessly to hone their skill and continue to advance. If they stick with it, their dedication will take them far.”

The Paragon Project project is being well received by a number of media outlets around Central Ohio and across the nation. Dr. Tony Anderson is dedicated to seeing his students learn not only their craft, but the music business as well. He says in closing “Rich Nichols (RIP) manager of The Roots was my mentor. He was so wise, not only about the business, but his philosophies dealing with life were awesome. He taught me things no book can teach you about this industry. Little pieces of information he dropped on me I still use to this day. I’m  just looking to impart that same wisdom into my kids. I’m very proud at what they have accomplished” 

The Paragon Project is a great musical investment. It is now available on all streaming sites. And for all you  music snobs, it will be a great way to brag, knowing you may have a piece of artistry before any of these artists actually become rich and famous.





read more

Let’s Talk About Haven: Soul Singer Renee Dion speaks to DJ Layne Luv

Haven Renee

How do you really interpret being a fan of an artist you know personally? And how does one explain that fanship when you are involved in the inner circle of the artist movement within that city? Can one speak objectively without bias? I’ll try my best. I came to know of this female sultry soul singer by way of a poet I used to date. From her introduction, I grew to know of all of the players within that artsy scene from Wali Crowder (poet), to B Jazz and The Liquid Crystal Project to DJ Krate Digga (eclectic DJ) to Lawrence Lemon (dancer extraordinaire). But around 2011, Columbus Ohio was buzzing by the release of Eric Roberson’s Mr. Nice Guy. Of course the city of Columbus has an adoration for the grammy-nominated singer, but the talk was more that of his generosity, almost an ode if you will, to the place that continues to give him so much love. Roberson included most of the artist aforementioned on his project, and from there I started to hear more and more about the songstress they call Renee Dion who was also a feature on Mr. Nice Guy.

With each project released, with each live performance, I became more of a supporter of Dion’s movement. Even witnessing her sing the national anthem for our 44th president Barack Obama was nothing short of amazing. In 2014, she dropped her project Moonlight off at my radio show, and my crew at the time and I were blown away at the maturity of her sound. We played every track for the entire show. By that time Dion was gaining momentum on the music scene….then all of the sudden “POOF” she disappeared. For a year and a half I would see her appear at a few music events around town or see her with her students from my window at that bank I was working at. (she was a school teacher at a school next door). But still no spark of music until around the end of October 2017. I started hearing from her chief supporter (her husband) she had a project coming out. He showed up at the club passing out her project to all the DJ’s but I was on the set and by the time I got done, the project was sold out. I ended up having to wait for the release date to hear it, and believe you me it was worth the wait. Haven put me in a trance from the first track I played.

I’m the type of person that believes everyone has a path and I follow good energy, so when I heard that my long time friend Jonathan Baker helped out on a lot of the arrangements for Haven, it made perfect sense why I was drawn to this project. Baker is an extremely talented genuine guy. I also felt that Dion was coming from a personal place. She’s a private person, but if you follow her life on social media and in real life…you know she’s in love and she’s been in love for quite some time. A story that is very rare in this day and age. Dion and her husband Artist Eric Jefferson don’t do it for the vine either, their love story is real. Those that listen to Haven can feel that story in the songs. So if you are in love, looking to be in love , or you just simply have questions about it…you can use Haven as to what that looks like.

I caught up with the songstress and I wanted her to break down some key elements of this masterpiece. Without further adieu …..Renee Dion…..

SO: Hey Renee, considering I just interviewed a musician you know well Ill Poetic and him taking 10 years to finish his project, and knowing it took you a few years to complete Haven, explain how difficult the process is to bring about a project with the musicality both of your projects possess.

