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Rakim Returns After 15 Years With New & First Of It’s Kind Project

Rakim announces first album in 15 years, ft. DMX, Prodigy, Nipsey Hussle,  Snoop Dogg & more

The God MC Is Back

RAKIM, Hip-Hop’s most prominent MC has announced that he is releasing a new project next month. The legendary artist known for his classic hits “Paid In Full” & “Don’t Sweat The Technique” is dropping G.O.D’s Network (Reb7rth) on July 26th. Pre-orders for the project began last week and The God MC has not lost a step!

After a 15 year hiatus, Rakim returns to the fray with a project that is truly one of a kind. The album is the first fully produced project by Rakim himself. True fans of Rakim know that he’s more than just an MC. He has a number of production credits under his belt including hit songs like “Know The Ledge” from the classic film Juice.

RAKIM- G.O.D’s Network (Reb7rth)

Rakim

G.O.D’s Network is Rakim’s 4th official solo album. The 7 track project not only highlights the fact that Rakim is still a lyrical threat but features a plethora of artists. In anticipation for the album, the hot single “Be Ill” released last Friday. It features West Coast legend Kurupt & Masta Killa.

Rakim Be Ill
(Photo Cred: The Industry Cosign)

Over the infectious drums on the track, the God MC bodies the track. He spits “Design flows in binary codes, no matrix/Light-speeds, time could be froze, no spaceships/ Walkin’ paradox, I made them all believers/Ship the paradigm, even time, alter features”

Check out the official music video for Rakim’s “Be Ill” down below!

(Photo Cred: Rock The Bells)
Rakim

The guest list for Rakim’s LP is composed of Hip-Hop’s elite artists. The list includes Snoop Dogg, BG, Planet Asia, Method Man, .38 Spesh, Crooked I, Fred Da Godson and Kool G Rap to name a few. The album also includes posthumous features from Nipsey Hussle, Prodigy and DMX.

EDITOR’S TAKE

Rakim returning to the game proves that it’s indeed a great time to be alive! The God MC producing an album such as this at this time is legendary and solidifies Hip-Hop’s staying power as a genre and a movement. The push of good music is building momentum this year.

We had the opportunity to attend a private listening session for the upcoming project. In collaboration with Stop Beefin Radio & the Indiana Fleet DJs, we listened to A&R Extraordinaire Matthew “M-80” Markoff express deep gratitude and admiration for this project. After listening to three songs (“Be Ill” being one of them) we wished July 26th was sooner! M-80, you’ve done it again!

Stay tuned for Rakim’s G.O.D’s Network to officially release next month. Let us know in the comments below what you think!

PRE-ORDER INFORMATION is available NOW at www.rakimpresents.com

#GetSOM via @TenthLetterMedia & click here to celebrate Hip-Hop, lifestyle and culture!

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Journalist Bae | BLACK MUSIC MONTH

It’s June! It may feel like one year you woke up and somebody on black twitter said “We’re going to make Black History Month last as many months as possible, SURPRISE – it’s Black Music Month!” The joke would be on you because that is not at all what happened. While the national celebration of Black History began in 1926, we didn’t bring the music celebration on the scene until 1979. Let’s examine how the acknowledgment has evolved and take a look at some of the artists at the forefront of this year’s observation.

Late to the Party

We can thank former President Jimmy Carter for the initial national announcement of the celebration. However, the appreciation month did not become official until a bill was passed in congress only 24 years ago in 2000 (etc.org, 2024). For that, we can give a round of applause for activist Dyana Williams.

Her platform set forth the ideology that music has been a tool of black history preservation since before any official recording. Many share the same sentiment that the colonizations of African [Americans] has watered down the culture. Black Music Month is meant to praise the evolution of black music and its contribution to various genres.

Pioneers

The first ever celebration was held on the White House Lawn and included the likes of Chuck Berry and Billy Eckstine (UCCS). Now let’s take a look at some of at some artists who are literally ones FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS!

  • KING OF RAGTIME: Scott Joplin
  • FATHER OF GOSPEL: Thomas A Dorsey
  • FATHER OF FUNK: James Brown
  • MUSICAL THEATRE FOREFATHERS: Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle (Shuffle Along)
  • MOTHER ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: Sis. Rosetta Thorpe
  • FATHER OF JAZZ: Duke Ellington
  • MOTHER OF BLUES: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey
  • MOTHER OPERA: Marion Anderson

Join the Action

This year, you can join the party in multiple ways. If you’re in Tennessee, you can join on the “Blackest Broadway” on June 16th. NYC can join at the Music & Power Awards on June 12th. In Georgia, you can attend the South GA Gospel Music Fest on June 8th. In Kentucky, there’s a Black Music Month Celebration at the Palm Room in Louisville that takes place on June 14th. And last but not least, if you’re here in the great state of Florida, join us June 9th in Miami Gardens at the Black Music Month Celebration! Search up your city and state to see any and all events going on for the next 21 days.

