by (@seapeaz)

VH1 + SCOPE: Swizz Beatz + Hebru Brantley Discuss Relationship Between ART + MUSIC

December 3 officially kicks off SCOPE’s week-long Art Show where VH1 + SCOPE are coming together and celebrating ART + MUSIC + BEACH. Art and music have influenced each other since the beginning of time and VH1 + SCOPE are joining forces to celebrate that epic collaboration.

We spoke to hip hop artist, Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and artist, Hebru Brantley, who explained exactly how interconnected these two worlds are and how each of them are inspired by the other’s art.

Check out behind the scenes photos of Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Hebru Brantley’s collaborative art and music experience.

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Alicia Keys Performs “Brand New Me” On David Letterman, But Not Before Being Questioned About Hubby’s Tattoos

David Letterman hates tattoos. And we’ll chalk this up to him being an ol’ school player. Alicia Keys stopped by Live on Letterman in beautiful yellow and blue two piece ensemble to perform her relatable ballad “Brand New Me.” But before she could perform the retrospective on finding her voice and identity after a relationship has ended, she chatted with Letterman on family life. Letterman being the anti-tattoo grump he was to Bieber, didn’t quite scold Alicia for her husband’s tattoos, but he did have way too many questions. Read more…

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Nas: Rap’s Self-Proclaimed “Most Mainstream Underground Artist” On What Makes His Life Good

An iced coffee with brown sugar is the only request of the legend who spent the previous night indulging in cigars and Moet filled champagne flutes at his release party for his 10th studio album. “You love brown sugar don’t you?” the director of Visual Media at Def Jam jokes, responding to his Starbucks request. “Damn right,” he says with a smile as everyone in the room erupts with laughter. That’s the side of Nas the public rarely gets to see.

Nasir Jones is exactly what you’d expect—no fuss, polite, no big entourage, mellow and somewhat quiet—that is until you get him going on something he actually gives a damn about. By mid-afternoon he arrives to the VH1 office still feeling nice from all of the bubbly consumed at NYC’s Bagatelle the night before. He’s dressed in a white and black t-shirt plastered with Mr. T’s face on it, white shorts and black Gucci sneakers. For a rapper his jewelry is modest. The two gold chains he rocks are far from gaudy, and his wrists are adorned with a gold watch and one bracelet. That’s it. At 38 he doesn’t look much older than he did on 2001′s album cover for Stillmatic. You start to wonder if he physically ages.

Bred in the largest housing projects in North America, the Queensbridge rapper dropped out of school in the ninth grade to pursue rap. Although he didn’t always know if it’d pay off, it did, in a big way.

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Nas Celebrates Release Of Life Is Good With Champagne And Celeb Friends

Nas' Album Release Party

On the eve of NasLife Is Good release, he celebrated like any Don would–with champagne, cigars and friends. Nas had a busy night with a performance of “Daughters” on the Late Show with David Letterman, an interview with Hot 97′s Funkmaster Flex and his album release party at Bagatelle in NYC. When you’re a legend of Nas’ status there’s bound to be a lot of love in the room from peers. Throughout the night he shared laughs with Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Q-tip and Jermaine Dupri. Also in attendance were Beyonce, Angie Martinez, Tyson Beckford and others.

Its been four years since Nasty Nas’ last solo album, the controversial Untitled. Early reviews are already pegging Life Is Good as one of the best in his catalog, and potentially one of the best albums of the year. His road to the happy space he’s in of living his best life (word to Oprah) has been one of overcoming many trials and tribulations. But the glow in his eyes at last night’s release is the look of a man that has triumphed. The look of success and longevity. Check out our gallery of a few pictures from last night’s celebration.

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Life Is Good For Nas And Swizz Beatz’s Performance At The ESPY Awards Despite A Boring Crowd

Life is good was the appropriate theme for last night’s ESPY Awards where accomplished athletes were recognized for their athletic successes. Gearing up for the release of his tenth studio album, Nas was the perfect person to invoke the feeling of living good with a medley of singles from his forthcoming Life Is Good. Like a true class act, dressed in a black tux he performed “Nasty,” “The Don” and was joined by Swizz Beatz for “Summer On Smash.” With DJ Lantern on the 1′s and 2′s accompanied by the live band, it felt like a classic hip-hop moment where the instruments were blaring and the lyrics meant something. Swizzy in a white tux elevated the energy on stage. Despite all of those things the ESPY Awards crowd seemed so…dry. We’ve seen grandmas less bored while watching The Price Is Right. Someone should have whispered to them, “Hey, you’re witnessing greatness.” Read more…

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Alicia Keys Is Like ‘A Caged Animal That’s Dying To Escape’ With New Single “New Day”

Alicia Keys new music "New Day"

It’s been three years since Alicia Keys last album The Element of Freedom, and in those three years Keys married producer Swizz Beats and welcomed her first child into the world. With all of the exciting changes in her life she is ready to tell her story through the untitled upcoming album. To connect with her fans Keys posted a touching video to YouTube to talk about the journey of making new music. She says she’s been in the studio eight months working on the album because she’s a whole new person. “It’s like I’m a different person, a new person,” she explains. “Everything is new, from being married and having a baby, and what that’s done for me in just giving me a sense of real stability, real connection, grounding, reason, and purpose. So much of the music that you’re going to hear is talking about what that feels like, what we’re all going through, all of us,” she said. Read more…