Apr 15, 2019

Watch: Magnetic - @IAMBYHAZE (prod. by @EZRAKH) (words by Brya Edwards)

The Newark native Shane “BYHAZE” Fuller (1/2 of Them Cloud Kids) has released visuals to his new single entitled, Magnetic.

Also known for his significant role as a social activist and advocate for the community, BYHAZE is reheating us with his smooth sound. But, the song and the music video shows that this is not just a test run for him. The jersey club-based track was produced by Ezrakh and Nadus of Thread Imprint. The song itself draws from R&B, pop, and funk influences while telling a story of love through opposite attraction. The video is shot through a blue hazy lens with dancing figures of women and BYHAZE himself. The song attached to the visuals made for a soothing experience and I would easily recommend adding it to your personal playlist. Watch the video for Magnetic after the break.

Continue Reading
No comments

Apr 11, 2019

The Ransom Report: Human Being Review: Nipsey Hussle (words by Charles Ransom Polk)

“A Los angles area gang member was shot and killed March 31st, 2019."

When I heard the news I was speechless. He’s my favorite artist in the game. I was floored. I was angry. I was deeply saddened. I was confused. If you read that headline above, without knowing who it was, what would you immediately think? The public at large probably thought “Of course, he was just another gangster rapper;" however this wasn’t the case with the man born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, better known by another name: Nipsey Hussle. This is a very special Ransom Review. Here, I'd like to review a man’s deeds.

"Never let a hard time humble us."  
Double Up - Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle for PUMA
First things first: YES, he was a gang member, and NO, that’s not all he was. As a matter of fact, that’s the LEAST important thing he was. He was so much more than that. He was a proud Black man. A father. A loyal brother. A loving companion. A self-made millionaire (by legal means). A philanthropist. A social justice warrior. An astute business owner. A burgeoning real-estate entrepreneur. An up-lifter of his community. An investor, and yes, a Grammy-nominated rapper. All of these things did Nipsey represent, including being a gang member. But he did NOT let himself be defined by that alone, and we would be doing a grave disservice to him to label him as a “Gangster rapper." He was a pillar of his community, a shining, living monument of black-owned pride, and a model for respect and admiration to those around him in his community and the industry he blessed with his Music. He was a King, a young African-American King that wasn’t killed in a drive-by but rather assassinated by a vile coward in front of the store and strip mall he owned on a Sunday afternoon. He was only there at that moment because he was trying to help a friend who had just completed a lengthy prison sentence get some new clothes before he went to see his friends and family. THAT is the man we lost. THAT is who was taken from us. 

A word on his gang affiliation: Nipsey once rapped “Never let a hard time humble us,” and he spoke from experience. He has witnessed numerous friends and family killed or imprisoned. Growing up in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South LA was rough. Several of his friends were dead or in jail before he turned 21. He joined the Rolling 60’s set of the Crips in his teens, partially, according to him, “For survival." There are many who would read that and be supremely confused, but to understand Nipsey’s youth and the situation of so many young ethnic kids is unrealistic unless you’ve actually lived it yourself. This is the existence for millions of inner city children with no direction, and seemingly no hope. Sometimes in a sad, twisted way, joining a gang was the only way for these young Kings like Nipsey to have any solidarity and comfort at all.

I personally started listing to Nipsey in 2009-'10. He had already been signed to a major label (Epic), but he wanted out. He wanted to own his own destiny, to control his own fate. He wanted to make music his way, on his terms, and become famous and wealthy from it. He accomplished all of that, and so much more. I’ll never forget the first interview of him I saw. It was on the Breakfast club in 2013. He was on his newest mixtape, Crenshaw, and was debuting his “Proud 2 Pay” movement. He had just sold 1,000 copies for $100 a piece. They sold out within a day, with Jay-Z wiring money for 100 copies, impressed by the young man’s ambition and savy (they would remain friends and business partners until Nipsey’s untimely demise). There he was, blue Crenshaw beanie on with his hoodie up tight around his face, talking about black owned business and investing. When asked where he got the idea to charge $100 for his mixtape, he said he got the idea from reading a marketing strategy/investment book a mentor of his had given him. Let that sink in; here’s a man dressed in gang colors, rocking an iced-out Malcom X piece, talking about that.

As I said before, SO much more than meets the eye with Nipsey. Look up the Breakfast club interview from 2018, and go to the 38:00 mark, when he’s asked about the subject of “reparations.” I strongly encourage anyone who has never listened to the man outside of rap songs to immediately go to that mark in that interview and simply listen. Don’t judge what he LOOKS like or what he WEARING. Listen to the man’s WORDS (ALSO: type in “Nipsey Hussle Vector 90 LA Times”-matter fact millennials are lazy, I’ll make it easy on you: CLICK HERE the article is self-explanatory. Go read and respect. Seriously).

