Rep Denies Nick Cannon Is Suing Viacom for a Billion Dollars

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
Nick Cannon

A report released earlier this week alleged Cannon was suing Viacom.

Representatives for Nick Cannon have refuted the claim that he is preparing to hit ViacomCBS with a $1.5 billion dollar lawsuit.  

A previous report released earlier this week declared Cannon had plans to sue the network after the network dismissed him from his show Wild ‘N Out. On Wednesday evening, Nikki Liberatore, a representative for Cannon contacted the Daily News and refuted the report alleging he’d be suing. “These reports are inaccurate. Nick’s focus right now is on unifying communities and combatting bigotry, racism, and hate of all kinds, not seeking personal financial gain,” the statement read.

Cannon was fired after unleashing anti-Semitic remarks during his podcast Cannon’s Class with Professor Griff. After his dismissal, he demanded the rights to the franchise that he created 15 years ago and later issued an apology

On August 10, he appeared on a Jewish program and discussed the ongoing issues he’s experiencing. He joined Rabbi Noam Marans, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations for a Zoom call. During the call, per Billboard, he shared, “If my goal truly is to break down the walls and barriers amongst communities and bring us closer together, it truly is time to get rid of all of the things that divide us and utilize this moment. I’ll be that sacrificial lamb.”

Despite the public conversation surrounding Cannon’s firing from ViacomCBS, he is still the host and producer of Fox’s popular series The Masked Singer.

James “Kamala” Harris Was an Example of How Black Wrestlers Overcame Racist Gimmicks

James "Kamala" Harris

The late, great James Harris, who wrestled as “The Ugandan Giant” Kamala for almost 30 years, was a pioneering example of how Black athletes found success and career longevity in spite of portraying racists stereotypes that were forced upon them.

The story of Black professional wrestlers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries is a familiar one. Talented Black athletes had to overcome racial barriers and discriminatory practices. However, it can be argued that pro wrestling was — and still is, to an extent — rife with more egregious cases of racial exploitation and discrimination through stereotypical gimmicks, unequal pay and advancement opportunities, and, in some instances, sexual exploitation. The late, great James Harris, who wrestled as “The Ugandan Giant” Kamala for almost 30 years was a pioneering example of how Black athletes found success and career longevity in spite of portraying racists stereotypes that were forced upon them.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced that Mississippi native James “Kamala” Harris, the Mississippi native died this past Sunday, August 9 after suffering from a cardiac arrest from complications caused by COVID-19. Harris, who was 70, also suffered from a long battle with diabetes and high blood pressure since 1992 and had his left leg amputated in 2011. He is survived by his wife Melissa Guzman.

Harris’s story is similar to a lot of Black wrestlers of his era such as Thunderbolt Patterson, the first Black World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons, and the late Sylvester Ritter, aka The Junkyard Dog. Harris came to age in a poor and working-class environment in Mississippi and became a pro wrestler in order to earn a significantly substantial living that was not immediately available for Black people in the ’60s and the ’70s. While some wrestlers were the typical bruising tough guys and charismatic slick talkers akin to their white counterparts, others were given gimmicks based on racial stereotypes. 

While these types of gimmicks weren’t exclusive to Black wrestlers — pro wrestling is generally built around parodies and stereotypes of real-world figures — Black wrestlers often had the most overt gimmicks that played into the fears and biases of white fans. Enter Harris’s “Kamala” character, a Ugandan headhunter created by wrestling pioneer Jerry “The King” Lawler, The Great Mephisto, and Jeff Jarrett, inspired by racist stereotypes of African tribes from a Frank Fazella painting. While Black wrestlers who portrayed these types of gimmicks often didn’t have a choice, as these types of characters were proven to be the most lucrative, they did, as the old saying in wrestling goes, “turn chicken shit into chicken salad.”

Behind such a foul gimmick that was not viewed as critically as it is today, was one of the talented Black wrestlers of his day. Harris was fearsome at 6’7, 380 pounds, but he was more agile and athletic than many of his white counterparts. He worked with the late Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan at the height of their careers. And despite him not being able to speak, he exuded charisma and a persona that scared children and adults alike and he became a top billing, main event player. However, because Black wrestlers, even in WWE, weren’t always considered as “championship material”, he was never able to maximize his career to become the true superstar he never had the chance to become as he would never. And after a fateful meeting with WWE, then WWF, CEO Vince McMahon over his low pay in 1984, he would leave the company and perform independently across the world, including on-and-off stints with WWE.

“I wish things had worked out better for me. I believe the reason why I got done is because I’m a poor boy from down south Mississippi,” Harris said in a 2015 Bleacher Report mini-doc. “If I had been a better talker, knew how to negotiate, that probably would have helped me.”

