News Blurbs Archive
Diddy and Jay-Z

Diddy on the Jay-Z Super Combo: “I Didn’t Have Anyone to Give Em’ To”

Jay-Z’s American Gangster is his second post-retirement album, it also marks Diddy’s return to the production booth. Through osmosis with The Hitmen, Diddy contributed six songs to the album; The Hitmen were a big part of Bad Boy’s sound during its heyday.

Jay-Z and Diddy told EW how that super combo came together.

Diddy: When I heard he may make another album, I was like, ‘‘You need to let me executive-produce that album! Even Ali had a coach. Jordan had a coach. That’s what I do best!

Jay-Z: Puff gave me a call [in early September]. He’s always talking about ‘‘Let me executive-produce an album.’’ And I was always like, ‘‘Man, I’m a boss in my own right. What are you talking about?”

Diddy: We have competed with each other over the years. But I was like, ‘‘I still want to be involved in the project.’’ He told me he had the concept of blaxploitation with a contemporary sound. I said, ‘‘I got a bunch of those [beats].”

Jay-Z: He’s like, ‘‘You gotta come by, man — I’ve never asked you to come by the studio ever.’’ That night, I went over, and he had all these lush arrangements. I’m like, ‘‘What are you doing with all these?’ He’s like, ‘‘I don’t have anyone to give ‘em to.’’ And that was the foundation for the sound [of the album]. I was surprised from the source — you forget that, with all the things he does, he’s a producer at heart.

Diddy: After working with Biggie, Mary J. Blige, and Faith Evans, there wasn’t a lot of artists who inspired me to put time in and really grind out in the studio. [But Jay and I] were just two artists in there, and the vibes just fit. He must have finished four songs in a weekend’s time.

What stuck with me was Diddy’s line about not having anyone to give his beats to.

He’s down South messing with Yung Joc and Gorilla Zoe, for sure they aren’t gonna be using any Hitmen beats. Are there really no rappers in New York? How about the original Band? Haven’t heard from Babs or that Philly kid, Ness.. since the season finale.

I find it hard to believe they - especially Babs - can’t come up with something.

Babs Bunny and Ta-Nia

Early freestyle anyone?

Nicky Barnes and Frank Lucas - New York magazine

Frank Lucas and Nicky Barnes Speak: Proud to See Diddy Making Dollars

On the eve of American Gangster’s opening weekend, New York magazine was able to get Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington) and his rival, Nicky Barnes (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) together for the first conversation between the two in 30 years, “Lords of Dopetown.”

Like most dealers who’ve left the life, especially when it’s involuntary, both Lucas and Barnes said they shouldn’t be glorified for what they did.

Nicky Barnes: No one should be elevated because of what they did in the drug business. The way we operated - there was a lot of violence, like, ten to twelve homicides, to keep the whole operation running. You can’t glorify that. It’s not something Frank or I would tell any of our children to get into.

Heroin wreaked a lot of havoc and a lot of pain in the black community. I shouldn’t have done it. Maybe I was aware, but I just didn’t give a fuck. I wanted to make money, and that’s what I did. Looking back, I wouldn’t have made those decisions, but it’s a hell of a lot different and much easier to sanitize yourself after the fact.

Frank Lucas: I have remorse. I never sold nothing to a kid in the street, but I found out that my people had. I didn’t want to sell to kids. I didn’t want to make them junkies. I didn’t want to be a part of it.

I justify it by saying during my time, I couldn’t get a job on Wall Street, not even washing toilets. I went to school three days and the teacher wasn’t there two of them. I had to make a living. I didn’t want to be just a damn bum in the street. So that’s what I did.

Later they talked about hip-hop, Frank Lucas isn’t a fan, but he’s knows of Diddy.

Nicky Barnes: I never thought anything like this would happen. When hip-hop first started, everybody - I mean the music entrepreneurs - predicted that hip-hop would be dead in five years. They said, “Those motherfuckers ain’t gonna make no money.” But hip-hop rolled along, and look what they’re doing now. They got Jay-Z, Damon Dash, Kanye West, 50 Cent. These guys are doing something legitimate.

Frank Lucas: At least Nick knows the names. I don’t know none of them. I know Puffy Combs, because of his father.

Nicky Barnes: Oh, Melvin! Melvin Combs.

Frank Lucas: Melvin used to be at my house a couple of times a week. I’m proud to see Melvin’s son like that.

Puffy did say his father was in the streets. Even though he was killed early in his life, he said that’s where he got his hustler spirit from.

The best thing Puffy ever did was take that energy to hip-hop and the million other ventures he’s into.

Any cog in the music industry machine knows someone who got into hip-hop to be a manager, producer, promoter, rapper, or label owner. When the drug business got hectic or just dried up, a lot of them saw hip-hop as the place where the new ‘easy’ money was.

Azie talked about it, here you have Nicky Barnes and Frank Lucas lookin on. The cash, and the social life and material things it afforded, is what they really miss. There is no doubt they would love to be in Jay-Z, Diddy or even 50 Cent’s shoes.

Just keep the gun orders down to something like BB’s or Super Duper Soakers and they wouldn’t have to worry about Feds and snitches turning the lights on at the party.

Keyshia Cole Vibe cover - Dec 07

The New Keyshia Cole Goes Shirtless on Vibe Magazine

As you can see Keyshia Cole is on the cover of the new Vibe magazine.

There was some early speculation that it was a fake cover, but this picture is from Vibe’s site. Even without that official confirmation, there is always the top of her breasts, a little cleavage seen in a rare moment (and remembered) from her last video, and the tattoos are in place. Without a doubt she’s looking fantastic. With her hair up like that and the Sophora job, she almost has an Eva thing going for her.