You’ll notice I haven’t spoken much about his music. That’s by design, not accidental. You know his music. You probably didn’t know that music provided him with the means to give back to his community. He’s funded countless after school study programs for area schools, bought shoes for students, repaved basketball courts, renovated playgrounds, and provided jobs for homeless and convicted felons from his neighborhood (the majority of workers in his Clothing store, The Marathon clothing company, are ex-cons). At the time of his death, along with Roc Nation, he was slated to attend a meeting with the LA police commissioner to go over plans and ideas to help find ways to quell gang violence in the City of Angels. There is a video circulating that shows the Commissioner reading the email Nipsey sent him outlining the meeting, sent days before his death.

Be clear: I’m NOT out to deify Nipsey; he was an imperfect person who famously rapped he was “Just another flawed human tryna get this s**t right." He wasn’t perfect. He used vulgar, violent and at times abrasive lyrics in his music. At one point in his life he's probably committed numerous crimes. He never hid affiliations. Ever. He was no stranger to controversy. He made mistakes, but he also tried to better himself and those around him. Furthermore, a man cannot be judged solely by his early life and past. What if we judged the late, great Malcom X when he was known as “Detroit Red” on the streets of Harlem, and not who he grew into? Take it easy, I’m NOT comparing the two people, but the situational analogy is valid. I went back on forth on whether to touch on the circumstances and details of his death, who allegedly killed him and why. I decided not to. That’s not what this piece is about. You’ve definitely heard it and seen it all over the news. I don’t need to spin the theories and/or motives. Nor do I need to elaborate on the fact that beneath it all, this is yet another example of the ongoing epidemic that is “Black-on-Black crime.” That deserves a whole write-up on its own.
Nipsey & Lauren for GQ

I’ll conclude with this: the man is gone, but his music is eternal. His life should be celebrated. I pray for his companion Lauren, his Brother Blac Sam, his two children, his family and friends. I pray for his parents. I pray for peace. Finally, to the man himself: You started your marathon here, but you finished your victory lap in heaven. See you at the winners circle one day sir. #RipKingNip


Mr. Ransom

Continue Reading
No comments

Apr 5, 2019

Editorial: Not "Country" Enough (an Op-Ed by @RamseySaidWHAT)

April 6, 2019 Old Town Road would have peaked at number one on Billboard Hop Country Songs charts if it had not been removed. It was history in the making for new Country Trap star, Lil Nas X. to this point no song in history has ever simultaneously chart on Billboard's Hot 100, Hip-Hop/R&B/, and Hot Country Songs. When asked if its removal from the charts had racial undertones they responded "It doesn't embrace enough elements of today's country music." Obviously, this is problematic, but I'll spare you a podcast and use my pen.

"I believe whenever you're trying something new, it's always going to get some kind of bad reception." Lil Nas X

Since the dawn of the millennia, every new genre is unacceptable and left with a bad stigma until popularity from the masses say otherwise. Especially the music created by black people. Rock & Roll, Jazz, and Hip-Hop have all been considered the music of neanderthals, lacking structure and will not stand the test of time because it breaks the rules that don't even exist. The very word Jazz originated as a derogatory slang term meaning race records and sexual immorality. I touched base on this in an old Op-Ed, Black Music: Emulated and Underappreciated.

Between the platforms and award shows, I think everyone confused about what genre is what and which is deemed acceptable crossover. Really think about this. There is a award for Urban Contemporary Record of the Year for the Recording Academy. Year by year the winner will range in genre from Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, and more. These artists range in genres of music. Urban means from the city and there's no way listeners from rural areas aren't exposed to these stars. Besides the point. When you don't know how to categorize things it's best to leave them alone and that is half of the issue here.

At WTM, we talk all the time about musical sub-genres in contemporary times, but frankly it's always been around forever. Yes, forever. I know my fellow music theory classmates are cringing but I'm sure Romantic composers were shunned by those that enjoyed classical or Baroque compositions too. Today, Billboard and country as a genre say there's no racial undertone but I think it's foolish to not hold this particular case under a microscope. I think we are allowed to be authorities on this subject because history has seen this before. An example we could flashback to is Ray Charles and his start as a songwriter creating reference tracks for country artists to perform themselves under their own moniker. Aside from jazz, he didn't see any country success of his own until his classic, Georgia on My Mind. Rock and Roll's theft of Chuck Berry saw his hit Sweet Little Sixteen hijacked by The Beach Boys' famous Surfin' USA and Fun, Fun, Fun. The Beach Boys aren't alone as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles have songs that sound similar if not identical to Chuck Berry hits.