Harris would never earn any championship belts from the promotion. To this day, despite being such a lucrative and memorable character, he has still not been inducted to neither the WWE Hall of Fame nor the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. And it should serve as a black eye among many others to the industry because, as terribly offensive as the Kamala character was, his success paved the way for many other successful wrestlers of color such as the late Edward “Umaga” Fatu, Martin “The Boogeyman” Wright, and many other legendary giants of color like Mark Henry, Rikishi, Viscera, Charles “The Godfather” Wright, The Great Khali, and many others.

Harris portraying as a racially insensitive stereotype of Africans is not a mark against a talented athlete who made the best out of what he was given, but rather an indictment of a complicated institution that profited from the fears and bigotry of the most racist of Americans. It was true with characters like The Junkyard Dog and the infamous New Jack and while significantly more nuanced, it is still true with the first iteration of WWE’s longest-running and successful stable, The New Day.

The life and career of James “Kamala” Harris deserves to be remembered as a testament of how Black wrestlers and wrestlers of color had to overcome the most racist of gimmicks. Even though he was designed to fail, he still became some of the most well known professional wrestlers of his time. And despite years of suffering from health issues and the shameful treatment from the wrestling business, Harris never wanted pity.

“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because I’m still Kamala and I’ll always be Kamala.”

__

Mark P. Braboy is the sentient form of your weirdest flex who just so happens to be a music journalist and photographer based on the South Side of Chicago. He’s been published in 10 of your favorite outlets, interviewed music legends and rookies alike, and is a proud alum of Jackson State University. Also stans for cannabis equity for black and brown people and weed songs you’re sleeping on. Follow him @Shootyourmark

The Notorious B.I.G.’s Son Releases House Remix Of “Big Poppa”

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
The Notorious B.I.G.'s Son Releases House Remix Of "Big Poppa"

Christopher Jordan “CJ” Wallace created the “Big Poppa” remix alongside Jonathan Hay, Sarah Rush, and Willie Mack.

The Biggie classic “Big Poppa” has been turned in a house track by the late rapper’s son.

Christopher Jordan “CJ” Wallace has released a house remix of his father’s classic hit song. Produced alongside Jonathan Hay, Sarah Rush, and Willie Mack, the remix reconfigures the Notorious B.I.G.’s vocals and other notable parts of the original, resulting in a dance-friendly take on the song. The track serves as the single to a forthcoming album Wallace is executive producing called Ready to Dance.

“Our reimagination of ‘Big Poppa’ is laced with style and grace. With the original spirit of The Notorious B.I.G. spun into a new house classic,” Hay said in a statement to perezhilton.com. “Dedicated to all the honeys getting money and the ravers dancing to the sounds from house gods like Martinez Brothers and Carl Cox, our aim was to create music that makes you wanna move and honor BIG’s legacy.”

Mack also spoke on the album, saying:

This project is really special to me because I’m able to fuse the two genres I grew up with. Hip-hop with BIG as one of my top 5 and house music where I first heard Frank Knuckles. This built the foundation for my love of music as I partied in the underground Black and gay clubs in New York, Detroit, Chicago, London, and Paris. Frank White allows us to share these stories with the world – a celebration of Black and Gay culture for me.

The album is being released in tandem with a new lifestyle brand named Frank White — a Biggie alias the rapper got from the film King of New York — that Wallace co-created.

Three R. Kelly Associates Arrested for Threatening and Bribing Accusers

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…

This isn’t the first time R. Kelly and his associates have been accused of intimidation.

For the last year, R. Kelly has sat in prison awaiting trial for federal sexual abuse charges. On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn announced the arrest of three of his associates. Donnell Russell, Michael Williams, and Richard Arline, Jr. were each charged in separate instances of threatening or bribing accusers of the singer.

Last year, federal prosecutors in Chicago charged Kelly with a conspiracy to intimidate witnesses and conceal evidence before his trial. According to a person familiar with the R.Kelly investigation, one of the accusers was offered money for her silence. No money was ultimately exchanged. Another woman, who filed a suit against Kelly in 2018, was threatened with the release of explicit photographs she previously sent to him. On June 11, one potential witness in Kelly’s trial woke up and found her vehicle had been set on fire.

Russell and Arline are both friends of R.Kelly, while Williams is the relative of one of Kelly’s former publicists. Kelly faces nine counts, including racketeering. The indictment accuses him of leading an operation illegally exploiting, kidnapping, blackmailing, and extorting women and girls for decades.

Prosecutors have asked the judge to provide special protections for jurors in the upcoming trial. Their names and addresses will be kept anonymous.

Jury selection for the New York trial is set to begin on September 29. The date could be postponed if the COVID-19 pandemic prevents in person trials from resuming in federal courthouses.

Rohan Marley Apologizes to Daughter Selah After She Speaks on Childhood Trauma

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…

Rohan Marley has broken his silence after he and Lauryn Hill’s daughter Selah live broadcast from Monday.