#GetSOM more music, history, and tea from your girl, @Mochathemack and only on straightofficial.com

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Dame Dash Emerges With New Artist Kittii Red

Dame Dash Presents Kittii Red

Dame Dash, co-founder of Rocafella Records is making headlines after introducing his newly signed artist Kittii Red. Dash recently sat down in an interview with Red and talked about a variety of topics. The Indianapolis femcee was poised as Dame moderated an in-depth look into his new acquisition.

In an episode of “Relate To Great”, Dame and Kittii spoke on her journey in music. The conversation included Dame’s personal relationship with Congressman Andre Carson as well as Kittii’s take on authenticity in art and talent discovery. Check out their one on one down below.

Courtesy of America Nu Network
Kittii Red

Red is a Naptown veteran that has established herself as a talented artist. To celebrate the new venture and her soul day, Kittii released a track called “Birthday Song” that is trending and giving more recognition to the Circle City. It will be the first song released under Dame Dash’s BluRoc Records label.

NEW MUSIC FROM KITTII RED

Kittii Red

Kittii Red released her first single under the BluRoc Records umbrella this week. Produced by Micha D’vinci, “Birthday Song” is an appropriate debut song for her.

Kitti Red-Birthday Song

EDITOR’S TAKE

Another win for Naptown!

Dame signing Kittii just confirms what I have known for over a decade. The talent in the nineteenth state was always here, just not effectively promoted and cultured. But those days are fading fast. With social media platforms, DJ coalitions and publications aiding the fight the industry has no choice but to come here.

Kittii Red and numerous artists like her are here to continue to chip away at that glass ceiling. Dash choosing to implement a platform for artists in Indianapolis also proves his ear for music. If he so happens to be reading this, know that there is a whole fleet of DJs here as well that need to connect with you. Let’s work!

#GetSOM via @TenthLetterMedia & click here to celebrate Hip-Hop, lifestyle & culture.

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Carl Weathers Passes Away At 76

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Carl Weathers
(Photo Cred: WBAL-TV)

CARL WEATHERS, former football player and acclaimed Hollywood actor has died. He was 76 years old.

In a statement released by his manager, he stated that Weathers died “peacefully in his sleep.” Carl was known for many roles in his lifetime. His first film “Action Jackson” allowed him to flex his muscles as an action hero. His most memorable character was Apollo Creed, the cocky heavyweight champion in the 1976 film “Rocky” starring Slyvester Stallone.

THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Weathers spoke on the role. “It puts you on the map and makes your career, so to speak. But that’s a one-off, so you’ve got to follow it up with something. Fortunately those movies kept coming, and Apollo Creed became more and more in people’s consciousness and welcome in their lives, and it was just the right guy at the right time.”

Carl would continue to be the right guy. In 1987 he would star with Arnold Scwartzenegger in “Predator.” Weathers also was in the 1996 film Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler. He also voiced Combat Carl in “Toy Story 4.”Recently he finished the third season of the Disney+ hit “The Mandalorian.”

He’s also been seen in commercials with Rob Gronkowski for FanDuel. Many of his fans and friends took to social media to speak on this loss. Adam Sandler said “A true great man. So much fun to be around always. Carl will always be known as a true legend.”

Carl Weathers
(Photo Cred: Star Wars News Net)
Carl Weathers

Straight Official Magazine offer our condolences to his family, friends and fans.

#GetSOM via @TenthLetterMedia & click here for more entertainment news.

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Are Cardi B & Offset Officially Done?

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Cardi B & Offset
Photo Cred: Jason Koerner/Getty Images for E11EVEN

Cardi B & Offset have been the talk of social media as rumors have circled the couple for weeks. While there is plenty to speculate, the “Bartier Cardi” rapper has confirmed her split from the Migos member.

ENews reports that Cardi took to her IG live to finally address the situation. She stated in her clip “I’ve been single for a minute now, but I have been afraid to like—not afraid I just don’t know how to tell the world. But I feel like today has been a sign. The last time I got on Live I kind of wanted to tell you guys, but I didn’t know how to tell you, so I changed my mind. But it has been like this for a minute now. I just took it as a sign.”

In the clip she continued, “I wanna start 2024, like, fresh, open. I don’t know. I’m curious for a new life, for a new beginning. And yeah, I’m excited.”

Cardi B & Offset
Photo Cred: Harper’s BAZAAR

HOW WE GOT HERE

Married in 2017, Cardi B and Offset began their journey as a married couple. Though done in secret, it was public on how much the couple loved one another. In 2018 they welcomed their first child, Kulture to the world. They seemed adamant on maintaining their marriage amongst the rumors of Offset’s infidelity.

