November 26, 2007

Rawkus Network Launches The Eagerly Anticipated Rawkus 50

Rawkus, the brand synonymous with groundbreaking hip-hop returns to their roots in artist development.

The Rawkus Network (, home to blog favorites and taste-makers such as,,, and, announces the Nov. 27th all digital launch of The Rawkus 50, a who’s who of the hottest underground artists in Hip Hop today.

Chosen from hundreds of submissions, all Rawkus 50 artists’ profiles can be viewed on, a community platform that both blogs and artists share. A total of 650 exclusive tracks, representing 50 albums, will be available for digital download at I-Tunes and other relevant digital retailers worldwide. Each artist also has the option to independently release the music in physical CD form. To select the top 50 artists from a huge amount of submissions, Rawkus drafted veteran underground hip hop producer Slopfunkdust as Rawkus 50 A&R Director. All artists receive the marketing and promotion of Rawkus founders Brian Brater and Jarret Myer, who conceived of the Rawkus 50 as a countermeasure to falling CD sales and a general decline in artist development at music labels.

The Rawkus 50 member diversity, cumulative artistic strengths and touring capacity are evident; however, the Rawkus Network will provide coverage throughout its community of blogs with additional on-line promotion via its social network, worldwide digital distribution using IODA Distribution Alliance, print ads and a National series of Rawkus 50 events.

Below are some examples of what The Rawkus 50 has to offer. For more information and links to each artist’s profile page visit

-L.E.G.A.C.Y. is a widely respected Justus League member and Little Brother affiliate member.
-The Foundation’s members and session musicians have played live, recorded, and produced for Me’shell Ndegeocelo, Beyonce, Robert Glasper, Mary J. Blige, Tribe Called Quest, Bilal, Kareem Riggins, and Sa-Ra Creative Partners.
- Custom Made - Well known on LA’s mixtape circuit, Custom Made just signed a long term deal with Babygrande Records
- Mookie Jones, son of R&B Legend and original Def Jam roster artist Oran “Juice” Jones, was just 15 years old he won 1st place in 2003 National “Roc-The-Mic” competition sponsored by Roc-A-Fella Records. One year later he placed 1st in the Houston Source Battle and recently won Scion’s “The Prospect” competition.
-- Atllas, has been featured as a mentor of the highly rated MTV “MADE” series, and is headlining the official Phoenix Suns Tour with Hot-Rod (G-Unit).
-6th Sense, an Mc/Producer has collaborated/produced with Snoop Dogg, Aaron Carter, Scram Jones and Frequency. He is dropping his Rawkus 50 Mick Boogie tape now.
- SunN.Y was signed by Jermaine Dupri to Virgin Records Urban live on 106th and Park after winning over the BET MC battle
-Krukid, a Ugandan Native received a 4 Star OKAYPLAYER review for his Rawkus 50 album, “African” The respected Website wrote: “This is a great hip hop album, but above all it is a well crafted piece of art filled with substance.”

November 23, 2007

A Good Album is More than Just a Collection of Singles

Some people find it hard to understand my man Jay-Z's decision not to let iTunes break up his American Gangster album and sell it as single tracks. They say he's fighting the future and losing out on sales from fans who only want to download singles. But I say it was a stand somebody had to take in the music industry. Jay is speaking for all of us.

He's not the first. He's not the lone cowboy in all of this. Radiohead and AC/DC have turned their backs on iTunes for the same reason. Doug Morris, the CEO of Universal Group, has been fighting Steve Jobs on this for a minute now. But Jay is at a level people are going to pay attention to. He's had 10 number one albums. He may run Def Jam but he's also an artist who put his heart and soul into something that he wants people to hear all the way through. As the creator and investor, he has every right to demand this.

Not only that, I believe he's starting a movement that's necessary. More artists and producers are gonna take back control of how their art is sold because his strategy has paid off. Maybe Hova coulda sold another 100,000 to 200,000 units by playing it iTunes' way, but he still had the number one album last week. He STILL sold 425,000 units. Even more, he's proven you can still sell an album without those guys.

Jay made everyone realize that iTunes taking what we give them and doing what they want with it isn't the way it has to be. He put the light on and made other people realize, "Oh these guys are just selling our music, they ain't making it." If anything, WE made iTunes. It's like how we spent $300,000 to $500,000 each on our videos and MTV and BET went ahead and built an entire video television industry off of our backs. We can't let that happen again. These businesses exist solely because of our music. So if we as artists, producers and label executives stand up, those guys at Apple can either cooperate, or have nothing for people to buy and download on their iPods.