Honestly we don't have to look that far back. Only three years ago, Queen Bey herself battled the country genre when they said her 2016 Lemonade hit, Daddy Lessons wasn't "Country" enough. At least until The Dixie Chicks came through on the remix. Imagine that, Beyoncé, a woman from Houston, Texas wasn't "Country" enough. That raises my eyebrows but I digress. We're watching it all happen again in real time with Billy Ray Cyrus on the remix to Lil Nas X's new record. He's cited Young Thug, Lil Tracy, and Lil Uzi Vert as influences and pioneers to the trap country game. I mean, Like a Farmer remix was a bop right? My questions to those of you still reading: Why does it take the Great White Hope to receive acknowledgement? Why do we value validation from the powers that be that history has shown us to shun us time and time again? When do we draw the line and protect ourselves from those that monetize on our culture?

These are just questions. I'm not telling you to deny Justin Timberlake collabs with Pharell and Timbaland. I'm not telling you to stop listening to Eminem and make the Elvis comparisons. I'm just curious if Billy Ray has the same intentions as his daughter when infiltrating our culture. Is it a money grab and run back to home cleansing themselves of a culture that made them "dirty" money or is it a love of crossover music? Okay, Juicy J probably sounds weird on Dark Horse with Katy Perry but I'm sure he's benefited from her fanbase as she has hip-hop listeners right? After all, she does have the biggest twitter following ever. I'm still scratching my head on Wrecking Ball with Hanna Montana but it is what it is. Let's just pay more attention. We're not the sheep here, we're the shepherds.

Continue Reading
No comments

Apr 1, 2019

Music For Medicine Recap (words by Brya Edwards)

Millie Chantel (by Jonathan C. Ramsey)
If you have not heard of Music for Medicine yet, you are bound to hear about one of the hottest music events in New Jersey soon. Created by Millie Chantel, it is a platform that showcases great music and great vibes for a significant cause. All proceeds of the event go toward water and medicine in hospitals for struggling communities located in San Juan De La Maguana, Dominican Republic.

Kärma (photo by Jonathan C. Ramsey)

From the beginning, the event had an overall chill vibe. People were mingling, laughing, and dancing while they excitedly waited for the first artist. I felt right at home amongst genuinely cool people. To kick off the show, Millie took to the stage herself. She's an upcoming artist who holds this particular event very dear to her heart. The line up was stacked and following her came names like Shelly Ferrell, Jay Smallz, Ottohaze Petey X Kraze, Khennedy, K'la Rose, East Coast Dex, Chad Piff, and many more. Each artist brought their own uniqueness to the show. This made it super enjoyable to watch, even on a Sunday night. One of the most memorable moments would have to be when Chad Piff pulled out his electric guitar and graced the audience with eccentricity and flare.

Keayvauna Leshea (photo by Jonathan C. Ramsey)
East Coast Dex also captivated the crowd with his face initially being covered by a ski mask and his larger than life stage presence. K'la Rose also killed her performance with her raspy yet soothing vocals. Some WTM Radar artists also hit the Secret Society Loft stage with Kärma, Keyvauna Leshea, and Yoqueri respectively. With that being said, the turnout was a success and awe-inspring. For a small price you could too be apart of the next Music for Medicine event that stands for a deserving cause. Salute to Millie Chantel, Jersey Turnt Up ENT, and everyone that made
this happen.

All photos were shot by Jonathan C. Ramsey. You can view the entire gallery by following us on Instagram at @WhatsTheMovement

Continue Reading
No comments

Mar 20, 2019

Listen: Stuck In The Moment - @Shhh_imSPEAKING

Something I think I've always enjoyed was Sis on a acoustic ballad. She crushes it everytime. Whether it's Bite or her newest cover of Summer Walker's Riot, I always enjoy that kind of sound from Sis. Don't be confused, the Trenton songstress can get down too.

She does just that on her new single, Stuck in the Moment. If John Legend can come from behind the piano, Sis can make you dance too. This is only the beginning. Stuck in the Moment is serving as the lead single to her new forthcoming EP, Ghost dropping this coming April. After listening to this, I'm excited for the follow up to Girl #3. In the meantime you can listen to Stuck in the Moment on iTunes today, or you can press play after the break. I need you to feel this.

Continue Reading
No comments