On Monday Selah Marley, the daughter of Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley, broadcasted for two hours on Instagram Live.

The 20-year-old addressed the childhood trauma she’s been dealing with over the years, stemming from arguments between her parents. After the “worst part” of the video surfaced on media outlets, Hill released a follow-up video explaining that the comments came from a “place of healing.” View the follow-up below.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @selah on

Two days later, Marley addressed his daughter’s comments in a statement.

“Selah’s expression on Instagram is a healing process for her,” he said. “I’m very happy that she is fearless in her expression. I love her very much and do apologize for any contributions I may have added by arguing in front of her as a child. I’ve grown as a man, a spiritual being and a father. I am constantly growing and will teach my children to always take the higher road in any disagreements. I will be there for her no matter how many hours, days, months or years it will take. I will be the best Dad that I can be. One Love.”

Selah explained that she didn’t intend for followers to send her parents hateful comments.

“I spoke on that subject for two hours,” she said. “It’s complex. It’s a very complex topic, and really what I was discussing was how a lack of unity in the household can create severe trauma that you’re not even aware of.”

A$AP Ferg’s Official “Move Ya Hips” Video Features a Vengeful Sex Bot

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
ASAP Ferg Move Ya Hips

The horror-themed visual is equipped with a sex robot who wreaks havoc after her owner drives her to.

A$AP Ferg, Nicki Minaj and MadeinTYO’s latest single “Move Ya Hips” has finally received a visual. The trio dropped the track a few weeks back after Ferg teased it on Twitter. In the cinematic thriller, a sex bot flips on the man who purchased her.

A$AP Rocky and Nicki alluded to the track’s upcoming release a few days before the single hit streaming platforms on Twitter. Her tweet read, “Flacko, I heard it was coming Thursday but I could be wrong.”

Originally, the single dropped alongside an infomercial-themed visualizer. The video was clearly inspired by the ‘80s as it features women wearing neon bodysuits, headbands and high-rise socks. 

Ferg’s aggressive first verse is an ideal start for the energetic track. Elsewhere, Nicki who has previously toyed with retiring was the highlight of the entire single. Over the mellow beat, she commands attention and raps about Juice, her designer favorites, her coveted hairstyles, and even manages to namedrop Queens. 

Here’s a highlight from Nicki’s verse:

 “Saint Laurent all on my shades, then I pull up in a cherry Mercedes, yay/Strawberry shortcake hair, Chinese bangs with my two braids, ayy.”

Nicki and Ferg’s first collab was on the Harlem rapper’s 2017 single “Plain Jane Remix” which went on to become certified four times platinum. He hasn’t released any new music since he appeared on Big Sean’s “Bezerk” last September. We’re sure you didn’t miss Nicki and Tekashi 6ix9ine’s single “Trollz” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

According to Rolling Stone, Ferg teased a sequel to his last EP Floor Seats might be on the horizon. 

Watch “Move Ya Hips” featuring Nicki Minaj and MadeinTYO below.

This article was originally published on July 30, it was updated on August 12.

Support For Kanye West Presidential Bid Is Really Low According To National Poll

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
Support For Kanye West Presidential Bid Is Really, Really Low According To National Poll

Kanye West was recently removed from the Illinois presidential ballot for invalid signatures.

Kanye West and his presidential bid isn’t fairing well. Not only has he been removed from presidential ballots recently, but a new poll shows that people aren’t really in support of the presidential hopeful either.

On Wednesday, Politico-Morning Consult released a national poll showing that West has only garnered two percent support. Per Politico:

West garnered 2 percent support overall among registered voters, 7 points behind the “no opinion” option. His support among African American voters is just as meager — 2 percent — and Biden’s 9-point national lead over Trump is unmoved with or without West on the ballot.

In a report on the poll, Politico spoke with political strategists about West’s run for president, and how it’s not fairing well among Black people and non-Black people of color.

“I think a lot of people of color view Kanye’s bid for the presidency as a quixotic one, and they don’t see him as being legitimate for the office. It’s more of yet another Kanye publicity stunt,” Ron Christie, a Black Republican strategist and former aide to Dick Cheney, said. ‘Democrats traditionally get 90-plus percent of the black vote. I think a lot of people are going to look at Kanye and just say, ‘I don’t think so.'”

Recently, West was removed from the Illinois presidential ballot because half of his signatures included with documents to be put on the ballot were ruled invalid by election officials. Last week, West selected an official vice president candidate, Michelle Tidball. The 57-year-old white woman and West began their political partnership when the two met in Cody, Wyoming. She works at a dentist’s office and calls herself an “online prophet” since she teaches an online Bible study.

The New York Times is reporting that last weekend, Kanye met with Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner and his wife, Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, in Colorado. In a tweet, Kanye revealed the three of them discussed Powernomics, a book about Black economic empowerment by Dr. Claude Anderson.