Apple thinks that's never gonna happen. They think that we as the record industry will never stick together. But Universal sells one out of every three records. All it'll take is for Warner Music to say, "You know what, I'm with you," for us to shut 'em down. No more iPods! They won't have nothin' to play on their players! We can take back the power if we're willing to sacrifice some sales to make our point.

These days people just assume that you need a number one single to have a number one album. But look at what's really happening. Soulja Boy sold almost 4 million singles and only 300,000 albums! We let the consumer have too much of what they want, too soon, and we hurt ourselves. Back in the day when people were excited about a record coming out we'd put out a single to get the ball going and if we sold a lot of singles that was an indication we'd sell a lot of albums. But we'd cut the single off a few weeks before the album came out to get people to wait and let the excitement build. When I put out Kris Kross we did that. We sold two million singles, then we stopped. Eventually we sold eight million albums!

Did consumers complain? Maybe so. But at what point does any business care when a consumer complains about the money? Why do people not care how we - the people who make music - eat? If they just want the single, they gotta get the album. That was how life was. Today we should at least have that option. Yeah, it's about the money, but it's also about quality. Creating each album as a body of work that means something gives the consumer something better to listen to, It's that simple. Otherwise all anyone would care about is making a bunch of ringtones.

A good album is more than just a collection of singles. American Gangster was a story with a beginning, middle and end. I came in at the end and did the last song, "Fallin'." But every joint was related. Each song gets better from listening to the one next to it, and the one after that. I didn't just sit by myself in my studio in Atlanta, crank somethin' out, and throw it in the pot.

That album was the product of the best minds in hip hop today: Jay, Puffy, the Neptunes, No I.D., Just Blaze and me. We all came together and threw ideas around. Me and Jay had long conversations about our favorite mafia movies, and that moment in all those gangsta stories - Scarface, The Godfather -- when the hero makes his big mistake and falls. We came in with respect for each others' craft so the whole album could do right by the story. We made quality music for our consumers. We made art.

None of this is new. Every record is in some way a concept album. The whole always strives to be better than its parts. I dedicate a whole chapter in my book to this process. Every thing I produce is a product of me spending time with the artist and getting to know where his or her head is at. Usher's Confessions album was all about where he was at that point in his life. Same with Mariah's Emancipation of Mimi.

Even if I'm not executive producing and I'm brought in at the end on someone else's album, I listen to what everyone else has done and try to make my tracks fit. I'm like an interior decorator who comes into a house and fixes up one room. It doesn't look like every other room, but at least it picks up some threads so that room looks like it belongs in the same home. Every album is created for you to hear the next song, especially on rap albums. Rappers make intros on their records for a reason- they want you to listen it to set the mood and get ready for that second song.

I'm not saying that music can't ever be sold as singles. Not every album is equal and consumers are always going to try to cherry pick the songs they like. But that doesn't mean the people who investing their time, money and sweat into a record shouldn't have the right to decide how it's gonna be sold, whether that's in single units or as a whole. My book, Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul, came out in hardcover last month, but Simon & Schuster doesn't let the book stores tear it up and sell it chapter by chapter. A record is no different.

Asking us to let other people mess with all our hard work like that is disrespectful. It's like when you go an art auction, and an Andy Warhol painting is up for sale at $5 million, but a buyer is allowed to just by off the top right hand corner of the canvas for a hundred thou'

Apple, why are you helping the consumer destroy our canvas? We don't tell you to break up your computers into bits and pieces and sell off each thing. When you go to the Apple store you may only need one thing, but you have to buy all their plug ins and stuff. You have to buy their whole package, even if you don't necessarily want it, or your equipment won't work. We're just saying, if you have the audacity to sell your products like that, don't treat our products as something less than yours.

Respect the craft!


Jermaine Dupri, who was named the most successful R&B producer of all time by the Guinness World Records 2007, is a Grammy-award winning music producer, president of Island Urban Records and author of Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul (Atria, October 2007).

November 7, 2007

Jim Jones "Love Me No More"

November 6, 2007

Denzel Washington Hand Picks Songs For New Film, The Great Debaters.

