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Ashanti turns 40 today. The curvy singer celebrated her birthday with friends in Antigua and Barbuda.

"Reflecting on the blessings," Ashanti captioned a post that shows her relaxing on a yacht in an emerald sea.

Ashanti was born Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas on October 13, 1980 in Glen Cove, New York. Her mother was a dance teacher and her father was a former singer.

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Ashanti's mother, Tina Douglas (pictured), discovered her full singing potential when she overheard Ashanti singing Mary J. Blige's "Reminisce" at age 12.

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As a teenager, Ashanti wrote songs and performed in local talent shows. She got a small break as a child extra in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992) and in Ted Demme's Who's the Man?.

But her first love was music. Ashanti began performing around the city and she eventually came to the attention of Bad Boy Records, Jive and Murder Inc., where she was noticed by Murder Inc. CEO and co-founder Irv Gotti.

Gotti asked her to write hooks for his label artists and to perform with them in duets.

Her duets on Fat Joe's "What's Luv?" and Ja Rule's "Always on Time" helped launch the songs up the charts, becoming two of the biggest hit songs of 2002.
 

Ashanti became the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at the same time.

Following the success of her collaborations with Ja Rule and Fat Joe, Ashanti released her debut single, "Foolish", which contains a sample of the 1983 song "Stay with Me" by DeBarge.

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Ashanti's self-titled debut album, Ashanti, was released on Murder Inc. in April 2002 and debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart. The album was certified triple platinum in the United States and sold six million copies worldwide.

The album was a fan favorite, earning 8 Billboard Music Awards, 2 American Music Awards, and a Grammy Award in 2003 for Best Contemporary R&B Album.

In July 2003, Ashanti's sophomore album, Chapter II, also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 326,000 copies. Chapter II went platinum, selling over 1.5 million copies.

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In 2004, Ashanti began dating rapper Nelly and considered settling down to raise a family.

Ashanti and Nelly were the Beyonce and Jay-Z of their time. Fans couldn't get enough of the sexy couple. One fan made a scrap book filled with pictures of the hip-hop royal couple.

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Nelly and Ashanti ended their long-term relationship in 2014 after dating 10 years. Their union produced no children and Ashanti told friends she regretted not tying the knot with the St. Louis rapper, now 45.

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There were many rumors of cheating by both Ashanti and Nelly during their decade together. After the breakup, Ashanti earned a scandalous reputation as a home-wrecker.

Ashanti has been linked to Chink Santana (who was dating Keyshia Cole at the time); NFL player Darnell Dockett (who was married at the time), NBA star James Harden, comedian Michael Blackson, rapper Joyner Lucas, and more.

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Ashanti released 5 albums in her 18-year career. She was nominated for 8 Grammy Awards, winning a Grammy for her 2003 album Ashanti. She won 35 music awards in her stellar career, including 8 Billboard Music Awards and 2 American Music Awards.

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Johnny Nash, the pop and reggae legend whose cataracts inspired the smash 1970s hit song "I Can See Clearly Now", has passed away.

Nash died from natural causes at his Houston home, his son announced on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Born John Lester Nash Jr. in Houston, Texas, Nash grew up singing in church and by age 13 had his own show on a Houston television station.

Nash rose to local prominence with his first single "A Teenager Sings the Blues." Nash met and collaborated with peers Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV on "The Teen Commandments (of Love)."

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Nash was also an actor whose movie roles included 1959's "Take a Giant Step" (co-starring Ruby Dee) in which he starred as a Black high school student rebelling against how the Civil War is taught in the classroom.

Nash's acting career faded in the early 1960s, but he renewed his interest in music. Nash reportedly wrote his signature hit song "I Can See Clearly Now" after undergoing surgery for cataracts.

While the Grammy's snubbed "I Can See Clearly Now," the soon-to-be classic song was covered by artists ranging from Ray Charles and Donny Osmond to Soul Asylum and Jimmy Cliff.

Nash's newfound appreciation for Jamaica's reggae music genre led him to the Caribbean island where he was among the first non-Jamaican artists to record reggae music in Kingston.

While in Kingston, Nash met a young reggae singer-songwriter named Bob Marley through an introduction by fellow Wailers Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston.

Nash, who was the bigger star at the time, took Marley to London and convinced his manager and business partner Danny Sims to sign Bob Marley and the Wailers to their independent label JAD Records.

Nash recorded an early cover of Marley's song "Stir It Up," and the two singers also collaborated on the ballad "You Poured Sugar On Me," which appeared on Nash's I Can See Clearly Now album.

In the 1980s, Nash dropped out of the music industry, telling Jamaica's The Gleaner newspaper that it was "difficult to develop major music projects" without touring and promoting and that he preferred to be with his family.

Nash is survived by his son Johnny Nash Jr., daughter, Monica, and wife, Carli Nash.
 

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Black Twitter is abuzz after rapper Drake dropped a bombshell that he dated singer SZA.

Drake made the confession in a verse on rapper 21 Savage's new song, "Mr. Right Now."

"Yeah, said she wanna f–k to some SZA, wait / Cause I used to date SZA back in '08 / If you cool with it, baby, she can still play."