RD: Oooh wee! (laughs to self) well after Moonlight I sort of hit a brick wall and I had to ask myself the question all artist get to a point of asking. Do I want to keep doing this, or do I want to let this go and just stop? I then made a decision, and with my mouth I told my husband…”I’m done with music” and from there was an almost immediate shift in my life from health problems to personal relationships.. things were just off. Speaking to that, I learned that when we abandon our purpose and what God has given us to do, things will shift and things can change until we find that path again. So as I stated, I was going to walk away but something kept bringing me back to it, and more and more I began to  find inspiration. I was finding inspiration everywhere, from listening to my best friend T. Wong evolve to lyrics just coming to me out of no where…and I started thinking to myself like “Are we done?” So my husband and I turned one of our bedrooms into a recording studio and I began to tinker around, and from that, the creativity started flowing …like if you ever saw the movie with Bruce Leroy …I had the glow (we both crack up) but when I started to show these songs to Jonathan (Baker) …first of all this man is truly talented, but I truly love his musicianship, so when he began to add his musical flavor, that’s when Haven started coming to life.

SO: If I could give this album a positive critique, you sound the most confident on this album than your previous projects. Songs like Uno (I really like that song btw) have your signature sound, but you can also hear growth and confidence in these songs. What made the difference on you taking risk vocally on this project?

RD:  I would say, when you take ownership and responsibility from other people’s hands, no slight to any other producer I’ve worked with…but once I had to sit in this studio and hammer out these songs myself, and I had to figure out production nuances and truly trust myself to express what was coming from my heart, I would say the confidence to elevate happened organically from those experiences. If you really want to know who Renee Dion is…Listen to Haven. 

SO: Considering we’re saying goodbye to 2017…We had a number of bare-your-soul albums from music’s royal family The Carters. 4:44 setting the tone for truth in music. Listening to Haven you can hear these songs coming from a real place. Did your husband inspire those songs?

RD: Well, honestly speaking the entire album is about him. But it’s also about me, my relationship with God and my relationship with people. When it comes to my music, I’m attracted to really beautiful sounds, so sometimes the music can stand on it’s own and overshadow the lyrics based on the sounds I prefer. However on this project, if you stripped the production and listened to just the words, you’ll hear my vulnerability, my fears, my questions and me dealing with myself. I’m still continuing to learn how to be a wife, and my husband is still learning to be patient with me as I find my way, as I am with him and these thoughts are what come out in the music. Life is about continual self discovery.

SO: It seems like your songs speak to women in love or looking for love. In a time where trust in relationships is a rarity and often times scary, what would you say to those women looking for love in 2018?

RD: Wow that’s a deep question and loaded hahaha but I’ll try to answer. I’ll say this to my single women waiting for love. Don’t lose your affection, don’t lose your vulnerability by being guarded. What do they say, “you can’t receive a blessing with a closed fist”, so you have to remain open to love no matter how great the potential of you being hurt again. With each experience there is a lesson until you reach the destiny God has called you to reach. The problem lies for most people is that they look to all sorts of media like Facebook and Instagram and the wrong outlets for guides to relationships. However that is so far from the truth of what love really is.

Listen, people look at my husband and I funny because wherever they see me they see him and vice versa. If he has a showing I’m right there, if  I have a singing engagement he’s right there as my No. 1 supporter. And it’s not based on a level of insecurity. Our presence is a sense of protection in this crazy world. Furthermore, we enjoy each others company. I sometimes go to events and there are married women and men showing up to events by themselves and wonder why they get involved in single activities. Don’t get me wrong our marriage is still work but it’s less work when you work at it and stay in tune with your significant other. Recognizing and dealing with things when things are off are another way to build strong relationships. But people have to be willing to let go of pride and ego to accomplish that. Communication is Everything. Eric is my husband and I protect him and his art just like he does for me…that’s the best advice I can give Layne.

SO: Where can people purchase your music and what events do you have going on right now?

