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T.I. unveils ‘Nipsey Hussle Exhibit’ at Trap Music Museum (VIDEO)

All eyes were on Atlanta’s famed Trap Music Museum Tuesday night for the unveiling of the new Nipsey Hussle Exhibit. The event was hosted by Grammy Award-winning hip hop star, actor and philanthropist T.I. and was attended by a bevy of influencers and trap music enthusiasts including Tameka “Tiny Harris,” Monica, LeToya Luckett and Toya Wright.

UPFRONT was in the building to capture all of the sights and sounds of the evening. I got a chance to chat with the “King of the South” about the new installation as well as BK The Artist and muralists Dizzy and Quake, who also contributed to the new work. Krystal “KG” Garner, general manager of the museum also discussed the importance of bringing this exhibit to Atlanta and much more.

Hussle, a beloved Trap music star and community activist, was tragically shot and killed on March 31, 2019 outside of his store “Marathon Clothing” store in Los Angeles, CA.

Watch the coverage below:

PHOTO CREDIT: RayCornelius.com

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Kendrick Lamar to star on TONIGHT’s episode of ‘Power’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Don’t forget to tune into tonight’s new episode of POWER at 8 p.m. on Starz. It features a guest appearance by international rap star Kendrick Lamar. The Pulitzer Prize winner will appear in a guest role opposite 50 Cent in this not-to-miss episode.

“It was something that’s been in the works for a long time just being a fan of the show,” said Lamar to POWER creator Courtney A. Kemp. “Me, 50 and Top, we always communicated that we need to do something one day and make something right.”

Kendrick will be portraying a drug abuser named Laces, who he described as a hot head who’s always on the go.”

“When you see what he did, you know he worked really hard on this,” said 50 Cent about Lamar’s role. “He did a really good job…like they’re going to talk about his performance.”

Kendrick Lamar is one of the rare artists who has achieved critical and commercial success while earning the respect and support of those who inspired him. A native of Compton, Calif., Lamar released his debut album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” in October 2012 which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and earned him seven Grammy Award nominations. His second album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” released in March 2015 immediately earned rave reviews and topped the Billboard 200, garnering Lamar five Grammy® nominations with a win for Best Rap Album.

Congrats Kendrick! We can’t wait to meet Laces!

Photo Credit: Starz

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DJ Khaled, Kendrick Lamar, Issa Rae, Donald Glover and more up for ‘BET Awards’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Nominations for the BET Awards were announced this week and a number of our favorite music, TV and film stars are up for awards.

In music, DJ Khaled leads the pack with with six nominations including ‘Video of the Year,’ two for ‘Best Collaboration,’ with Rihanna and Bryson Tiller for ‘Wild Thoughts,’ and with Jay-Z, Future and Beyoncé for ‘Top Off,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ and ‘Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice.’  Pulitzer Prize winning hip hop star Kendrick Lamar earned five nods including ‘Best Collaboration,’ with Rihanna for ‘Loyalty.,’ ‘Video of the Year,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ and ‘Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice.’

In TV and film, Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae, Taraji P. Henson, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright are competing for the ‘Best Actress Award.’ Holding it down for the ‘Best Actor Award’ category is Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Donald Glover, Sterling K. Brown, Denzel Washington and Daniel Kaluuya.  Damn, that’s gonna be a tough one!

Check out the complete list of nominees below and don’t forget to tune into the BET Awards on Sunday, June 24.

Best Female R&B / Pop Artist Award

BEYONCÉ
SZA
H.E.R.
RIHANNA
KEHLANI

Best Male R&B / Pop Artist Award
BRUNO MARS
CHRIS BROWN
THE WEEKND
KHALID
DANIEL CAESAR

Best Group Award
MIGOS
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
N.E.R.D.

RAE SREMMURD
CHLOE X HALLE

Best Collaboration Award
BRUNO MARS FEAT. CARDI B                                                     FINESSE (REMIX)
DJ KHALED FEAT. RIHANNA & BRYSON TILLER                       WILD THOUGHTS
DJ KHALED FEAT. JAY-Z, FUTURE &BEYONCÉ                         TOP OFF
CARDI B FEAT. 21 SAVAGE                                                          BARTIER CARDI
FRENCH MONTANA FEAT. SWAE LEE                                        UNFORGETTABLE
KENDRICK LAMAR FEAT. RIHANNA                                            LOYALTY.

