8 Times Nina Simone Influenced Your Favorite Rappers



Nine days before her 2003 death, Nina Simone was granted an honorary degree from Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, the same elite school that denied her admission in the ’50s. She was convinced her rejection was based on racial discrimination, something she fought against her entire life.

Throughout her singing career, which spawned over 40 albums and countless hits like “Feeling Good” and “Strange Fruit,” Simone wore many hats, including that of a Civil Rights activist. Beginning in the early ’60s, her music would integrate messages of equality. Songs like “Old Jim Crow” and “Mississippi Goddamn” addressed the racial inequality that ravaged the South.

Simone died an icon and because of her immeasurable contributions to American music, she will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on April 14.

February 21 marks what would have been Simone’s 85th birthday. In her honor, is  compiled eight tracks sampling Simone’s timeless music. From Kanye West to 50 Cent Simone’s influence can be found in the least likely places.

Kanye West “Famous” (2016)

Simone’s music can be heard in one of Kanye West’s most controversial videos, “Famous” featuring additional vocals from Rihanna and production courtesy of Swiss Beatz. The Life of Pablo track borrows from Simone’s 1968 single “Do What You Gotta Do” from the album Nuff Said!. 

JAY-Z “The Story Of O.J.” (2017)

JAY-Z’s racially charged single “The Story of O.J.” was a standout on the Hip Hop mogul’s 13th studio album, 4:44. Produced by No I.D., the song features samples of Simone’s 1966 track “Four Women.” The single comes from her Wild Is The Wind project.

Kanye West “Blood On The Leaves” (2013)

Yeezy, who has consistently sampled Simone’s music over the years, took snippets from 1965’s “Strange Fruit,” which was actually Simone’s cover of a 1939 Billie Holiday song of the same name. The track appears on Simone’s Pastel Blues. 

50 Cent “Wanksta” (2002)

Before 50 Cent  was at the helm of Power, he was dropping mixtapes like 2002’s No Mercy, No Fear. One of the album’s singles, “Wanksta,” takes from the aforementioned “Do What You Gotta Do” taken from Simone’s 1968 album, Enuff Said!. The song was also included on the 8 Mile soundtrack and added to 50’s debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ as a bonus track in 2003.

Reflection Eternal “For Women” (2000)

Talib Kweli, has also honored Simone with his music several times. In 2000, he teamed up with producer Hi-Tek under the Reflection Eternal moniker. For the track “For Women,” which came from their inaugural album Train of Thought, Hi-Tek drew inspiration from Simone’s 1966 single “Four Women” from Wild Is The Wind.

Kanye West & JAY-Z “New Day” (2011)

Prior to their rift, JAY-Z and Kanye West linked up for 2011’s Watch The Throne, For the track “New Day,” the current foes took samples of one of Simone’s most recognized hits, 1965’s “Feeling Good,” from the album I Put A Spell On You. 

Talib Kweli “Get By” (2002)

Two years after Reflection Eternal, Kweli again borrowed from Simone’s catalog for one of his most recognizable hits, “Get By” from his debut solo album, Quality. The song samples Simone’s 1965 track “Sinnerman” from Pastel Blues. 

Prodigy “Stronger” (2011)

The late Prodigy, who passed away  last June, delivered The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP in 2011. It featured the track “Stronger,” which also utilized Simone’s 1966 track “Four Women” from Wild Is The Wind. 

Black Panther” Proves To Be Opening Day Behemoth



Now that the Ryan Coogler-directed Black-Panther has officially hit theaters, the film is swiftly proving to be the cultural phenomenon it was predicted to be.

Black Panther, which currently boasts a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, already broke an advance ticket sales record and will likely break even more records as the weekend progresses. Some estimates predict the film could bring in as much as $200 million over the weekend, which would break the record for the best pre-summer debut ever.

The record for biggest opening weekend (domestic) currently belongs to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with nearly $248 million.

Moviegoers showed up and showed out on Thursday (February 15), arriving to theaters in full cosplay or Wakanda-inspired attire.

A number of celebrities have also stepped up to ensure that everyone is able to see the film. On Saturday (February 17), Kendrick Lamar and TDE will host a free screening of Black Panther for children living in housing projects in Los Angeles.

Atlanta rapper T.I. and actress Octavia Spencer have hosted or will host similar screenings in their hometowns.

Additionally, the #BlackPantherChallenge was created to raise funds for black students to view the film in cities across the nation.