RD: So they can purchase the music on iTunes and we just did Healing Haven and The Black Infinity a few days ago but those events and more are the many things to come in 2018. Just follow me on Instagram and Twitter under @ReneeDionMusic and please visit my web page

SO: Thank you so much for spending the day with us. Haven is definitely a instant soul classic.





read more

Master Class: Duane DaRock by DJ Layne Luv

Duane DaRock Long Way

Napoleon Hill goes on record with his book Think And Grow Rich telling the reader the very day he was sent on a mission to seek out the most successful people in the nation at that time, and develop a formula for how they became that way. The proposition was set by steel giant Andrew Carnegie. The two things I took from that fateful encounter is that successful men act quickly and change their minds slowly. 2nd, is belief,  will take you further than you can ever imagine. My point is, had Napoleon Hill let the knock of opportunity pass him by, by not recognizing a jewel (opportunity) handed to him from greatness, he might have robbed the world of some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time inspired by his book. In July of 2017, in a conference room in Raleigh North Carolina, filled with DJ’s and radio personalities, I also felt the knock of opportunity when I heard the story of Duane DaRock…as told by Duane DaRock, and my journey has not been the same since. When he told the story of being homeless, I was at the time on the verge of being homeless and I didn’t know how I was going to get to North Carolina, let alone eat while I was down there. But one week before his breaking point…his life changed. One chance meeting with a legendary rapper solidified his place in music history. Ladies and Gentleman… Legendary Producer Duane DaRock.

SO: Mr. DaRock, so glad you could join Straight Official today. When you spoke at the Fleet Music Conference this past summer, you had something different to say vs, just talking about the music business itself, you wanted to drive home positive energy and vibrations. What made those things the forefront of your message?

DD: Well I’ve known about the power of vibration since I was 4 years old and the gift that came with that was being in tune with the vibrations of the universe and whatever you think about you bring about. The game changer for me was when my grandfather died when I was 12, that’s when I jumped in the music business which makes 32 years being in the music game. I will solely accredit the things I’ve accomplished in this business based on it being all about positive energy, good vibrations.

SO: So where did determination play a factor in your will to make it in the music business?

DD: Like I said I knew at the age of 12 what I wanted to do, so I let nothing or no one take me off of that path. So in 93′ I started producing records with the help of a man by the name of Steven Brown. He was a jazz musician. What happened was, I couldn’t find anyone to make beats for me being that I was from the Boston area. So I learned what I could until eventually I became self contained until the fateful day I met Big Daddy Kane. From there I started producing beats for Digable Planets, Kool Moe Dee, Rakim, LL Cool J and the list goes on.

SO: I know the story , but for those that need to hear this, tell the inspiring story of how you met Big Daddy Kane.

DD: Ok so I was homeless. My girl kicked me out and I was bouncing from place to place and I was starving. I was starving to the point my homie said I needed to go get some food assistance. I got all the way there and something came over me and I said NO! I’m dope…I’m dope. I went home to make some rice because it’s all I had to eat….as I’m pouring the rice in the pot, a jar from the cabinet falls and breaks into the pot of rice. I pick out the big pieces but mind you the little pieces are still in there, I literally ate glass that night. This sparked not only a fire but a fearlessness in me. About a week later, I went to the Big Daddy Kane concert on a mission to let Kane hear my beats. I tell the security that I’m one of Kane’s dancers. Security wasn’t having it. So as fate would have it, a fight broke out distracting security and so I ran. I didn’t know where I was running to, but I ran right into the back of Big Daddy Kane. I told him what I did and he listened to the beats. While he’s doing this, I can see security coming to get me. And in true Kane cool fashion. He gives this look to say, “Can’t you see he’s with me?” The very next day I’m in the studio with Kane and I’m officially in the music business. But let’s be clear…I’ve been homeless even two other times after that. I’ve made money, lost it, made it again. It was a clear lesson from God to stay humble. The Lord giveth and he taketh away.

SO: You and Jadakiss seem to have a trusting working relationship. How did that come about?