Best Male Hip Hop Artist Award
DRAKE
KENDRICK LAMAR
DJ KHALED
JAY-Z
J. COLE

Best Female Hip Hop Artist Award
CARDI B
NICKI MINAJ
REMY MA
DEJ LOAF
RAPSODY

Video of the Year Award
DRAKE                                                                                          GOD’S PLAN
CARDI B                                                                                        BODAK YELLOW
BRUNO MARS FEAT. CARDI B                                                    FINESSE (REMIX)
DJ KHALED FEAT. RIHANNA & BRYSON TILLER                      WILD THOUGHTS
KENDRICK LAMAR                                                                      HUMBLE.
MIGOS FEAT. DRAKE                                                                  WALK IT TALK IT

Video Director of the Year Award
BENNY BOOM
DIRECTOR X
AVA DUVERNAY
CHRIS BROWN
DAVE MEYERS

Best New Artist Award
SZA
H.E.R.
DANIEL CAESAR
GOLDLINK
A BOOGIE WIT DA HOODIE

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
LECRAE FEAT. TORI KELLY                                                       I’LL FIND YOU
SNOOP DOGG FEAT. B SLADE                                                 WORDS ARE FEW
LEDISI & KIRK FRANKLIN                                                          IF YOU DON’T MIND
MARVIN SAPP                                                                             CLOSE
TASHA COBBS LEONARD FEAT. NICKI MINAJ                         I’M GETTING READY

The Best International Act Award

BOOBA (FRANCE)

CASSPER NYOVEST (SA)

DADJU(FRANCE)

DAVIDO(NIGERIA)

DISTRUCTION BOYZ (SA)

FALLY IPUPA (DR CONGO)

J HUS (UK)

NISKA (FRANCE)

TIWA SAVAGE (NIGERIA)

STEFFLON DON (UK)

STORMZY (UK)

Best Actress Award

TIFFANY HADDISH
LUPITA NYONG’O
ISSA RAE
ANGELA BASSETT
LETITIA WRIGHT
TARAJI P. HENSON

Best Actor Award         
CHADWICK BOSEMAN
MICHAEL B. JORDAN
DONALD GLOVER
STERLING K. BROWN
DENZEL WASHINGTON
DANIEL KALUUYA

Young Stars Award
YARA SHAHIDI
ASHTON TYLER
CALEB MCLAUGHLIN
LONNIE CHAVIS
MARSAI MARTIN
MILES BROWN

Best Movie Award
BLACK PANTHER
GIRLS TRIP
A WRINKLE IN TIME
DETROIT
MUDBOUND

Sportswoman of the Year Award
SERENA WILLIAMS
VENUS WILLIAMS
SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH
CANDACE PARKER
ELANA MEYERS TAYLOR

Sportsman of the Year Award    
STEPHEN CURRY

LEBRON JAMES
KEVIN DURANT
DWYANE WADE
ODELL BECKHAM JR.

Album of the Year Award
DAMN.                                                                 KENDRICK LAMAR
CTRL                                                                    SZA
4:44                                                                      JAY-Z
CULTURE II                                                         MIGOS
BLACK PANTHER: THE ALBUM                         KENDRICK LAMAR & VARIOUS ARTISTS
GRATEFUL                                                           DJ KHALED

BET Her Award
JANELLE MONAÉ                                                DJANGO JANE
LIZZO                                                                    WATER ME
MARY J. BLIGE                                                    STRENGTH OF A WOMAN
REMY MA FEAT. CHRIS BROWN                        MELANIN MAGIC (PRETTY BROWN)
CHLOE X HALLE                                                  THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
LEIKELI47                                                             2ND FIDDLE

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
SZA FEAT. TRAVIS SCOTT                                                           LOVE GALORE
CARDI B                                                                                        BODAK YELLOW
KENDRICK LAMAR                                                                      HUMBLE.
DRAKE                                                                                          GOD’S PLAN
MIGOS FEAT. CARDI B & NICKI MINAJ                                      MOTORSPORT
DJ KHALED FEAT. RIHANNA & BRYSON TILLER                      WILD THOUGHTS

Photo Credit: BET.com

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UPFRONT feat. LaTavia Roberson, Jess Manning, Jewel Wicker and more (AUDIO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

This weekend’s edition of UPFRONT was fiyah! Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter LaTavia Roberson and PR Maven Jess Manning were in the studio to chat about Beyoncé’s historic Coachella performance and the 20th Anniversary of Destiny’s Child.

Entertainment reporter Jewel Wicker and hip hop artist Renegade El Rey stopped by to discuss Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music. They also talked about Atlanta’s changing music scene and more.

TV One’s new crime and justice series Evidence of Innocence is finally premiering on Monday, June 4 and I re-aired my UPFRONT interview with the show’s executive producer Rushion McDonald.