Lastly, Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright dropped a few bars in honor of this week’s opening, and for the culture.




Most of America remembers Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, the former Nation Of Islam spokesperson under the leadership of Louis Farrakhan, as the passionate, emotion-evoking Black leader that was the last of his kind to stand up in the face of oppression in America and the first U.S. citizen to ever be censured by Congress. The Hip Hop community reveres Dr. Khalid as the articulate voice of the urban masses, appearing on some of the game’s most memorable albums, but it didn’t stop there. Even some rock bands recognized the power in the truth that he spoke and immortalized him in their music.

Here’s a list of the top five appearances from Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad that some may remember, but most won’t.

1. Public Enemy‘s “Night Of The Living Baseheads” from the It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back album

The intro to this 1988 Public Enemy classic became one of the most recognizable audio clips of the founder of the New Black Panther Party.

2. Ice Cube‘s Death Certificate album

3. MC Ren‘s “Muhammad Speaks” from his Villain In Black LP

Another ex “N***a Wit Attitude” sees things Dr. Khalid’s way and lets him spit some science from a well known document called the “William Lynch Letter” on a track titled with the same name as the Nation of Islam newspaper founded by Minister Malcolm X.

4. Rage Against The Machine‘s “Freedom” from their 1994 self titled album


5. “1000 Deaths” from D’Angelo‘s Black Messiah album

The neo-soul prince resurrects Mr. Muhammad on this abstract track from his latest release, as he speaks candidly about the actual physical appearance and the apparent fallacies of religious doctrine.

Hip Hop Love Story: How Newcleus’ Lady-E & Cozmo D Became Husband & Wife



It was the summer of 1979. Lady-E had just moved into the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, unknowingly two blocks away from Cozmo D’s grandmother’s house. They were blissfully unaware of what fate had in store for them. Not only did the two end up forming the Hip Hop group Newcleus with Nique D and The Late Chilly B  but they also kicked off what is now a 39-year love affair.

“Some of the girls on my block were MCs for Jam-On Productions,” Lady-E explains to HipHopDX. “That’s the DJ crew Cozmo started with his cousins – one of who was Nique D. They invited me to Coz’s 20th birthday party. We met and he asked me to dance. I felt like a kid but I was trying to act like I was down, you know.

Lady-E (1)
“I had my curly Afro working and pretending to smoke a Newport cigarette – even though I had never smoked a cig in my life, so there was lots of coughing involved,” she continues. “A week later, he invited me to a house party where he was spinning. The combination of that one party, and our talks and walks throughout that night, made us realize I had to let my boyfriend go and he had to let his girlfriend go. We were kids but knew that we’d stumbled onto something undeniable that we wanted and needed.”

In 1980, during her senior year at Manhattan’s Fashion Industry, Lady-E was getting off the C-Train at the Chauncy Street station in Brooklyn. She quickly realized Cozmo, who was a prolific graffiti writer at the time, had made the same trip earlier that day.

“I came up the train station stairs and saw this big tag on the station wall that said, ‘Eyvette, will you marry me, Love Cozmo,’” she recalls. “I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared at that wall – almost like I didn’t recognize my name [laughs].

“People were walking by and saying, ‘Wow, I hope she sees this,’” she continues. “What was even more amazing was that, back then, the station cleaners were strict and tried to keep the walls graffiti-free. But this time, they left that tag up to fade away. They didn’t clean that wall so I saw it every day for months. It’s probably one of the most romantic things that I’d ever seen then or since.”

The two were married in 1981.

Wedding Photo (1)
Although they’ve been together for 39 years, Cozmo admits he isn’t exactly the most romantic man on the planet.

I wish I could say that I was more romantic,” Cozmo tells DX. “I try to be but I am just not much of a romantic person. So I do my best to remember the basics like Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. But what we do have in abundance is devotion. We are devoted to each other and we are best friends, so we do almost everything together. We share so many interests and likes, and we cherish each other’s company. I won’t say this takes the place of romance, but I think that it helps.”

Lady-E adds, “I just know that we feel ‘off’ when we are not together — a big reason why we don’t spend nights away from each other.”

Minus the grand gestures of love, Lady-E knows what it takes to make a marriage last all these years.

“It’s probably more about being a friend to each other, trusting each other, being honest with each other, not always agreeing with each other but never cursing and disrespecting one another,” she says. “It’s about trying to be each other’s biggest supporter, especially when others try to tell you how to handle your relationship bumps in the road.”