DD: I met Jadakiss through the actor Duane Martin. I did a song for a movie called Hustle and Heat. Duane Martin and Jadakiss both played in that movie, so through working together, we just kept building until eventually we ended up doing the song Letter To Big with Faith Evans which ended being the main song on the Biggie movie. But let me backtrack. I met Faith one night because I was hungry and I listened to my craving and went to Fat Burger. What I thought was a craving, was in fact that I was being guided by the vibrations. When I saw her, I told her about my studio, she came back and heard a couple tracks and that night I penned the hook to Letter To Big.

SO: What do you say to the theory that people sell their souls to get into the music industry?

DD: First of all, your soul is not for sale, so you can’t literally sell your soul. But I will say that when you go against who you are to gain some sort of stardom or unearned favor, you are then going against who you are morally and that’s why you see the heavy drugs and heavy drinking because some people in the industry have made deals that compromise who they were, so they drink to escape their now reality. You can be in this business without succumbing to the tricks of people trying to tap into your inner core of who you are. But thats why you have to operate on a high vibration so you can recognize and avoid that trap.

“When you link with demonic forces for superficial gain, you go against the will of God and that’s what selling your soul means to me.” -Duane DaRock

SO: Who’s responsible for how you ethically move throughout the music business and keep your integrity?

DD: HAHAHAHA make sure you put this in there. And put my laugh in big bold letter too. There so many artists today that wouldn’t have gotten where they are without the people they shitted on, pimped and played. A lot of ghost writers and ghost producers will never see the light of day. They receive no credit and are getting robbed regularly. But these are they same people responsible for the success you see in today’s artists. A lot of people at the top…stole their way to the top. There are a lot of wolves in this industry, but I consider myself a lion. A Lion moves gracefully and knows it rules that land. A Lion commands and takes what he wants when he is hungry. A wolf plots, plans and preys on anything weaker. A wolf is constantly looking to devour, a Lion attacks only when necessary .

SO: What’s your final word for today’s up and coming musicians?

DD: When you’re tapped in to your inner guidance, it will tell you what you need to do. Stop saying “I’m chasing my dreams.” If someone tells you to “Chase your dreams” smack the shit out of em. Anything you are chasing is obviously running away from you. The words you want to use is that I’m attracting my reality…I am manifesting my dreams. You’re talking about the guy that was homeless three times yet Kevin Hart used my song about struggle to be the main song for his movie. It can happen for you if you believe in yourself. I’m Duane DaRock and I stand by what I’ve said.













read more

[FEATURE] David Banner: 601 comes to the 614 by DJ Layne Luv

David Banner Lecture Ohio

Sept 27th 2017, Jackson Mississippi rapper David Banner calls up 106.7fm The Beat in Columbus Ohio and receives some disturbing news. He was told that a rumor circulating the city was that he would more than likely not show up to the lecture event Speak Your Truth Summit. Shortly after the interview Mr. Banner went right to Instagram to confirm that he indeed was coming to our city and that he was proud to come to our town. Within that one minute video, you saw integrity, compassion and a deep rooted southern pride to always keep your word no matter what it costs. All qualities of being a real man.

If you have grown with David Banner like I have since the hit song Like A Pimp ft Lil Flip or major production credit on T.I.’s monumental album Trap Muzik (2003), then you know that the 2017 David Banner is not the same one we know from 2003. Of course David Banner always told well rounded stories, such as Cadillacs on 22’s referencing the death of Emmett Till and other misfortunes in his home state, but after 2006, we started to see a change and conviction in his approach to music. Maybe it was those Katrina waters of 2005 that destroyed his beloved state that brought about the enlightenment. Go back in time and remember how pissed he was when the world witnessed with it’s own eyes that the President of the United States George W. Bush didn’t give a damn about the poor and disfranchised in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and of course the city hit the worst New Orleans. This was his family that was suffering and he was the only voice fit to sound the alarm in the time period to speak about his state of emergency. (pun intended)

