It’s mid morning and the self-proclaimed King of the South is in the hallway of the VH1 offices sans shoes. In his socks T.I. rakes through a wardrobe rack in search of the perfect attire for his Big Morning Buzz Live appearance with his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris. Slightly blocking the hallway I mumble a soft, “Excuse me” in order to walk by. “Oh. I’m sorry sweetheart. How are you?” he asks. The epitome of a southern gentleman to the core.
At 31, Clifford “T.I.” Harris has conquered more than rap. Acting, film producer, CEO of his record label Grand Hustle Records, owner of his own clothing line and reality TV star are only a few of the titles he’s held since his 2001 debut I’m Serious. Nearing the release of his eighth album Trouble Man (with no official release date) and T.I.’s excited again. During an interview with 105.1′s Breakfast Club he said he wanted out of the game. But things change. Read more…
When other high schoolers were sneaking on the phone at the wee hours of the morning to talk to their crush, Rye Rye was touring with M.I.A. After DJ Blaqstarr discovered the young rapper at the age of 15, they collaborated on “Shake It To The Ground,” a youthful dance track that caught the attention of M.I.A. only months later. Now, 21, the Baltimore, MD rapper has released her debut album Go! Pop! Bang! that was four years in the making. To appreciate Rye Rye’s music one must understand the oftentimes disparate state of her hometown. Then one must consider the city’s definitive musical sound unique to that place and its natives. The arts was a way for the young funky teen to express herself outside of the confines of the housing projects she grew up in. As much as Rye Rye is a rapper, she’s a dancer. And the latter inspires the sound of Go! Pop! Bang! more than the expected hardened environment she grew up in.
Her first single, “Boom Boom” (video below), is a perfect indication of what to expect from the album. It’s about partying, boys and having a bloody good time. The whole point is not to take herself too seriously. Over the video game beat, Rye Rye raps in her semi-fast, edgy tone about wanting a guy in her room. Tracks like “DNA” featuring Porcelain Black, “New Thing,” “Dance” and “Hardcore Girls” are where her Baltimore club influence is most dominant — a mix of house, D.C. go-go and techno-electro. On “Crazy Bitch,” she teamed up with Akon in a more concept driven track where the beat is slightly slower than the usual uptempo beat. With the help of Akon she pokes fun at being considered the “crazy bitch” in the relationship. “Sunshine” and “Bang” both feature M.I.A. and have the bombastic drum beat M.I.A. tends to love on her own tracks. Both records offer that distinctive voice that only an M.I.A. feature can add. Her rhymes in “Bang” slow the listener down from the natural inclination to dance to actually listen to her rhymes. “Never Will Be Mine” featuring Robyn is one of the slower tracks on the record but still manages to keep the light fun mood of the rest of the album. Read more…
Tonight, legendary emcee Nas joins this season’s Behind the Music alumni of artists like Aaliyah, Nelly, T-Pain, Game and Akon. In the program, the Queens rapper —who entered the hip hop game back in 1994 with the classic Illmatic— opens up about life, love, loss and beef.
Speaking of the latter, Nas’ 2001 rivalry with Jay-Z was, without question, one of hip-hop’s all-time biggest beefs. In this exclusive clip, Nas talks about his reconciliation with one of the game’s biggest luminaries. After the diss records and the hype had dwindled, Nas remembers L.A. Reid asking if he’d be willing to talk to Jay. He went to the studio where Jay was, and like two true New Yorkers whose hearts beat hip-hop, the two dapped each other while laughing. When Nas signed to Def Jam in 2006, Jay-Z said, “You can’t sign an artist of Nas stature. You can only partner with him.”
Watch Behind the Music: Nas tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
It’s been an incredible season of Behind The Music so far, with powerful episodes featuring the likes of Aaliyah, T-Pain, Game, Pitbull, and Nelly. This week, we put the spotlight on Akon, the multi-platinum recording artist who spent his formative years in Senegal.
In this exclusive preview of the show’s first act, we trace Akon’s roots growing up as the son of a famous musician, which led him to meet a teenage Michael Jackson when he was only 5 years-old. His world got turned upside down when he moved to America at the age of 7, where he was treated like an outcast and bullied because of his heritage, which ultimately led him down some dark paths as a youngster. However, he overcame the odds and turned his life around, eventually hooking up with Wyclef Jean and The Fugees. As Akon himself puts it in the clip above, “I love the fact that music is the vehicle to allow me to do what I’m doin’, because that’s all I’m in for: Changing the world.”