Newcleus, whose iconic “Jam On It” single helped catapult the group to notoriety in the ’80s, fused electro and Hip Hop into its own unique concoctions. “Jam On It” has been sampled by numerous Hip Hop artists, including Mos Def, The Game, Slum Village, Jaylib and Will Smith(just to name a few). It’s also been featured in video games like DJ Hero 2 and Dance Dance Revolution in addition to being highly regarded as one of the best break dancing songs in Hip Hop history.

History of Valentines Day

By The Associated Press


Where did this holiday originate?  Why is it that it is celebrated during Black History month?  What does black history have to do with Valentine’s Day?  Who was St. Valentine?  Why is it celebrated on February 14 and not any other day of the month?  Do you think that Valentine’s Day disrupts the flow of Black History?  Just to let you know, Black History month was chosen after Valentine’s Day.  Let’s find out what the word February means, according to The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology on pg. 274.  February is borrowed from Latin Februarius and it means month of purification, in reference to the Roman feast of purification held in February (the last month of the ancient Roman calendar, and after 450 B.C. becoming the second month of the year.

    Valentine’s Day fell on the eve of the pagan holiday of the Sabines.  The feast of purification held on February 15th.  Julius Caesar (A Roman Statesman) ordered that the year should begin with January and February the last month of the year.  February was a month of purification for the New Year during the Roman calendar. The Sabines are an ancient people of Central Italy, who lived in the Sabine hills, northwest of Rome and were known for their religious practices and beliefs.  The month of February was added to the Roman calendar during the early history of the empire.

pic.1   During this month the Romans celebrated their blood festival which consisted of a mass massacre of men within the fame coliseum.  The Romans held all of their arena fights in February and looked on while men were being savagely torn apart by wild animals.  The Roman Catholic Church is based in Italy and to this very day coliseum are called arenas, rings, fields, domes, stadiums and the likes.  This is where young men are put to the challenge against each other in teams, for the pleasure of the onlookers. As you can see  these sports eventually turned into arenas of bloodshed, Football, Basketball, Boxing, Hockey and the likes.  The Roman coliseum is shaped like the present day football stadium.


   St. Valentine is the name of a Roman Christian Martyr who was killed during the reign of Claudius 11 Gothicus.   St. Valentine’s Day  secretly married young couples thus, breaking the law of the land set by Claudius II.  Claudius II Gothicus was a Roman Emperor (whose original name was Marcus Aurelius  Claudius (268 – 270A.D.).  His major achievement was the decisive defeat of the Gothic Invaders, which is where he received the name Gothicus.  He strongly opposed marriages because he believed that single men were better for war just like Hitler. Claudius II was a homosexual and suffer from a sexual diseased body filled with sores due to his abnormal sexual tendencies.

pic4   St. Valentine believed an angel inspired him to marry the couples.  After ClaudiusIIfound out about the marriages, there was a massive search for all those who participated.  Once the grooms were found, they were castrated and their hearts were cut out and sent to their brides in a box.  Remember, when blood dries it turns brown which is similar to the box of chocolate hearts we send today.  St. Valentine was beheaded on February 14th during the last years of Claudius II reign.  Since he was a member of the church, it was decided that February 14th should be dedicated to the so-called Christian Martyr.

Chocolate is symbolic of the coagulated blood which spilled when the young grooms hearts were cut out. So as you can see St. Valentine’s Day is not all it’s cracked up to be.


Speech Says Instagram Post Was Not Targeting JAY-Z, Diddy & T.I.



Arrested Development MC Speech caused a social media uproar last week following what many deemed a controversial Instagram post.

The veteran Hip Hop figure posted a photo of JAY-Z  Sean “Diddy” Combs and T.I. (among others) with a lengthy caption reminding people that many Hip Hop artists became successful for “perpetuating the worst Black stereotypes.”

After actress Raven Symone shared Speech’s post she quickly became the target of the internet’s wrath. Symone’s repost yielded a response from T.I. who told her, “ur sins ain’t no greater than yours ma’am. The air must be thin as hell up there on that high horse you sittin on.”

Although she deleted the post, The View co-host assured people she still stands behind Speech’s words.

Speech, who rose to notoriety in the ’90s as the de facto leader of Arrested Development is also holding firm. In a comment to HipHopDX, he said his statements are “needed.”