“I’m willing to do a live interview with the New York [Times] about my meeting with Jared,” he wrote, “where we discussed Dr Claude Anderson’s book Powernomics.”

 

According to the Times, Kanye didn’t elaborate much on the meeting. “Instead,” the report reads, “[West] expressed anger about abortion rates among Black women and said he didn’t reflexively support Democrats.”

2Pac Allegedly Planned to Leave Death Row to Sign With Quincy Jones’ Label Before His Death

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
2Pac

In an episode of Fat Joe’s Instagram series, Keyshia Cole shares a candid story that took place the night of 2Pac’s untimely fatal shooting.

Keyshia Cole reveals 2Pac had plans to leave Death Row Records to sign to Quincy Jones’ label prior to his untimely death in 1996.

On a new episode of Fat Joe’s ongoing Instagram Live series, Cole shared she initially was introduced to Death Row by MC Hammer. This was where she met 2Pac and Suge Knight, co-founder of the label. The weekend of Mike Tyson’s infamous Vegas fight the same night of 2Pac’s fatal shooting, his fiance, Kidada Jones, the singer, and her brother Outlawz rapper Nutt-so were also in town, said Cole. On the day he died 2Pac shared he’d be leaving Death Row for Quincy Jones’ label and that he wanted Cole to join him.

“I actually did know [2Pac],” she said. “He wanted to sign me to Quincy when he was with Kidada, Quincy’s daughter, and he was gonna leave Death Row and go to sign with Quincy. He wanted me to go over there because he said that Death Row was not the place for kids.” She was 15 at the time. 

Cole also added:

He died when I was 16. Right when my birthday was coming around, I just remember getting earrings in the mail from Death Row Records but Suge, of course, was already in jail.”

She also shared, “My mom literally came and got us from Suge’s house because everybody got shot that night. My brother and [Pac] used to rap together in The Outlawz.” According to Cole, the night on the night of the shooting: “We all drove to Vegas from L.A. Pac was in the car with Kidada. Suge was in they car. My brother was in they car. We was in our car. We were kids though. He just didn’t like that, you know what I mean? It was just, like, a lot of drama around that time.”

During the Instagram Live conversation Fat Joe asked Keyshia for her thoughts on if Drake was the “Michael Jackson of this time.” She responded by saying: “I mean, he has a lot of great records, and I think he switches up his sound so much that I think I understand, but I think at the same time, every artist is who they are in their own right. No, I don’t agree with you.”

Take a look at the episode below.

The Last Standing Blockbuster Store in America is on Airbnb for $4 Per Night

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…

Blockbuster is offering a 90s sleepover experience on Airbnb.

The United States’ last existing brick-and-mortar Blockbuster store has been up and running in Bend, Oregon for 20 years. In honor of the milestone, the store’s manager Sandi Harding wanted to celebrate. As a result, the store is now up for rent on Airbnb.

“This year being our 20th years a Blockbuster, we really wanted to celebrate that this year,” Harding said in an interview with CNN. “But with COVID, it’s kind of thrown a wrench into everyone’s plans.” On August 3, the store’s owner reached out to the community for help.

Guests will get to recreate a night’s worth of the full 1990s experience, with “era-appropriate television,” a VCR, and all the store’s VHS tapes to choose from. The offer is exclusively available for Deschutes County residents at a nightly rate of $4, as a gesture of gratitude.

“We are celebrating our community,” Harding continued, “and giving them a big giant ‘thank you’ for all of the support they’ve given us over the years.” The store is available for rent for September 18-20. “With everybody being stuck at home and re-experiencing family time together,” said Harding, “we thought it would be fun to enjoy some family time in a throwback ’90s environment…there will be some rules with social distancing. But for the most part they can just enjoy their evening, enjoy pizza and popcorn and just have a blast.”

The rental is open to a party of up to four people. Bookings will open on August 17.

Joe Biden Picks Kamala Harris For Vice President

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
Joe Biden Picks Kamala Harris For Vice President

Kamala Harris is the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party.

Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate.

In a report from the New York Times, Biden announced the selection over text message and in a follow-up email to supporters, saying: “Joe Biden here. Big news: I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”

Harris is the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party. She’s also only the fourth woman in history to be chosen for one of their presidential tickets.

Barack Obama also spoke on the announcement, taking to Twitter to share the following post.

Harris dropped out of the race late last year after running out of money in her own bid for president. Despite having clashed with the former VP over busing desegregation in one of the debates, in the week following the termination of her campaign, Biden alluded to considering Harris as a running mate, noting: “She is solid. She can be president someday herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice. She can be an attorney general. She has enormous capability.”

Harris endorsed Biden for president back in March.

“You can see in his eyes how he takes to heart the experiences of mothers and fathers working to make ends meet and worrying about whether their children can be safe in their classroom, or young people who fight tirelessly to tackle climate change as they ask for a fair shot at the future in front of them,” Harris said at the time. “And with a lifetime in public service, Joe has a proven track record of getting things done.”