The Great Malcolm X said in his autobiography…once the light is turned on inside you cannot turn it off. Well Mr. Banner’s light continues to shine brighter and brighter as he brings awareness to the plight of being Black In America especially in the southern states. When Straight Official caught up with Banner…I had a lot on my mind. I was extremely perplexed. I witnessed and reposted the murder of Patrick Harmon of Salt Lake City Utah on my Uptown Weekly Instagram page. Not to mention being close to the case of Timothy Davis in Columbus Ohio. In that particular situation, by all means, we are grateful that young man is still alive. However, with strain and intensity in my eyes, I told Mr. Banner…”Sir, there’s a lot of people that don’t know….but I know you know….Please shed some light on how long we have to endure these horrendous acts in front of our face as we standby appearing to be helpless.”

Understand I come to piss people off and make them uncomfortable. Because pain brings about attention quickly. Listen, a warrant, smoking weed, running, none of that is justifiable in killing someone. I’m not just talking about black people. Whatever color they are, if they are not directly posing a threat to a police officer and they’re just running away, my friend there is no reason for anyone to get shot. See, white people have gotten black people to think like them, so when we see someone jammed up by the police, the first thing we think in the back of our mind is ..damn what that n***a do? Now unless that man (Harmon) was wanted for murder, then shooting him doesn’t make any sense. You see, we also have to stop echoing their bullshit media commentary, just like in the Kaepernick situation. They wanna say kneeling is a disrespect to our troops. Well, the last time I checked, America treats it’s troops like shit. So as I’ve said on many stages, the only way to get “the power’s” attention is either by the loss of money or the loss of life.”

I spoke with David Banner for about 15 more minutes, and then it was time for him to get whisked away to the stage for his lecture. As he stood before the crowd he commanded everyone to turn off their cell phones from going live at his show. His reasoning is that he feels African Americans already give away too much for free. “We have to start getting paid for our talents and gifts” he states. He also said in front a semi-light audience “If folks wanted the experience, they should have brought their ass to the show.”

He then passed out his CD #Godbox to the entire audience, and then had enough time to play snippets from two songs for the appreciative crowd. He proceeded to break down why conscious music may not sell the way mainstream music does. “One reason muh fuchas may not buy ya shit is cuz it ain’t jammin. Just because your music has a message in it doesn’t mean it should suck.” As he states that Godbox is one of the most important albums to hip hop in the history of it, only the keepers of this culture and art form can co-sign that prediction. And just as we saw of 4:44, #Godbox did not have the nightclubs in mind this go round, but instead another project to wake up the minds.

After the show, David Banner showed true southern hospitality and shook as many hands and took as many pictures as he could with those that had to wait patiently almost two hours for the rapper/producer to take the stage. And he also gave many kudos to the organizer of the event Ms. Tomiqua Perry for her hard work and determination. 

Lastly at David Banner’s request he wanted me to quote him saying “This is the first time I’m saying this to Black America on your article brother. Don’t be afraid, they are killing us anyway so continue to stand and speak out against injustice. They’ll kill you for obeying the law, (Philando Castile) so don’t be afraid. We have been so conditioned to be afraid of white people. I’ll say this for the first time too, most black people praise white people more than they’re own religion. They’ll cheat on their wife, kill another brother, lie, steal, do everything that bible told them not to do, but will not take a stand against wrong-doing white folks. Use that, don’t take that out, quote quote mutha fucha hahahaha. Because we have to address our conditioned mentality for change to  happen as well.”