“Hip Hop is at its most crucial and important moment,” he tells DX. “It’s bigger than ever, and the artists can make money in more multiple ways now! It’s super important that we don’t leave half the fans behind by making it primarily about drug selling, degradation of women and violence! We NEED BALANCE and exposure of the White Supremacist agenda unknowingly played out by our favorite artists.”

On Sunday (February 4), Speech shared another video to his Facebook page further explaining his position.

“Salute to all the people out there that understood the simplicity of what I was saying, which is simply that a lot of Hip Hop artists, not just he ones in that picture, but a lot of Hip Hop artists have been congratulated by a white supremacist system of thinking that congratulates people and promotes and puts music out there that pretty much solely talks about our destruction.”

Since the beginning of Arrested Development’s career, the outspoken group has made a point of being a Pro-Black alternative to gangsta rap. Songs like “Mr. Wendal” and “Tennessee” spoke to Speech’s experiences visiting family in an impoverished area of the south. In 1993, the group earned two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, Best R&B Performance and and Best Rap Performance for Duo or Group.

Speech vows to continue broaching the topic despite any of, what he calls, “haters.”

As he said on Instagram last week, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Onyx Reacts To Producer Chyskillz’s Death

By Kyle Eustice


Producer Chyskillz, the mastermind behind the classic Onyx singles “Slam” and “Throw Ya Gunz,” passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday (February 13).

In a joint statement to HipHopDX, Onyx MCs Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz said, “Rest in Paradise to our brother Chylow ‘Chyskillz’ Parker. Our condolences go out to his family and close friends. We will always acknowledge your contribution to the Onyx legacy. Your music will always inspire. Love our brother!”

Although Chyskillz is widely known for his contributions to Onyx’s platinum-selling debut, 1993’s Bacdafucup, he also produced for other Hip Hop legends like Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Public Enemy.

Several members of the Hip Hop community — including former Onyx member Sonny Seeza, DJ Premier, DJ Eclipse, De La Soul’s Maseo and Jedi Mind Tricks’ Vinnie Paz — paid their respects on social media.

Hip Hop Mourns Lovebug Starski’s Death, Passes @ 57



Hip Hop pioneer Lovebug Starski suddenly passed away at his home in Las Vegas on Thursday (February 8), according to multiple social media posts. He was 57.

The Bronx native was born in 1960 and was one of Hip Hop’s earliest MCs. He’s also one of two people who’s credited for coining the phrase “Hip Hop.” In 1978, he became a DJ at the Disco Fever Club and released several singles as Little Starsky, including 1979’s “Gangster Rock” and 1981’s “Dancin’ Party People.”

Although he never quite got the recognition he deserved, his name is often mentioned in the same breath as fellow Hip Hop pioneers Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.

Chuck D, who told HipHopDX Starski died from a heart attack, was a longtime friend of the Public Enemy mastermind.

“Lovebug Starski was A DJ, MC and innovator,” Chuck told DX. “A pioneer who excelled before and after the recording line of ’79, the year when rap records began. He was the first double trouble threat in Hip Hop and rap music. He DJ’ed for the great MCs and MC’ed with the great DJs. Besides Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lovebug Starski was one of the few that took his legendary street records status into the recording world.”

Dennis Edwards, Former Temptations Lead Singer, Die @ 74



Dennis Edwards, who became a lead singer of the Motown hitmakers the Temptations in 1968 as they embraced psychedelic funk and won Grammy Awards for the songs “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Cloud Nine,” died on Thursday in Chicago. He was 74.

His death, in a hospital, was confirmed on Friday by Rosiland Triche Roberts, one of his booking agents. She did not specify the cause.

Mr. Edwards’s resonant, powerful voice, burnished from years singing gospel, was perfect for the driving soul music of the 1970s.

“Marvin Gaye was a friend of mine, and he used to say, ‘Man, I wish I could sing like you, if I could have that growl in my voice,’ ” Mr. Edwards told The Tallahassee Democrat in 2013. “And I said, ‘Man, are you kidding me? I want to sing like you. Everybody wants to sing like you.’ ”

Before joining the Temptations, Mr. Edwards sang with another Motown group, the Contours, best known for their 1962 hit “Do You Love Me” (recorded before he joined them). The Contours opened for the Temptations in the late 1960s, and when the Temptations’ lead singer David Ruffin left the group in 1968, he was asked to take over.