Ruff Ryder Founders Explain Reasons For Jay Z and DMX Past Beef

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…

The founders of Ruff Ryders recently joined The Breakfast Club.

On Tuesday, Power 105’s The Breakfast Club dropped its latest episode. This time around, the founders of Ruff Ryders–Joaquin “Waah” Dean, Darin “Dee” Dean, and Chivon Dean–came together to discuss the label’s history, roster, and more. Stream the full interview below.

Nearly an hour into the interview, a lesser-known topic arose. While they’re currently on good terms, DMX and Jay-Z weren’t always so cordial with each other. Despite their previous working relationship, DMX wasn’t pleased with Jay’s actions while serving as president as Def Jam. According to the label’s founders, there was a simple explanation for the tension.

“Egos,” said Chivon Dean. Waah continued to explain that X wasn’t satisfied with how Jay was using his influence as Def Jam president. “Jay Z called X and told him “the inmates have took over the prison,” he said. “When your man Jay Z got in position X felt like he didn’t honor him and hold weight like he was supposed to.”

The group also discussed the infamous battle between the two MCs from 1993. According to Dee, the battle made their relationship a bit awkward once Jay took the helm as president.

“In [DMX]’s mind he was like, “I won’t, I’m better than you,” Dee said. “So when Hov wound up being president at Def Jam he felt like he had to answer to him and X didn’t like that. He felt some type of way about Hov dictating his future.”

DMX eventually left Def Jam, signing with Columbia Records in 2006.

‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Reboot To Be Executive Produced By Will Smith & Quincy Jones

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
Will Smith 'Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' Reboot

Will Smith, as well original series producer Quincy Jones, will be executive producing the reboot, which is based on the viral, fan-made trailer that was released last year.

A dramatized reboot of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air executive produced by Will Smith is in the works.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the reboot will be a “dramatic take on the former NBC comedy that catapulted Smith to stardom after he spent six seasons starring as the street-smart kid who moved from Philly to the upper-class neighborhood.” Morgan Cooper, the director of the fan-made Bel-Air trailer that the reboot is based off, will co-write the script, direct and be credited as a co-executive producer. Smith, as well original series producer Quincy Jones, will be executive producing the reboot.

The Hollywood Reporter also noted that the reboot has beein in the works for more than a year, and that it i sbeing shopped to streaming platforms including Peacock, Netflix, and HBO.

Shortly after releasing the trailer last year, Cooper spoke with Okayplayer about seeing it resonate so strongly with people across the internet.

“When we first made this thing I was really confident in the art. The internet’s the internet. You never if something’s gonna catch a spark or not,” Cooper said. “I’m very excited for everything that has happened and receive it humbly. But at the end of the day I’m a black creative and representing my culture and expressing myself authentically is of the utmost importance to me.”

Smith had spoken favorably of the trailer when it came out, saying: “Morgan did a ridiculous trailer for Bel-Air. Brilliant idea, the dramatic version of The Fresh Prince for the next generation.”

Curren$y Has Spent Quarantine Chilling, Binging ‘Daria’ & Occasionally Making Music

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…
Rapper Curren$y next to car

We spoke with Curren$y about his latest album, The Outrunners, his relationship with Harry Fraud, the shows he’s binging during quarantine, and more.

Decades after the oft-caricatured excess of the bling-bling era, modern rap has somewhat come down to Earth. For rappers like Curren$y (who coincidentally got his start near the end of that era), relatability is half the appeal. In the early aughts, Curren$y was one of the first “blog era” rappers to fully embrace platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where he made hilarious daily observations about movies and cartoons. He broadcasted with fans on Ustream years before Instagram Live and solidified his friendship with Wiz Khalifa through the platform. In the process, Curren$y’s managed to build a devoted social media following and avoid controversy. Even when showing off his extensive car collection of everything from vintage Chevrolets to Italian sports cars, it never really feels like you’re getting flexed on. For longtime followers, it feels like celebrating the accomplishments of a friend. 

What Kung-fu flicks and mafia movies are to disciples of the Wu-Tang Clan, ’80s era crime dramas, sports cars, and cartoons are to The Jets, the nickname for his devoted fanbase. Through a combination of mixtape theme, instrumental choices in the pre-streaming mixtape days, and a penchant for interpolating forgotten lyrics of yesteryear, Spitta leaves a trail of Easter eggs for devoted fans to decipher, even when they aren’t listening to his music. 