Keyshia Cole Vibe cover - Dec 07

As great as Keyshia looks, the question must be asked, did she feel the need to do a near topless shot to sell records?

I’ve heard the Janet Jackson comparisons, Toni Braxton also comes to mind, but other than being half-naked there are none. Keyshia Cole is nothing like either of them. Her nearest stylistic twin is Mary J. Blige; how many times have we heard that?

Now ask yourself this, has Mary J. Blige ever shown more than her thighs? And that would be because she was wearing shorts at the time. Mary would never do a cover like this. So let’s close that chapter: Keyshia Cole is not the new Mary J. Blige.

Keyshia Cole is the new Keyshia Cole.

In her last Vibe interview..

Keyshia Cole Vibe cover - Aug 06

She talked about, ah hell, I quote it..

“So many girls, when they come into the business, the first thing they want to do is use their sex appeal. I’m just not ready to throw it all out there. Like, “Here it is; take me I’m yours!” My mama [foster mother] didn’t raise me that way. .. When my breasts first got big, I just wore a tank top under everything’ cause they’d be like - boom! - right there. That line down the middle..

I like sexy, nothing wrong with it, but on my own terms. I just take into consideration that young girls look up to me.” So at that time wearing a blouse showing how big her breasts are was a big deal. Now she’s not wearing a blouse at all. Did I say it already? This is the new Keyshia Cole.
Will Smith - Positive Thinking

Will Smith on Positive Thinking and Why He’s Always So Happy

For those of you that won’t make it to church this morning (or never go.. like myself) how about a spiritual spark courtesy of Will Smith. I was doing some searching for Norman Vincent Peale videos and a video from Will Smith’s promotional tour for The Pursuit of Happyness came up.

He was asked by the host about the power of positive thinking and Will went into a passionate five minute breakdown of his Secret. He mentioned another Q&A session in Europe where someone asked him why he was preoccupied with happy endings.

He said the question through him off for a second, because there was a tone in this person’s voice that they had real disbelief in thinking of the impossible becoming possible. He defined the impossible as the people who first thought of planes, space flights, and electricity, being the only ones who believed it could happen, before we were actually flying across oceans and lighting rooms with a flip of a switch.

He lives in the realm of thinking of happy endings first, to make them come true in his life later

He also put it in terms of racial discrimination..

“People ask me about racism in Hollywood. Why would I acknowledge racism? When you acknowledge the obstacle you actually give it power. I want to walk through it. I want to walk over it. I want to walk around it. So my preoccupation.. is with the power that we all possess individually.”


Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe cover of  Entertainment Weekly

The Spit on the Lip Story: Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe Talk American Gangster

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are on the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly magazine. They sat down for a 2-1 interview, taking the magazine’s questions and bouncing stories and thoughts off of each other. It was a good interview, but the stuff I enjoyed had very little to do with the movie itself.

Stuff like..

Playing Superheros

DENZEL WASHINGTON: I’ll play a superhero. If there were a good one to play, I’m not against playing a superhero. First of all, I haven’t been offered…[To Crowe] Have you been offered any superheroes?

RUSSELL CROWE: [Smiling] A couple.

WASHINGTON: Ha! ‘‘A couple.’’ See, I haven’t gotten that. I can’t be Superman.

CROWE: But let’s go through this: What do you get with a superhero role? You get a spandex costume and every now and then a cape.

WASHINGTON: It’s not a good look.

CROWE: [Shrugs] We’re not in the cape club. What can you do?

Training Day 2 ?! Uh, No Thanks

DENZEL WASHINGTON: The way Training Day was originally written, you heard about it on the news. And I told Antoine [Fuqua], ‘‘No, he’s got to get blasted. In order to justify him living in the worst way, Alonzo has to die in the worst way.’’ The studio was like, ‘‘Oh, maybe he survives - ‘’ I’m like, ‘‘Get out of here! Don’t start Training Day 2. We’ve got to kill that guy.’‘


DENZEL WASHINGTON: Scarface gets more credit than it’s worth. Scarface didn’t change people. People were already living that. Scarface was just a good movie.

Beating Martin Scorcese at His Own Game

RUSSELL CROWE: I reckon Martin Scorsese is sitting somewhere in an office in New York and he sees ‘‘American Gangster’’ and he’s like, ‘‘F—-! And I went with Casino?’’ [Laughs]

The Spit on the Lip Story (This is disgusting)

RUSSELL CROWE: We met on one of those big-ass stages at Paramount. We had to do a scene where there’s a piece of cyclone wire fencing between us. I had to be really rabid and weird, and on the first take, I’m working myself up and a bit of spit comes out of my mouth -

DENZEL WASHINGTON: [Laughing] Oh, right, I remember that!

CROWE: - and it weaves itself neatly through the fencing and lands right on Denzel’s lip. A glob of white f—-ing spit just sitting right there. And I’m going, Oh man, that’s f—-ed. I’m doing my audition, and I spit on Denzel Washington. I might as well just go home and hang myself right now. And the thing is, he just kept on doing the scene, and at the end, they said ‘‘Cut,’’ and he’s looking at me and the spit’s still sitting there and he goes [wiping his mouth slowly], ‘‘I love the taste of warm saliva in the morning.’‘

You know how many blooper reels there are laying around TV and movie sets? Warm saliva projected from your co-star is a definite reason for a pause in the action. I guess you don’t interrupt a passionate moment. Hah.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole interview at EW.com