The Great Debaters Soundtrack
Atlantic Records
In Stores 12/11
Pre-order Soundtrack Here


Atlantic Records has announced details of "THE GREAT DEBATERS - MUSIC FROM & RECORDED FOR THE MOTION PICTURE," the original motion picture soundtrack to the forthcoming Weinstein Company theatrical release. Due in stores on December 11th, the album features an extraordinary roster of modern artists - including Sharon Jones, Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops - performing pre-1935 blues, folk, jazz, and gospel classics. Directed by and starring Academy Award®-winner Denzel Washington, The Great Debaters is set to open in theaters nationwide on December 25th.

The pre-1935 songs were hand picked by Denzel Washington for the various on camera scenes from over 1000 songs from the period. Recorded largely at Memphis' world-renowned Ardent Studios, "THE GREAT DEBATERS - MUSIC FROM & RECORDED FOR THE MOTION PICTURE" centers around Grammy Award-winning blues singer/guitarist Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart and Brooklyn-based soul sensation Sharon Jones, who are featured both as solo performers and in collaboration with The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Among the album's many highlights is a version of the traditional "Step It Up and Go," performed by Hart and legendary Hi Rhythm Section guitarist Teenie Hodges (Al Green, Ann Peebles). In addition, Hart unites with traditional African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, for a series of songs, including a stunning take on Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's Fault But Mine" and the exciting Mississippi Sheiks hit, 'Blood In My Eyes For You."

Elsewhere, Jones pairs with Memphis' acclaimed community choir, Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith, for soaring renditions of such classic spirituals as "We Shall Not Be Moved" and "Up Above My Head." "THE GREAT DEBATERS - MUSIC FROM & RECORDED FOR THE MOTION PICTURE" also features jazz favorites like Duke Ellington's "Delta Serenade," performed by the esteemed New York-based big band, David Berger and the Sultans of Swing. The collection is rounded off by period recordings from such luminaries as Marian Anderson, Art Tatum, and the Delmore Brothers.

"THE GREAT DEBATERS - MUSIC FROM & RECORDED FOR THE MOTION PICTURE" was produced by G. Marq Roswell & Denzel Washington. G. Marq Roswell is known for his work as music supervisor on over 50 films.


1. "My Soul Is A Witness" - Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart & Sharon Jones
2. "That's What My Baby Likes" - Sharon Jones, Alvin Youngblood Hart & Teenie Hodges
3. "I've Got Blood In My Eyes For You" - The Carolina Chocolate Drops & Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart
4. "Step It Up and Go" - Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart & Teenie Hodges
5. "It's Tight Like That" - Sharon Jones, Alvin Youngblood Hart & Teenie Hodges
6. "Busy Bootin'" - Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart & The Carolina Chocolate Drops
7. "City Of Refuge" - Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart & The Carolina Chocolate Drops
8. "Two Wings" - Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart, Sharon Jones w/Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith
9. "Delta Serenade" - David Berger & The Sultans of Swing
10. "Rock n' Rye" - David Berger & The Sultans of Swing
11. "Wild About That Thing" - Sharon Jones, Alvin Youngblood Hart, & Teenie Hodges
12. "Nobody's Fault But Mine" - Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart & The Carolina Chocolate Drops
13. "How Long Before I Change My Clothes" - Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart
14. "We Shall Not Be Moved" - Sharon Jones w/Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith
15. "Up Above My Head" - Sharon Jones w/Billy Rivers and the Angelic Voices of Faith
16. "The Shout" - Art Tatum
17. "Begrussung" - Marian Anderson


"Believe in the power of words"

From two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and an ensemble cast lead by Washington that includes Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker, comes "The Great Debaters." Inspired by a true story, "The Great Debaters" chronicles the journey of Professor Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington), a brilliant but volatile debate team coach who uses the power of words to shape a group of underdog students from a small African American college in the deep south into a historically elite debate team. A controversial figure, Professor Tolson challenged the social mores of the time and was under constant fire for his unconventional and ferocious teaching methods as well as his radical political views.

In their pursuit for excellence, Tolson's debate team receives a groundbreaking invitation to debate Harvard University's championship team. The film is directed by Denzel Washington and stars Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett, Nate Parker, Denzel Whitaker, and Kimberly Elise. "The Great Debaters" was written by Robert Eisele and Tom Epperson and produced by Todd Black, Kate Forte, Oprah Winfrey and Joe Roth. Presented by The Weinstein Company, "The Great Debaters," will be released by MGM on December 25th.

Official Wu-Tang Clan 8 Diagrams Mixtape | Album In Stores 12/11

Or you can visit the following link and there's a flash player with the songs in it...