Mr. Ruffin told him personally that he was going to get the job, showing up at his house very early in the morning, Mr. Edwards said. “I thought he was kidding,” he said.

But at his first show with the Temptations, and some later ones, he recalled, Mr. Ruffin showed up, leapt onstage and took the microphone from him to sing some of his older hits. In time he left Mr. Edwards alone. Mr. Edwards joined the Temptations just as the group, under the direction of the producer and songwriter Norman Whitfield, was developing a grittier sound, one largely influenced by the psychedelic soul of Sly & the Family Stone and very different from their earlier songs, like “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

The other members of the group — Eddie Kendricks, Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and Paul Williams — also sang lead, notably Mr. Kendricks. But Mr. Edwards was an essential part of the group’s new sound on songs like “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” and “Shakey Ground.”

Shortly after Mr. Edwards joined the group, the Temptations won their first Grammy, for the propulsive, upbeat “Cloud Nine” (1968); they won another for the funk anthem “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (1971). That song, like two other Temptations hits from that period — “I Can’t Get Next to You” and “Just My Imagination” (on which Mr. Kendricks sang lead) — reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

The group received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2013.

Mr. Edwards left the Temptations in 1977 to pursue a solo career but rejoined them some years later. In 1989, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, along with the five members from the Temptations’ mid-1960s heyday.

Dennis Edwards was born to a preacher in Fairfield, Ala., on Feb. 3, 1943, and grew up in Detroit. As a teenager he sang in a gospel group and studied music at the Detroit Conservatory of Music before signing with Motown in the late 1960s.

After parting ways with the Temptations, Mr. Edwards remained with Motown as a solo artist. In 1984 he had an R&B hit with “Don’t Look Any Further,” a duet with Siedah Garrett, which was later sampled for records featuring rappers like Rakim and Tupac Shakur.

In the 1990s, he toured with a group billed as Dennis Edwards and the Temptations, which led to a legal battle with Otis Williams about the use of the Temptations name. He settled by touring as the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards.

Mr. Edwards’s marriage to Ruth Pointer, one of the Pointer Sisters, ended in divorce. His survivors include his wife, Brenda, with whom he lived in St. Louis; five daughters, Issa Pointer, Maya Peacock, Denise Edwards, Alison Turner and Erika Thomas; a son, Bernard Hubbard; and grandchildren.

Best Buy Has Informed Music Companies It Will Stop Selling CDs In July



The end of the CD format might be in sight as two major retailers are set to push for change in their relationship with the industry through the end of the year. According to Consequence of Sound, “89 million CDs were purchased in all of 2017” and paled in comparison to 800 million in 2001. The drop in popularity for the format has already caused a shift in how each store carries inventory, with Target only handling a limited selection compared to nearly 800 titles at its height according to Billboard. Best Buy, on the other hand, will get rid of CDs altogether by July 2018:

At one point, Best Buy was the most power music merchandiser in the U.S., but nowadays its a shadow of its former self, with a reduced and shoddy offering of CDs. Sources suggest that the company’s CD business is nowadays only generating about $40 million annually. While it says it’s planning to pull out CDs, Best Buy will continue to carry vinyl for the next two years, keeping a commitment it made to vendors. The vinyl will now be merchandised with the turntables, sources suggest.

Target isn’t getting rid of music on their end. Instead, they are pushing to change the payment structure for both CDs and DVDs from the movie distributors. The store has told the music companies that they want to switch to a consignment basis according to Billboard:

Currently, Target takes the inventory risk by agreeing to pay for any goods it is shipped within 60 days, and must pay to ship back unsold CDs for credit. With consignment, the inventory risk shifts back to the labels…

According to those sources, Target gave the ultimatum to both music and video suppliers in the fourth quarter of last year that it wants to switch to scanned-based trading, with a target date of Feb. 1. But while it is proceeding to push DVD vendors to switch to scan-based trading terms (i.e. the chain would pay for DVDs after they are sold or scanned while being rung up at the register), it has moved the deadline back to music suppliers to either April 1 or May 1. So far, music manufacturers are not sure what they are going to do, but sources within the various camps say that at least one major is leaning no, while the other two majors are undecided.

Billboard adds that any push back on these new deals and sale terms could “hasten” the demise of CDs. They also note that music companies are keeping a watchful eye on what happens with DVD sales before making any final decisions.

What is the last CD you purchased? And is vinyl a suitable physical format to ride into the future as an alternative to digital music?