You can watch Behind The Music: Akon when it airs tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 11, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Don’t believe the cranks when they say today’s youth are Twittering their lives away. Plenty of young adults are applying themselves in a major way, making a real dent when it comes to helping others.? Take Maggie Doyne: the 22-year-old Jersey girl was recently celebrated at NYC’s Apollo Theater for building housing for orphans in Nepal – with her own life savings. She wasn’t alone. Four other heroes were recognized as well. Check the VH1 News clip above.
The Do Something organization has been helping volunteers realize their dreams of changing the world. Thursday night’s show celebrated a number of hard-working and creative activists, along with Usher, Akon, and other celebs.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DO SOMETHING ORGANIZATION HERE.
You know how Akon toiled in a Georgia jail for four years for his illegal work as the head of a car-heist ring? His tales of thievin’ and fighting behind bars after facing up to 75 years for a felony charge are a common theme in his songs and interviews, but it turns out it never really happened! The Smoking Gun did a whole lotta research on the Kon’s shady past, and while the rapper does have a lengthy rap sheet, the only felony he ever received was for a gun possession charge, for which he got just three months probation. In fact, the longest Akon’s ever spent in jail was just a few months, after he was busted for stealing a BMW. His rep as a “ringleader of a notorious car theft operation” – which he loves to boast about – is a total sham, presumably created by the rapper to appear tough to his millions of fans. Turns out that after all his bogus tales of life as a notorious felon, this might be his biggest con job of all. [Smoking Gun]
Akon, the buff African-American superstar with the dulcet voice and penchant for, uh, escalating interactions between artist and audience, had the privilege of duetting with the Gloved One on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” for Thriller 25, the anniversary edition of Michael Jackson‘s storied album. The record won’t be out until February 12th, but we’re streaming that track for you, here and now. And since we’ve had the privilege of listening to it, let’s just say that it’s a real duet, not one of those that stop with backing vocals added to the chorus. Between this and Rihanna‘s “Don’t Stop the Music,” the lyrics “Mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-koo-sa” have rarely had so much exposure.
Some gossip stories are too big to forget. We?re counting down the 20 biggest, baddest, most ridiculous and saddest celeb scandals of the year. You?ll get a new one posted every day.
Remember when Akon was just a dude with a hit record, a rap sheet and a few wives? That was before he was busted for taking his on-stage antics way too far. Back at a concert in April, Konvict brought up a 15-year old woman from the audience to accept a “trip to Africa” she was to be awarded for winning an earlier dance concert. Turns out her prize was a just a ride on the Akon crazy train, and the singer proceeded to mount and violently hump the teen all around the stage. How sexy! The girls are swooning! The incident caused Verizon to pull out of the Gwen Stefani tour it was sponsoring (Akon was the opening act) and he eventually apologized a few weeks after it all went down, saying “It was never my intention to embarrass or take advantage of my fans in any way, especially those under the age of 18.”
Yeah, like that makes it any more appropriate, pal. If you can stomach the grossness, check out the video above of Akon’s hump-nasty spectacle.
We can’t get enough of these gems from an interview with Rachel Ritfield, the woman who was to be Akon‘s fourth wife. Sadly, when push came to shove, the model just couldn’t force herself to walk down the aisle with the polygamous rapper. Rachel said, “I want a man who thinks that I’m God’s gift to creation and I can think the same of him.” Well then what was she doing with Akon in the first place? Isn’t he a notorious man ho? Apparently dry-humping underage fans can really turn a woman on. Rachel was not freaked out by the whole plural marriage thing at first, claiming “Akon was honest with me about his mutiple wives from the start, which never got in the way of our relationship because his wives live in various parts of the world, so I thought why fix it if it’s not broken?”
Fix what? Our culture’s attitude toward men who marry multiple women? Akon’s screwy relationships? Sadly, Rachel didn’t get the hint until Akon had kid number five with one of his wifeys. Rachel finally realized that Akon was still boning other chicks even though he acted like she was the only piece of ass in his life, and she bailed. “The one thing I wanted from Akon was for him to be monogamous to me but he could not grant me my wish,” she lamented.
Hang in there girl! There are plenty of other creepy-ass rich dudes just yearning for a hot model like yourself. You’ll get your wish! [Image: Rachel's MySpace]