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com

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UPDATE: Queen Latifah to perform at the ESSENCE Festival

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Oscar nominated actress, Grammy Award winner and all-around-entertainer Queen Latifah has been added to this year’s ESSENCE Festival.

According to the website, Latifah will be celebrating her 30th Anniversary in the entertainment business by gracing the Festival’s main stage for her first-ever performance.

Her set will include such female empowerment anthems as “U.N.I.T.Y.” and “Ladies First” to the round-the-way classic “Just Another Day” and the house music jam “Come Into My House.” She also promises a few surprises as well.

Latifah joins a laundry list of iconic divas performing this year including Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Ledisi and Fantasia.

CLICK HERE to get your tickets!

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ wins Pulitzer Prize for Music

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

CONGRATS to 12-time Grammy Award-winning rap star Kendrick Lamar.

He made history this week as the first hip hop act to ever receive the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Music. The big news was announced on Monday (April 16) afternoon by Dana Kennedy, Administrator of the Pulitzers.

His chart-topping fourth album DAMN. was recognize as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.”  This is the first time the Pulitzer for Music has been given to a non-classical or jazz artist.

Storytelling has been Lamar’s greatest skill and most primary mission, to put into (lots of) words what it’s like to grow up as he did—to articulate, in human terms, the intimate specifics of daily self-defense from your surroundings. Somehow, he’s gotten better.  — Matthew Trammell, Pitchfork

DAMN. features the hit singles, “Humble” and “Loyalty.” Lamar was also the curator of the hugely successful Black Panther soundtrack which features the hit song, “All the Stars” with Grammy nominated vocalist SZA.

The Pulitzer Prize honors excellence in journalism and the arts.

Photo Credit: Instagram/Kendrick Lamar

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T.I. teams up with BET for ‘The Grand Hustle’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Grammy Award-winning hip hop star T.I. and BET Networks are coming together for a fierce new reality competition series titled, The Grand Hustle. The show will premiere on late nights beginning this summer.

The Grand Hustle features 16 business minded men and women vying for a coveted position and six-figure salary within Tip’s multimillion-dollar Grand Hustle business empire which he built from the ground up.

“The Grand Hustle Empire is always expanding so therefore we needed to add a very talented, highly skilled executive to our team,” said Harris. “It doesn’t matter if you got your hustle at Harvard or the hood, “THE GRAND HUSTLE” is about how you handle business and what you can do for the brand so I wanted to create a show that offers an equal playing field.”

The 12, one-hour episode series, is set in Atlanta and the candidates are determined to prove they have what it takes to out-hustle the rest. They serve up big deals and even bigger doses of drama each week as they fight for their seat at the table. Ultimately, only one will be crowned the Grand Hustler. The show is created and executive produced by Harris.

The Grand Hustle premieres on Thursday, July 19th at 10:00 p.m.

 Will you be watching?

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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WATCH Trailer for ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ starring Nia Long + Mahershala Ali (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Netflix has released a new trailer for its upcoming biopic Roxanne Roxanne. The film chronicles rise of hip hop starlet Roxanne Shante and stars Oscar winning actor Mahershala Ali, Nia Long and newcomer Chanté Adams.

In the early 1980s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At the age of 14, Lolita “Roxanne Shante” Gooden was well on her way to becoming a Hip-Hop legend as she hustled to provide for her family while defending herself from the dangers of the streets.

Roxanne Roxanne comes from the producers of Fruitvale Station and Dope and was written and directed by Michael Larnell.  It was also produced by Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker, Mimi Valdes, and Pharrell Williams.

Roxanne Roxanne premieres on March 23.

Photo Credit: YouTube/Netflix

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A Gucci Mane biopic in the works?

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

S&A is reporting that a Gucci Mane biopic is coming to the big screen. The project is reportedly being spearheaded by Paramount Pictures along with director Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and will based on Mane’s 2017 book, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane.

Mane is credited for being a pioneer of trap music along with T.I. and Jeezy and has been on and off the music charts for almost two decades now.

His book chronicles his tumultuous rise to stardom against a backdrop of drugs and violence. He most recently appeared on the popular BET reality series, The Mane Event, which detailed his elaborate wedding to fitness and beauty diva Keyshia Ka’oir.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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New Season of ‘UNSUNG’ debuts on 2/18 featuring SILK (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the trailer for TV One’s award-winning #1 series UNSUNG. The new season premieres on Sunday, February 18 at 9 p.m. featuring R&B crooners Silk. The Atlanta based group shot to fame in the early 90s with such classic jams as “Freak Me,” “Girl U For Me” and “Meeting in My Bedroom.”