Wu-Tang Clan “8 Diagrams” Mixtape, Download Here on! and the Wu-Tang Clan are whetting appetites for the Wu’s upcoming release with the "8 Diagrams" Mixtape and official mixtape widget.

The legendary Wu-Tang Clan will release their last album "8 Diagrams" on December 11th, 2007 through Loud/SRC Records. The "8 Diagrams" mixtape is available for FREE download exclusively through It features 29 tracks of new and unreleased Wu-Tang material. You can stream the full mixtape using the "8 Diagrams" widget (which fans can embed into their MySpace page or personal blog, free to pass along to other hip hop heads). If you’d prefer to bypass the widget, click this link and download the full mixtape for free from

And in case you missed it, check out RZA as he talks “The Heart Gently Weeps” here.

Mixtape Tracklisting:
1) Intro feat. Method Man
2) Watch Ur Mouf (Wu-Tang Exclusive)
3) State Of Grace (Raekwon Exclusive)
4) Break That Break (Unreleased)
5) Wu Banga 101 Remix (Unreleased)
6) My Corner (Raekwon Exclusive)
7) Stick Me 4 My Riches (Wu-Tang Exclusive)
8) Thug World (Wu-Tang Exclusive)
9) Maxine Remix (Unreleased)
10) King Toast Queen (Unreleased)
11) Strawberries & Cream Remix
12) Weak Spot (Wu-Tang Exclusive)
13) Intoxicated feat Macy Gray (ODB Exclusive)
14) Crooklyn Dodgers (Ghostface Exclusive)
15) The "W" Remix (Unreleased)
16) Real Nillaz
17) Ghost Is Back
18) Don't Go Breaking My Heart ODB feat Macy Gray
19) Violent Skit
20) Life Changes (Wu-Tang Exclusive)
21) Treez (Unreleased)
22) The Abduction
23) John 3:16
24) Good
25) Da Destroyer (Raekwon Freestyle)
26) Iron God Chamber
27) 4:20
28) Wise (Unreleased)
29) Presidential M.C. (Bonus Track - The Heart Gently Weeps)

November 5, 2007

Let Me Let Go - Michael Jackson

MJ is resurfacing again it seems. Recently he thanked his fans with a letter. He's on the cover of Ebony because it's been 25 years now since Thriller was released and changed the face of music.
MJ has a new song too... Check it out below.

[Click Here] Let Me Let Go - Michael Jackson

Herbie Hancock takes 'River' on the Road with 18 year old phenom Sonya Kitchell

NY, NY – Following the release of ‘River: The Joni Letters,’ “an intimate reinvention” (NY Times, 9/9/07) of Joni Mitchell songs, jazz master Herbie Hancock ( will embark on a brief tour of West Coast venues this November.

In addition to band members Vinnie Colaiuta, Nathan East and Lionel Loueke, Hancock will be joined by young singing sensation Sonya Kitchell. Kitchell will handle vocal duties for performances of songs appearing on the album, a tribute to Hancock’s friend and fellow music icon Joni Mitchell. The concert tour, which will include songs spanning Hancock’s illustrious five-and-a-half decade career, will makes stops in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

“When Sonya and I first met at one of her performances last year, I was blown away by her professionalism, her grace and, of course, her amazing voice,” said Hancock. “We brought her in to perform Joni’s ‘All I Want’ for ‘River,’ and I was sold. She’s definitely one to watch, and I’m thrilled she can join us for the West Coast dates.”

Citing Joni Mitchell as one of her key influences, the now 18-year-old Kitchell released her debut album ‘Words Came Back to Me’ in spring 2006 (Velour/Hear Music) to widespread acclaim. "With a knockout voice” (People, 4/17/06) and songwriting skills to match, the Massachusetts-born singer’s debut was selected for national distribution by Starbucks as part of their prestigious Hear Music Debut series. This tour marks the second live collaboration between Kitchell and Hancock, who last year invited the young vocalist to perform with his all-star band at the Sonoma Jazz Festival.

‘River: The Joni Letters,” which debuted at the top of the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart following its September 25 release, is a collection of songs, composed by or influential to Joni Mitchell. Arranged and produced by Hancock with legendary producer Larry Klein (Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux, Brandi Shearer), ‘River’ “explores how old words resonate when interpreted instrumentally and offers beautiful insight into [Mitchell’s] conversational artistry” (LA Times, 9/23/07). The album features vocal performances by artists including Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza, Tina Turner, and Mitchell herself. Kitchell’s performance of “All I Want” appears exclusively on the version of the album.

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