Last month, Curren$y released The OutRunners, his third collaborative project with producer Harry Fraud in the last eight years. (Curren$y’s discography with Fraud includes 2012’s Cigarette Boats and 2018’s The Marina.) The OutRunners is a fitting title. It sounds like Fraud created a soundtrack for successfully evading the police on a speedboat. Tracks like “Seven Seas,” which samples Italian film composer Piero Umiliani’s “Nostalgia” and the reflective ode to his son “Gold and Chrome” carry the bulk of the project. However, Curren$y shines brightest on the shimmering, trance-like “In the Coupe,” which features Jim Jones. Their sonic compatibility speaks for itself, but let them tell it, their productivity stems from the fact that Fraud is just one of the most assertive of his producer friends when it comes to putting projects together.

Okayplayer spoke with Curren$y about The Outrunners, his relationship with Harry Fraud, his leisurely methods of working, the shows he’s binging during quarantine, and more. 

On “Gold & Chrome” you said you recently lost a friend to COVID-19. My condolences. 

I had just seen him. He was helping another friend whose lowrider broke down on the side of the road. A couple weeks later we heard he’d fallen ill. We honestly just thought he’d beat it because he wasn’t old, you know? This was when [the pandemic] first hit, so everybody was like, “Oh no, it only matters if you’re old or you have [underlying conditions].” So now I started looking at it differently.

How has fatherhood changed up your recording and writing process? 

Sometimes I can’t go [to the studio]. I got the baby this month… I [flew] to Maryland to pick him up from his mom. One of my last tweets before I locked in on [promoting] the project was: I can’t pull up. For anybody. It don’t make sense to hit me up about anything, I can’t. I’m building [my son a] Corvette bed.

It seems like you have a homebody personality for the most part.

I was built to have a son and to quarantine. I already didn’t fuck with people. I already didn’t pass my joints. So now, it’s like, hanging out, smoking by myself. The homies don’t all wanna watch Curb Your Enthusiasm. Like if I get the remote I’m watching other shit. I don’t want to watch Menace [II Society] and Scarface back to back all day, my nigga. 

So now I’m quarantining by myself, I watched all five seasons of Daria. I’m just hanging out. Doing what the fuck I wanna do. It’s great. I build model cars and die-cast racing tracks. I’m just living my life. This is awesome. 

So besides Curb and Daria, what shows have you been watching?

I had never seen The Wire. Quarantine allowed me to get into that. I just started The Sopranos. I like watching The Flintstones, Scooby Doo…Season one of those. That’s what the binge-watching has gotten down to. Because I already watch too much shit already. I’m on Season one of the Flintstones, and these episodes start without the song. (Starts singing theme song.) They don’t even start like that. I’m waiting for that. I’m just watching, waiting like, “when the fuck do they add the theme song?” I’m guessing in Season two or once they get a budget, they’ll start playing the song. But right now the shit just starts, just Fred and Barney getting into hijinks.

They say do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Does it ever really feel like work? Do interviews like this feel like the “work” part of the job for Curren$y?

And this even doesn’t. I was terrified because I didn’t know how this was gonna work out. It feels like “work” when I’m talking to whoever asking me like, (uses exaggerated voice) “What’s your favorite weed strain, bruh? Everybody knows you’re the world’s greatest stoner. What’s your go-to snack?” Get the fuck outta here. 

You and Harry are creeping up on ten years of work together. How did y’all meet up?

My homeboy Riot, Smoke DZA, and a couple people. Riot used to tell me all the time, “Man, you gotta do something with my boy Harry Fraud.” And I’m just like, “I don’t know.” I don’t know why. 

It seems like you have that relationship with a lot of people, people are excited to plug Curren$y in with people.

Yeah, and some people don’t think they should talk to me. And it’s because they aren’t themselves, so they’ll never really know to connect or say something to me. It’s a couple motherfuckers who know they could just hit me like, “dude what the fuck, let’s do this.”

[I’m] like a…two-year old. Babies, if you give them an inch — let them think they’re the boss — and they’re gonna [be the boss]. So if a motherfucker doesn’t be [urgent] like “we need to do this shit at fucking six o clock” then I don’t fuckin’ respect it.

If they’re [hesitant] I’m like, “aw man, he doesn’t sound like he’s serious about this. I’m gonna play Xbox instead.” I’m chilling already. I understand how [collaborations] could benefit me, but people only want me to do shit because it’s gonna benefit them, too, anyway. 

Speaking of unfinished projects, on N.O.R.E.’s Drink Champs you said you and Smoke DZA were going to start a podcast. Is that still in the works?

He asked me like twice, and then I think he was like, ”Aw he’s doing that thing again…” I woulda did it, man. Sometimes I just give people a hard time. I always got something like that going on. [For instance,] I’ve got a bowl of grapes now. We’re already on the phone, but if we weren’t, and then you called once I sat down with the grapes, I’d be like I’m gonna smash these grapes then try to check into that thing in a minute. 