Other artist profiles include The Boys on February 25, Trick Daddy on March 4, Blue Magic on March 11, Deborah Cox on March 18, Shirley Caesar on March 25, Avant on April 8, Brand Nubian on April 15 and Lost Boyz on April 22.

UNSUNG tells the stories of perseverance, determination and success through first-hand accounts of the artists who experienced it and takes viewers into the lesser-known challenges they endured behind the spotlight.

Will you be watching?

Photo Credit: TV One

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Bruno Mars teams up with Cardi B for “24K Magic Finale Tour” (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

And so the MAGIC continues…

Multi-Grammy winning singer Bruno Mars is teaming up with hip-hop’s newest sensation Cardi B for the finale leg of his “24K Magic World Tour.”  Mars posted the news on social media with above image and caption: “The Finale. #24kmagicworldtour”

The duo have been ruling the airwaves for the past month with the hot new remix to his single, “Finesse.” Their colorful and quirky video also had everyone buzzing last month because of its salute to the 90s classic TV show,  “In Living Color.”

The finale tour is expected to make stops in Boston, Brooklyn, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Toronto, and Tulsa.

The announcement comes on the heels of Mars taking home the gold during last weekend’s Grammy Awards where he walked away with the big three: Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Click here to purchase tickets!

Photo Credit: Instagram/Bruno Mars

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Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar and more pick up Grammy Awards

Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The “60th Grammy Awards” were held in NYC’s Madison Square Garden last night and the biggest honors went to Bruno Mars, who picked up Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Performance and Best Engineered Album Non Classical.

Hip-Hop star Kendrick Lamar shut down the Rap category earning wins for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Song Performance with Rihanna for “Loyalty” + Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album and Best Music Video.

Atlanta’s own superstar Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino picked up his first Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Performance with Redbone. He is having an amazing year already with the second season of hit series “Atlanta” starting up in March. The Weeknd earned the award for Best Urban Contemporary for Starboy.

Iconic gospel singer CeCe Winans picked up awards for Best Gospel Performance/Song and Best Gospel Album. In Jazz, Cécile McLorin Salvant picked up the award for Best Vocal Jazz Album, Christian McBride for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and Billy Child’s Rebirth for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Comedian Dave Chappelle picked up his first Grammy for Best Comedy Album.

Click here to see all the winners!

Photo Credit: RayCornelius.com

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Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg + more to play ‘ESSENCE Festival’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

ESSENCE has released the lineup for this year’s highly anticipated ESSENCE Festival and it is fiyah!!!! I am so excited to announce that music icon—Janet Jackson—will be headlining this year’s festivities in New Orleans.  It all goes down July 5-8 with three nights full of unforgettable performances from over 40 acts.

Sharing the stage with Miss Jackson is Oscar nominated actress and history maker Mary J. Blige as well as Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Snoop Dogg, Fantasia and The Roots.  R&B vocalists Miguel, Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius and Dave Hollister will also rock the Superdome along with newcomers—H.E.R., Daniel Ceasar, Kelela, and DVSN.

Atlanta R&B divas Xscape are returning along with music icon Teddy Riley, who will produce a special produced segment featuring Blackstreet, Guy and Wreckx-n-Effect.

This year’s Superlounges will hosts a variety of DJ-curated experiences featuring hip hop icon MC Lyte and award winning actor and heart-throb Idris Elba.

D-Nice will make his debut as this year’s Main stage DJ and comedian Roy Wood, Jr. returns as this year’s Main stage host.

Stay tuned as additional acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Click here to check out coverage from last year’s ESSENCE Festival featuring Diana Ross, India.ArieJohn Legend and more!

Photo Credit: ESSENCE.com

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Hip Hop Sensation Cardi B to star in a new film

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Grammy nominated hip hop diva Cardi B is making money moves for real, for real!

According to TMZ, the former reality star has secured a role in an upcoming untitled film project. The “Bodak Yellow” rapper has apparently cleared her very busy schedule in March and even turned down a few gigs where she could have easily picked up 100K to 200k.  While no other information is available about the film or the role, this certainly puts her closer to becoming a global superstar.

This would not be the first time we’ve seen Cardi B in a dramatic role. She appeared as a “larger-than-life” reality star named “Mercedes,” in the fourth season of BET’s “Being Mary Jane.”

Today’s news also comes on the heels of her becoming the first woman with five top 10 hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in a single week ever. That position was previously held by Beyoncé.

CONGRATS CARDI B!

Photo Credit: Complex Magazine