Drake, 33, also revealed he once dated Caucasian actress Drew Barrymore over 10 years ago.

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After the song dropped on Friday, October 2, Black Twitter noticed that SZA appeared to unfollow Drake on Instagram.

"Now why'd drake have to bring sza's good name out like that," one social media user tweeted on Friday. The user adding "HES LYING YOUR HONOR" in a separate post.

For years, Drake fans assumed he was ghey because of his effeminate ways and Emo lyrics.

The Canadian rapper shocked fans when he impregnated an adult film star, Sophie Brussaux, and she bore him a son named Adonis, now 3.

Question: Are you surprised that Drake dated a Black woman?
 

21 Savage x Metro Boomin ft Drake - Mr. Right Now (Dirty)

SR rated: 2/5 roses

roses
 

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ATLANTA, GA (September 25, 2020) Music and entertainment icon Tip "T.I." Harris is celebrating his 40th birthday on Friday, Sept. 25, by releasing the self-directed visual for his latest single "Ring" feat. Young Thug, which premiered on a billboard in Times Square.

Directed by T.I. and Phillyflyboy, the vibrant music video features the two Atlantan trap stars out-styling each other. Released via Grand Hustle, the track is produced by DY Krazy and Chopsquad DJ.

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While ringing in his milestone birthday, T.I. has also formally announced that his highly anticipated 11th solo studio album - The Libra (The Legend Is Back Running Atlanta).

Marking nearly 20 years since his debut album, T.I. is continuing to deliver hits that resonate with fans across the world while serving as president of Grand Hustle Records, which has produced multiple breakout artists.
 

Tip "T.I." Harris - Ring ft. Young Thug

SR rated: 3/5 roses

roses
 

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Justin Bieber tapped Chance The Rapper for a feature on his gospel-themed track "Holy."

The music video features Justin as a down-on-his-luck oil refinery worker who is involved an interracial relationship. Actress Ryan Destiny plays his Black girlfriend.

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"I don't believe in nirvana, but the way that we love in the night gave me life, baby," Justin sings.

The NY Times calls the song "devotional R&B, blending themes of loyalty and faith with those of romantic commitment."
 

Justin Bieber - Holy ft. Chance The Rapper

SR rated: 2.5/5 roses

roses
 

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Alicia Keys released her seventh studio album, Alicia, on Friday. The project, which was originally scheduled for release in March, is Alicia's first studio album since 2016.

The list of collaborations include heavy hitters Jill Scott, Miguel, Snoh Aalegra, and Khalid.

The first singles off the album, "Time Machine", "Perfect Way to Die" and the reggae-infused tracks "Underdog" and "Wasted Time," were warmly received by Alicia's fans.

The album's standout songs include the piano driven tracks "You Save Me" (ft. Snoh Aalegra), "Truth Without Love," and the melodic "Show Me Love" (ft. Miguel).

Track Listing

 1. "Truth Without Love"

 2. "Time Machine"

 3. "Authors Of Forever"

 4. "Wasted Energy"

 5. "Underdog"

 6. "3 Hour Drive" (ft. Sampha)

 7. "Me x 7" (ft. Tierra Whack)

 8. "Show Me Love" (ft. Miguel)

 9. "So Done" (ft. Khalid)

10. "Gramercy Park"

11. "Love Looks Better"

12. "You Save Me" (ft. Snoh Aalegra)

13. "Jill Scott" (ft. Jill Scott)

14. "Perfect Way to Die"

15. "Good Job"
 

 

 

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Kanye West defended rap mogul Jay Z upon his return to Twitter on Friday following a temporary ban for sharing a journalist's phone number on his timeline.

Kanye, 43, tweeted screenshots of messages by blogger Akademiks, featuring the headline, "Jay Z Allegedly Sold Kanye's Masters to Get Own Masters Back."

"Don't let the system pit us against each other," Kanye tweeted on Friday. "JAY IS MY BROTHER ... I have eternal love for all artist that have been through and are still trapped this crooked system. Jay still doesn't get his own masters back for ten years. I will see to it that we all get our masters."

He added: "we will change the paradigm."

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Kanye, who is battling Universal Music Group for ownership of his masters, posted his entire contract on Twitter earlier this week.

Several music industry execs who read through the contracts concluded that Jay Z sold Kanye's first six albums in order to get his own masters back.

@lavidaNOTA, a South African label owner, wrote:

"Kanye contracts SUMMARY: Apart from the inducement which Kanye had to sign to get his advances. This shows that Jay Z sold the masters to first 6 @kanyewest's albums just so he could get his own back. He did so knowing Def Jam won't sell them back to Kanye in future. That's BEEF!

"[Kanye] owns album[s] 7-10 but the most lucrative and most critically acclaimed albums are owned by Roc-A-Fella which is wholly owned by Def Jam... The majors will never sell you your masters because that's what gives them market share and drives profits and Jay Z knew that."

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Now we know why Kanye West hates Jay Z with a passion. Kanye went on a Twitter rampage, posting his contracts and urinating on his Grammy Award.

@lavidaNOTA, who calls himself The Authority, is a South African record label owner who read over the contracts that Kanye posted on Twitter.com this week.