Rapper Curren$y on top of car

Photo Credit: Jon Jekielek

You’ve made your hobbies into moneymakers in their own right. (Curren$y recently launched Starting Line Hobbies, a 24-hour hobby shop specializing in model car kits and diecast tracks. In 2018, Curren$y partnered with farmers to launch his own signature cannabis strain, Andretti OG. Before the pandemic, he was in the process of re-opening Life Burger, a burger shop in New Orleans.) That’s what everyone’s trying to do. How have you been able to do that?

Anything that you really love to do, you’re not gonna trip off time. I’ve been into building model cars and going to hobby shops as a kid, but in New Orleans there were like one and a half hobby shops. That was something I always wanted to do. People like Devin the Dude kept me inspired and in touch with that side of me. He’s into RC racing. So with this quarantine and people at home, you have time to build a model car. So I might as well sell that dope to you.

Speaking of Devin the Dude, he’s one person your career trajectory reminds me of. Beyond just rapping about weed. You’re both able to live comfortably and remain low-profile.

The quality of life goes down when you can’t just kick it. I got homies with superstar budgets, but they can’t do the shit I do. I could drive a Lamborghini to Wal-Mart, and motherfuckers who didn’t see me get out that Lamborghini wouldn’t know who I am. Just buying socks, Rice Krispie Treats, and shit like everybody else. When I get out, it’s like, ”Yo who the fuck is that, Bruce Wayne or something?”

You gotta walk that fine line so you can enjoy your life. Wiz [Khalifa] had to shut Disney down to bring [his son] Bash. He had to call in ahead of time to shut the place down to go to Space Mountain or whatever the fuck. I’m cool. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

I saw you tweeting with Chuck Inglish about an unfinished project a couple of weeks ago.

We were supposed to do a joint called Puff Daddy. We even smoked weed with Puff Daddy in Austin, Texas when we decided to do it…and then I just…forgot to do it. Chuck Inglish is my homeboy. Chuck lets me drive our hangout sessions. Dude will be like, ”We gotta do this.” But if me and Chuck hanging out I’m like, “Aw man, we should watch fuckin’ Short Circuit and [Short Circuit] 2 and then listen to this beat.” And then he’s gonna think of another movie that was like Short Circuit. He suggests that, then I’m like, ”Aw yeah, we should watch that.” Then we’ll watch that, and be like, ”We should go to the real movies…we should write a movie!” Then nothing fucking happens. It’ll be like, “Damn, four days and I never heard the beat. I brought notepads and pens and I was ready to lock in and nothing happens.” 

 

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And so the project was born….. “Lacs n Chevys”

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When I told a couple friends I was interviewing Curren$y, they mentioned even more projects. One, in particular, was the ‘Lacs N Chevys project with Big K.R.I.T.

This is what happens. I’ll see people doing stuff like…K.R.I.T.’s got his face painted on a building. [For] his videos he’s got the lights and dollies, cranes and all that shit. I’m not about to bother Big K.R.I.T. when it’s just me and the homie with a camera in his backpack. Just fuckin doing shit. I’ll fuck with him when he’s got time. But I’m sure I could call the homie right now, like, ”let’s do it.” It’s the ascension of Big K.R.I.T. right now. I’m letting him do his shit.

Have you been watching the Verzuz series? You reference a lot of Snoop Dogg lyrics. Did you get to watch his battle?

People were saying that during the Verzuz. People were hitting me like, “So, you really like Snoop Dogg, huh?” For the younger listeners, they didn’t even know Dogg said a lot of that shit first. When I don’t know how to start a verse, I’m like, “OK, lemme borrow something from Snoop and go with it. He’s not gonna trip. So I just take one like, “from the depths of the seaaaaa back to the block.”

It’s happened to me quite a few times. I go back and revisit old classic albums and then I’m like, “oh that’s where he got it from.” It happened recently with a line from “The Player Way” off Mase’s Harlem World.

Yeah that’s fuckin, “Know from my Rollie I was set up, I can’t let up, you in some shit that don’t concern you. Send a bullet through your thermal.” Yeah, bruh! You don’t even have to ask me what I was listening to growing up. If you listen to my tapes, you know. Because I put it in there.

A lot of people I have respect for, it made it easier for me to form real friendships with them. People were reaching out to me before I even knew my arms were long enough to reach out to them. Like Big Boi from OutKast, because I used to do that with his shit too. Somebody must have played him, like, nine times for him to know that I did that.

In turn, how does that usually happen with younger artists for you?

I hear it from my younger partners, like, “Oh that boy Trippie Redd was bumpin’ your shit.” It just so happens that the ones that I fuck with fuck with me.

It’s kids that are earnest and if you game them up the right way you make sure that they know how shit goes, you’ll never fade out. 

Fivio Foreign, Baby Keem Among the 2020 XXL Freshman Class Lineup

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…

The list includes names like Fivio Foreign, Chika, and Lil Tjay.