Even after going to his IG  with an emotional plea that he later featured on his Father of 4 debut studio album, Offset was remorseful. He stated “We’re going through a lot of things right now, a lot of things in the media. I want to apologize to you Cardi. I embarrassed you.”

Cardi & Offset would work things out. The couple would re-emerge as the best new power couple.

Cardi B & Offset
Photo Cred: Johnny Nunez/VMN19/Getty Images for BET

WHERE THEY STAND NOW

The union between Cardi & Offset was ended in September of last year. The female MC filed for divorce from Offset after only three years of marriage. It was during their separation that they decided to give things a try once again. In a statement from Offset’s attorney he announced “I can confirm that the divorce filed by Cardi B has been dismissed.”

The couple would also announce a new joint project. At the 2021 BET Awards Cardi dropped the news that she was pregnant with their second child.

Cardi B & Offset
Photo Cred; Instagram

What’s your take on Cardi B and Offset? Let us know down in the comments below.

#GetSOM via @TenthLetterMedia & click here for more entertainment news.

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Andre 3000 To Release New Album This Week

Andre 3000
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Andre 3000
Photo Cred: Variety Magazine

ANDRE 3000 has decided to bless the masses with a new solo project this Friday. The ATLien and Hip-Hop legend announced this week that he will be releasing “New Blue Sun” which will be his first project since his joint project Idlewild.

Andre is the epitome of being an unpredictable artist. His impeccable wordplay and unique style is what has catapulted him to the top of most Hip-Hop fan’s lists. As one half of Outkast, Andre has created timeless songs that still slap to this day!

So what would make New Blue Sun any different from his other projects? Andre has two words…no bars.

What Can We Expect?

Andre 3000 New Blue Sun
Andre 3000-New Blue Sun (Photo Cred: BrooklynVegan)

The New York Times reports that the record will be “is an entirely instrumental album centered around woodwinds.” Andre made the announcement on Tuesday saying “I’ve been interested in winds for a long time, so it was just a natural progression for me to go into flutes,” He continued, “I just like messing with instruments and I gravitated mostly toward wind.”

While messing around he drew inspiration from  Alice ColtraneSteve Reich and Pharoah Sanders. The album was co-produced by André and Carlos Niño, and includes contributions from the guitarist Nate Mercereau and Surya Botofasina on keyboards and synthesizers.

Andre 3000
(Photo Cred: Pitchfork)

I remember, at like 25, saying, ‘I don’t want to be a 40-year-old rapper. I’m still standing by that.

Andre 3000, New York Times interview when he was 39
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Jeezy & Jeannie Mai Calling It Quits?

Jeezy Jeannie Mai
Photo Cred: Complex Magazine

Jeezy & Jeannie Mai Are Over

Jeezy & Jeannie Mai are no more. Multiple news outlets are reporting the Atlanta rap star filed for divorce on Thursday. In documents obtained by People Magazine, the couple is “currently living in a bona fide state of separation,” and that their marriage is “irretrievably broken” with “no hope for reconciliation.”

Jeezy & Jeannie married in March of 2021. In that time the couple quickly became the talk of social media, becoming the next new power couple. In January of 2022 the couple welcomed their daughter Monaco into the world. People reports that Jeezy is seeking local joint custody of the child.

Jeezy Jeannie Mai
Photo Cred: The US Sun

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Jeezy & Jeannie were married for two years. The couple did have a prenuptial agreement in place. While reps for Jeezy & Mai were unavailable for comment by the time the news broke, the shockwaves have social media on fire.

They appeared to be such a good look together. It seems like yesterday they were just gushing about evolving from sweethearts to parents. What does this say about marriage as a whole when even the most successful of us cannot seem to make it last forever?

Jeezy Jeannie Mai
Photo Cred: AllHipHop

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jeezy and Jeannie Mai are officially a wrap! What do you think about this developing news? Let us know in the comment section below and stay connected with Straight Official Magazine as we celebrate Hip-Hop, lifestyle & culture.

#GetSOM via @TenthLetterMedia
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Lizzo Under Fire, Faces Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Lizzo
Lizzo
Photo Cred: The Cut

LIZZO is in the spotlight this week but for reasons not related to her musical talent. The Grammy award winning artist is facing sexual harassment charges filed this week. Three former dancers have come forward stating that Lizzo created a hostile work environment for over two years.

NPR reports the suit brought against Melissa Viviane Jefferson (professionally known as Lizzo) was filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. It paints a picture of an allegedly hostile work environment, in stark contrast to how she portrays herself to the public.

Widely known as the ambassador for body positivity, Lizzo faces serious accusations. They include both racial and religious harassment as well as false imprisonment.