Thank you Mr. Banner for coming to our city and opening up the minds to Speak Their Truth. And be sure to pick up #GodBox on all streaming outlets (iTunes Tidal, Spotify etc)







read more

[FEATURED ARTIST] E-Reign: The Future Of New York by DJ Layne Luv

E-Reign NYC

When a rapper dubs themselves the “future” of anything, best believe they have the confidence to know that the energy they are putting out foretells their success among the masses to come. It’s been a long time since New York City has held the crown as the reigning capital of rap music. Atlanta has held that title for a while judging by the amount of rappers that gets top priority radio spins and project sales. Even though the public may see the likes of Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj and now Cardi B all from New York getting their shine (Shout out to the leading ladies of rap right now)….however, it’s still many miles away… in fact light years from The Golden Era where 80 % of the industry rappers during that time were from New York.

Nowadays the internet has leveled the playing field for both rappers, producers and DJ’s and artists alike. The no longer need “the industry machine” behind them to be successful. Chance The Rapper has inspired so many independent artist to stay independent and E-Reign from Queens NY is no different. His grind is definitely being noticed on the east coast and he’s hustling everyday to become known in other states across the nation. The young rapper has the business savvy to put together independent tours with him as the headliner. From high quality music videos to riot energy live shows….E-Reign will definitely have the masses paying attention real soon.

Ladies and Gentleman… E-Reign.

SO: Glad you could join us man. Let’s just get right into it. On a lot of your promotions I see the slogan “Future of New York” ..for the audience, what does that mean?

ER: My team and myself, are just trying to bring something new and fresh to the table. That slogan is meant to inspire no matter where you’re from. I know some people might see that term as something braggadocio, but I’m not just talking about myself. I’m putting on for my city but I’m putting that energy out there to the world. I’m talking about my generation, my culture. So much pressure is put on us millennials to adapt to what was…and we don’t want to be told what represents us…WE want to establish what represents us and for that to be embraced. I may articulate that in a different way as opposed to someone down in Atlanta, but we are basically saying the same thing…we are the future…hate it or love it.

SO: I’m noticing most successful independent artist have a strong team behind them. How do you keep your team focused and on the same page?

ER: Yeah man, the key to a lot of it is staying true and loyal to those you started from the bottom with. From there I tend to keep a lot of things in-house because the trust has already been established from way back. By learning each other…things gel together, like when you’re playing basketball…if I shoot that pass, I know who’s going to be there to catch it. Honesty, also goes a long way. You can’t have a lot of “Yes” people on your team. There has to be people in place to tell you the truth so you’re not out in public looking stupid.

SO: What other states do you feel like you’re getting traction in other than New York?

ER: We’re definitely making noise down in Philadelphia. North Carolina has shown me a lot of love and our new spot is Miami. We did a show down there and it was crazy so….and we continue to just keep networking with the brand so hopefully you know, by politickin wit you ….maybe we can get it in Ohio too haha. (pun intended)

SO: So what are you working on right now?

ER: So recently I just dropped my new mixtape The New York Times Vol 1., and so the team and I are promoting that real heavy,…. and then we’re also working on a single called “Whatchu Sayin” and we’re going to be shooting a video for that as well. Other than that , just continuing to tear down these live shows to give the people their money’s worth.

SO: Ok here’ s the typical cliche question LOL, Who would you say your music is influenced by?

ER: Tupac of course and Nas….Lyrical storytellers by far that not only cause you to think but through their rhymes you can see vividly the picture they are painting to the listener. And I mean of course the no-brainers being from New York…The Jay-Z’s and The Biggie’s of the world.

SO: Lastly, where can someone find your music?

ER: Very easy, go to or you can find my music on all streaming sites. iTunes, Tidal, Spotify, all the heavy hitters. I just want to show love and get some back you know?

SO: Well thank you for chopping it up with us. We are looking for gigantic things to happen for you in 2018

ER: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. One.







read more

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:




read more

[RELATIONSHIPS] Trust Me You’ll Live: Healing a Broken Heart


Alright, so, your heart’s been broken. There is good news and bad news. The good news is you’ll live. The bad news is, well, you’ll have to go through it. An article in Essence Magazine about Jill Scott and her inspiration for her 2015 album, “Woman,” talks about allowing your feelings to be hurt, feeling it, and healing. With that being said, in order to get over a heartbreak, you must allow yourself time to go through it, not around it. When your heart is broken, you are allowed to take as much time as you need to recover. However, if you’re wise, you innerstand that love is difficult and a journey with lessons that need learning, and methods worth discovering for growth and healing, along the way. Below are some helpful tips to adhere by when you’ve experienced a broken heart.