On Tuesday, XXL released its 13th annual Freshman class. Due to unforeseen circumstances like a global pandemic, the issue hit a few bumps in production. However, the list represents a variety of styles from artists around the country.

This year’s issue features Chicago MCs Polo G and Calboy and New Yorkers Lil Tjay and Fivio Foreign. Jack Harlow of Louisville, Kentucky makes an appearance, fresh off a number-one record. NLE Choppa gives Memphis another Freshman representative after BlocBoy JB made the list in 2018. Rod Wave hails from St. Petersburg, Florida, while Chika represents Montgomery, Alabama. Baby Keem holds it down for Los Angeles, while Mulatto and Lil Keed represent Atlanta. San Francisco MC 24kGoldn landed the 10th spot via fan vote.

XXL Freshman Honorees spoke with XXL and founders of the social justice organization Until Freedom about worldwide protests, police brutality, and social injustices. The issue will be available in print on September 1. The issue also features interviews with Freddie Gibbs, T.I., and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.

South Carolina producer JetsonMade joined the class as its first musical curator. In under two short years, Jetson’s produced three top-five charting singles on Billboard‘s US R&B and Hip-Hop charts: “Suge” and “Bop” by DaBaby and “Whats Poppin” by Jack Harlow.

The Freshman issue also features a previously-unreleased interview with the late Pop Smoke from January. The Brooklyn MC was chosen as the issue’s first Freshman a month before his untimely death in February.

LaKeith Stanfield Assures Fans He’s OK After Worrying Social Media Posts

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
LaKeith Stanfield Assures Fans He's OK After Worrying Social Media Posts

Fans became worried about the actor after he posted several troubling videos on his Instagram.

LaKeith Stanfield has assured fans that he’s alright after the actor shared a series of worrying posts on Instagram. Stanfield shared the since-deleted posts late Tuesday morning, with each one accompanied by a cryptic message.

“I like to be by myself because I can hurt myself and no one tells me to stop or fakes like they care,” one post read, which included a video of Stanfield pouring alcohol into a pill bottle featuring a label for carvedilol, a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure.

https://twitter.com/bcztheinternet/status/1293059892115206144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1293059892115206144%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.essence.com%2Fcelebrity%2Flakeith-stanfield-cryptic-instagram%2F

Fans, as well as other entertainment figures, took to social media inquiring that anyone close to Stanfield check up on him after his posts were shared.

“I have no way to contact Lakeith Stanfield directly. I’ve reached out to some friends we have in common. But can someone on here who knows him PLEASE reach out to him? Like RIGHT NOW?” actor Patton Oswalt wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “He’s posting stuff on IG that has me worried for his well-being. Thank you.”

Stanfield later took to Instagram to share a statement on his wellbeing, and assured fans that he was OK.

“I’m ok everyone! I appreciate everyone checking in on me but I’m good,” the statement read. “I’m not harming myself. Much love.”

 

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I’m ok everyone I apologize for making you worry.

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Platform PR, the publicists on behalf of Stanfield, also confirmed Tuesday that the actor was OK.

The trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah, which Stanfield stars in, was recently released. The actor portrays FBI informant William O’Neal, who infiltrated the Black Panther Party.

Kanye West Accuses Wisconsin Democrats of Spying on His Campaign

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
Kanye West

The rapper might not make it on Wisconsin’s presidential ballot despite submitting over 2,000 signatures.

Kanye West has accused the Wisconsin Democratic Party of spying on his ongoing presidential campaign. 

According to TMZ, the party reportedly declared that West submitted fake signatures to get on the ballot in the state. A legitimate complaint alleged the rapper not only submitted phony signatures but also that he failed to get them turned in before the deadline. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel confirms West’s campaign team did not submit the signatures by the 5 p.m. deadline. 

Kanye also says Democrats hired a private investigator to take a look at the inner workings of his team. He alleges it’s part of an “organized effort of harassment and intimidation” against his run for president. 

Last week, per TMZ he also filed signatures and paperwork to get his name on the Wisconsin ballot. A total of 2,000 signatures were needed to make this happen. The company he recently started working with, Let The Voters Decide helped his team obtain the signatures. A week ago West missed the ballot deadlines for Nebraska, New York, and Maryland.

Kanye claims “the complaint filed on Friday seeking to prevent him from getting on the ballot was submitted by a man who is widely reported to be a front for the Democratic Party.” That’s not it, the complaint doesn’t just address false signatures, but it also includes affidavits from voters who said they were tricked into signing their names.

Wisconsin’s Elections Commission is set to review the legal paperwork and make a recommendation about West’s slot on the ballot to a bipartisan panel made up of three Democrats and three Republicans.

West was recently removed from his home state’s ballot as Illinois officials decided more than half of the submitted signatures were illegitimate. White House correspondent April Ryan recently tweeted the rapper could be heading towards an election-fraud investigation as two states have declared him “ineligible” due to the “faulty signatures.”