Lizzo
Lizzo performs at the Governors Ball Music Festival in the Queens borough of New York in June.
(Photo Cred: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

WHAT’S BEING SAID

Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez are the three former dancers that are seeking a jury trial against Lizzo. From May 2021 to May of 2023, the trio claims they endured horrible treatment from both the singer and her team.

A WCEL attorney stated “The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything she stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralizing.”

There has been no official statement from Lizzo or her team regarding these accusations. With nine total charges filed against her, it should be a matter of time before we hear a response about the situation.

Lizzo
Photo Cred: Glamour Magazine

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

Lizzo
Photo Cred: Insider

While we await a reply from her camp, what are your thoughts on this situation? Let us know in the comments down below.

#GetSOM via @TenthLetterMedia & click here to see more entertainment news

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Ice-T & KRS-One Shoot On State of Hip-Hop

Ice-T KRS-One
Ice-T & KRS-One (Photo Cred: American Songwriter)

TWO LEGENDS SPEAK

ICE-T & KRS-ONE are not just legendary rap artists. They’re also gatekeepers to the genre. As Hip-Hop turns 50 this year, who better to speak on the culture and where the movement is going than these two pioneers. Ice is the original gangsta who helped to elevate Gangsta Rap and KRS would usher the Boom Bap style of rap.

Three days ago the Essence Festival of Culture took place in New Orleans. People Magazine reports that the two artists took time to speak with reporters. They spoke on the essence that is Hip-Hop, it’s meteroic rise and how it is undeniably the most influential genre of music.

KRS-One admitted to some foresight on the genre’s future saying “Fifty years ago, some of us knew this was going to happen, most of us did not know to the magnitude it would happen. But 50 years later proves that first of all, you can do anything with your mind and secondly, culture is probably the most magnificent strategy for human development known on the planet.”

Ice-T spoke on the longevity of the genre. He said, “When we started Hip-Hop was just a fad. It’s great. Hip-Hop has grey hairs. The beauty of it is that it’s still here, still flourishing and people still love it. Hip-Hop is a platform to express themselves and give insight to it’s listeners.

Photo Cred: People Magazine

HAS HIP-HOP LOST IT’S WAY?

Over the course of fifty years, Hip-Hop has taken several turns that altered the appearance of the artform. It is a “young man’s game.” In that vein the consensus is whether or not that fact is making the genre lose it’s way. Ice-T was quoted saying, “I think people from my generation are really upset with what’s going on with the youngsters because every week somebody’s going to jail. People are dying off drugs, killing each other.”

He continued, “My generation, we lost Tupac, we lost Biggie and we got the memo. Everybody calmed down. We all figured this out. We [were] rapping to get out of the streets.”

KRS-One finds the transformation from Hip-Hop’s origins to the current state deplorable. “Real Hip-Hop is free. We ain’t with no corporations, none of that. Our culture was built from the center, now we’re billionaires. We don’t [care] what people think about us.”

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

Ice-T & KRS-One have spoken. How do you feel about the current state of Hip-Hop? Let us know in the comment section down below.

#GetSOM via @TenthLetterMedia & click here to celebrate Hip-Hop, lifestyle and culture.
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NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee Unveils Venue

NBA All Star 2024
Photo Cred: Gainbridge Fieldhouse

NBA ALL-STAR 2024 NEWS

The 2024 NBA All-Star game will take place in the capitol city of the nineteenth state. Indianapolis, Indiana will finally get to host the event after a failed attempt to do so years prior. The city has had other opportunities to host basketball-related events (NCAA Final Four), however the NBA’s greatest showcase of talent never made it here…until now!

Home to the Indiana Pacers and WNBA Indiana Fever, Indy is a basketball town to it’s core. Despite the time that Peyton Manning took over, Reggie Miller was the city’s first Peyton Manning. Some of basketball’s most iconic figures emerged from Indiana, including Oscar Robinson and Larry Bird.

The host committee announced the venue location this week. To the surprise of some but not many, they unveiled that Lucas Oil Stadium will serve as a multi-purpose venue for next year’s game per the NBA.com website.

NBA All Star 2024
Photo Cred: NBA.com

WHAT TO EXPECT

Here is what to expect at the NBA All-Star Game 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana:

State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 17 as part of NBA All-Star 2024.

Purposely built for fans, Lucas Oil Stadium makes this premier event more accessible than ever to the community, and the first group of 10,500 tickets will go on sale to people in Indiana first on July 24 for $24, $49, and $79.

Sign up to receive more info at Pacers.com/AllStar2024

The event will be set up at the south end of Lucas Oil Stadium, with approximately 35,000 seats surrounding the court.

The All-Star Host Committee will purchase and distribute 2,400 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night tickets to non-profits and community organizations.

Thanks in part to support from the Indianapolis Foundation and donors to the Indy Championship Fund, IndyGo bus rides will be free throughout NBA All-Star 2024, Feb. 15-18, with extended nightly service.

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