Tip #1: Do not go through it alone

Surround yourself with close friends, family, siblings, people who love you, and whom you are comfortable in confiding. This allows you time to vent and accept advice and/or words of encouragement. You’ll need it.

Tip #2: Cry

Release those toxins.  Tears rid the body of stressful hormones. Pass the Kleenex and get it out of your system, remembering to deep breathe, in through your nose, and out through your mouth, to release the person who hurt you.        

Tip #3: Laugh

Laughter releases endorphin’s and relieves pressure. Enjoy the fact that you have an opportunity to start anew and be refreshed.  Watch a comedy, go to a comedy show, laugh wholeheartedly, and most importantly, feel.


I laughed today. I laughed because I actually Googled, “How to get over a heartbreak.” I laughed so hard through my tears because it felt good to be able to do this after crying myself to sleep last night. I learned something valuable in my search that you have to go through the heartbreak in order to heal from it. You cannot go around it, under it, or over it, but you have to go through it. What that means is, you’re allowed to cry, scream, laugh, heal, love again, in due time, but most of all, you’re allowed to take your time. You may take as much time as you need. I also learned that, while getting through a heartbreak, being isolated is a no no. I lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs, away from family, my sorors, my friends, and I knew that I couldn’t be alone to get through this one. The day my heart broke was the day after I learned the disturbing news that someone I’d loved and trusted was involved with someone he’d known for years. I guessed I should have seen it coming, but I ignored the warning signs because I trusted him. That day, all I could manage to say was, “thank you for telling me that.” At the time, I wasn’t upset, I talked myself to sleep to try, and self-soothe and be “strong.” The following day was rough because I felt the need to let him know how that made me feel. I proceeded with my day as normal as I possibly could, but on my lunch break, for 30 minutes, I allowed a breakdown. I cried on the phone with my mother who immediately began praying for me in the middle of me telling her how much pain I was in, physical and emotional. I could barely get out the words, all I could say was his name, and “this hurts.”  For the first couple of days when it hit me the hardest, I stayed with my mom.  She was there for me, only conversed when I’d randomly spill out how much I was hurting and sat with me quietly as I cried. She kept reminding me to breathe, coaching me to inhale, exhale, and let it out. I had been holding it in, but this one, this one gave me the shakes, had the left side of my chest tightening, my heart beating irregularly, no appetite, my sleep pattern suffered, and I felt like at any moment my body was going to give up.

Each day got better. This morning, I woke up, and smile at my puffy-eyed self in the mirror, cried in the shower, and smiled again at the puffy eyed woman staring back at me. I even laughed at myself a few times when I thought about how ridiculous I probably looked. I was grateful though to not be going through this alone. My brother, friend, and father even dropped a few gems from a man’s perspective, and my brother said,  “time, time is the ultimate healer.” The lesson here, surround yourself with family and friends. Do not isolate yourself when you’re going through a heartbreak, and laugh, find the humor.

Tip #4: Take Accountability 

The article in Essence magazine stated, “A woman looks at her own decision to date that guy, or girl, or whoever it is that you’re dating.  You are accountable for who you allow in your life.” Peppers, G. (2015, July) Be responsible for whom you allow into your life and the way they affect you. Believe what the person has shown you and not what they’ve said to you. Take accountability for your own actions as well and please, by all means, do not rush into another relationship or begin courting while you’re hurting. This creates a vicious cycle of rebounding and breaking more hearts. Remember, hurt people hurt people. Enjoy your time in recovery. There is a saying, “don’t break your own heart assuming your importance in another person’s life.” Golden Rule. Point. Blank.

Personal: Recognizing the role that I played in the breaking of my own heart was the most difficult. I recounted the many times that my intuition spoke to me, but I ignored her. I had countless gut feelings that something wasn’t right but he’d sugar coat it by saying, “our chemistry is amazing,” when I’d tell him that I felt something wasn’t right.  Often, I brushed it off and assume the vibes I felt were connected to him but, indeed, they were my own guiding forces trying to warn me. I even had a dream that while visiting him, he was hiding another woman in another room.  They both laughed at me as I packed my things to leave.  I woke up feeling my soul rock but brushed it off. That dream/premonition was true. I should’ve listened, but in real life, things were perceived to be normal.  We began talking about starting a family and what that would look like.  Again, I ignored the warning signs that our conversations were strictly through text and maybe a phone call here or there. I take full responsibility for falling in love with his potential and not the reality. Needless to say, when he told me he was involved with somebody else, I wasn’t surprised, just hurt by the way he went about it. He ignored me and brushed me off like I was a placeholder for the person he really wanted.

When we started talking, he said he wasn’t ready for a relationship because he didn’t view himself as a “finished product.” That was the first warning that I ignored because I was ready to settle down and he wasn’t but we proceeded, even sleeping with him a few times that could’ve easily resulted in the conception of a love-child. Again, I ignored the signs because I loved him, trusted him, and held onto his every word. We even had a few disagreements when I thought I gained the strength to decide that I deserve to be treated better, and stop dealing with him but I fell for the “I didn’t want to send mixed feelings, but I’m tired of holding it in,” 15 text message, confession from him, that made my heart melt, and restored faith that this could probably work out. We met in college, had a spark but we were both in relationships so respected the fact that we had someone. The opportunity presented itself last year, and we took it, only to end up here. Perhaps I was overthinking it, right? Wrong, I should’ve continued running for the hills and never looking back. I take responsibility for continuing with him, even when it was obvious that we weren’t going to last, this is part of the process, accountability.

Tip #5: Reflect

Take time to think about what you’ve learned and what you can do differently the next time around.  If the person who hurt you is willing to talk and work it through, great,  If not, you’ll have to be content without closure, and learn how to gain closure by finding peace in the situation, and moving on. Prime example is our very own “Hurt Bae” who went viral. Luckily, she had the chance to face someone who broke her heart. It was ideal to be able to face the breaker of hearts but not a likely outcome after a breakup. So, if you can’t face the heart-breaker, take to the pen and paper or keyboard and write it down. Delete it, share it, burn it, rip it up, or save it, and reread it later to celebrate how far you’ve come.

Personal: By day four I was motivated, gained my appetite back for food and life. I even worked out today and continued to surround myself with family and love. I took my niece to the park and, even though she’s seven, this child made me laugh hard and appreciate living. I then remembered all who’d be left behind if I chose to let a broken heart kill me. No, not suicide, but actually kill me from natural causes. There is such a thing as broken heart syndrome that can be fatal if the symptoms go ignored and left untreated. According to the American Heart Association, a heartbreak or takotsubo cardiomyopathy can occur after a traumatic experience. It is a reaction to the stress hormone that causes angina (severe chest pain) and shortness of breath which are signs of caution that should be carefully monitored. This can happen even if you’re living a healthy life but emotions are real and no matter how “strong” you try to be, the way a person treats you, whom you love, can be damaging to your health. At that point you have two choices, let it kill you or use that experience to make you stronger and give life. 

Remember that it takes time to heal a broken heart and that it is necessary to go through it. Follow these steps and reach out, I encourage dialogue, and hey, you are not alone. This will probably be the first of many heartbreaks, and that’s life, so be ready. The goal here is to learn how to deal with heartbreak in a healthy way. Once you’re healed, tell your story, or tell your story as you’re healing, trust me you’ll live.

~Love and Light

read more