@lavidaNOTA writes, "I have 16-years experience in the music business... It took me all night to understand Kanye's contracts. Aspiring artists have no idea what they are getting themselves into. This is why it’s important to ask people who have been through it for advice!"

Apparently, Jay Z sold the masters to Kanye's first six albums just so he could get his own masters back.

"Kanye contracts SUMMARY: Apart from the inducement which Kanye had to sign to get his advances. This shows that Jay Z sold the masters to first 6 @kanyewest's albums just so he could get his own back. He did so knowing Def Jam won't sell them back to Kanye in future. That's BEEF!"

"[Kanye] owns album[s] 7-10 but the most lucrative and most critically acclaimed albums are owned by Roc-A-Fella which is wholly owned by Def Jam... The majors will never sell you your masters because that’s what gives them market share and drives profits and Jay Z knew that."

@lavidaNOTA says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey banning Kanye from Twitter had nothing to do with him posting a Forbes editor's phone number.

"Jack Dorsey aka @jack was jogging with Jay Z just a few weeks ago. Now Kanye is banned from tweeting for 12-24 hours. Sounds about rights!"

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Instagram

Dionne Warwick made a surprise appearance during Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle's Verzuz battle on Sunday night, as the trio performed their song "Superwoman."

Gladys and Patti, both 76, faced off during the social media clash, performing their respective hits, as 600,000 viewers tuned in for their battle, including Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson.

The musical powerhouses delighted fans with their vocal talents and their good natured exchange between songs.

But it was Dionne's appearance at the end of the clash that drew the most attention, with the 79-year-old joining Gladys and Patti to perform "Superwoman" - their 1991 single - and "That's What Friends Are For," which Dionne won the Grammy for song of the year and best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals in 1986.

"I haven't seen you guys in so long," Dionne commented as she joined Gladys and Patti on stage.

Other notable points during the evening included Patti kicking off her shoes to perform "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and also saying, "We all have to vote. Period, pooh."

The phrase comes from Black ghey slang and has gained popularity, thanks to hip-hop star Jaydawayda releasing a song called "Period Pooh" in 2019.

Gladys and Patti also gave shoutouts to Michelle Obama, saying she will be the next Black president.

Black Twitter reacted enthusiastically to the battle on Sunday. Many of them weren't born when the songs were released on vinyl and then CDs.

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Monday, September 7, marked 24 years since American rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur, born Lesane Parish Crooks, was shot multiple times by a gang member in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.

Tupac, stylized 2Pac, died on September 13, 1996 in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 25 years old.

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Fans remembered Tupac on the anniversary of his death on social media Monday. Many posted photos and lyrics in tribute of the fallen warrior. He is pictured above with his younger step sister Sekyiwa "Set" Shakur and god brother, rapper Yaki Kadafi, born Yafeu Akiyele Fula, who was accidentally shot in the head in 1996 at age 19.

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Tupac launched his rap career after moving from New York City to San Francisco Bay Area in 1988. He had achieved modest success by the time he released his debut album 2Pacalypse Now in 1991.

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Tupac was one of the pioneers of so-called gangsta rap that glorifies gang culture, sexual promiscuity, misogynistic lyrics, drug culture, sexism, and anti-homosexuality.

Gangsta rap would go on to have a negative impact on young Black boys who quoted Tupac's lyrics that promoted gang violence and degraded women.

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Understanding his impact on young Black youth, Tupac took his music in a different direction with the release of Me Against the World in 1995.

It was his third studio album and was considered his most introspective and thought-provoking work.

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The album included the hits "So Many Tears", "Temptations" and "Dear Mama," in tribute to his mother, Afeni Shakur, who died of a heart attack in 2016 at age 69.

Tupac prophesied his own death in the 2nd track off the album, titled "If I Die 2Nite."

    Going insane, never die, I live eternal, who shall I fear?
    Don't shed a tear for me, ni**a, I ain't happy here
    I hope they bury me and send me to my rest
    Headlines reading 'Murdered to death', my last breath.

 

 

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Irish-born rock legend Ian Mitchell has died at age 62, the Bay City Rollers confirmed in a social media post on Wednesday. He is pictured as a teen at the height of his fame in London, England in 1976.

The British musician's death was announced in a post on the band's official Facebook page, which read: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Ian Mitchell's death.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Wendy, their family and friends," they said, adding, "Rest In Peace, Ian."

The Bay City Rollers were considered the second coming of the Beatles in the 1970s. Their hit song "Saturday Night" was ignored for two years in Europe until the single hit No. 1 on the U.S. Hot 100 Billboard chart in 1976.

Bay City Roller-mania hit the United States like a tornado when the group arrive on U.S. shores in 1976. Medics and nurses were on duty at all venues because female fans fainted when the group toured the U.S. for the first time.

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Mitchell is pictured far right with bandmates (L-R back) Derek Longmuir and Leslie Mckeown, (L-R front) Eric Faulkner and Stuart "Woody" Wood in August 1976.

Ian, who unlike his bandmates hailed from Northern Ireland, was just 17 when he was recruited by the group to replace bassist Alan Longmuir. Ian spent just seven months with the band before leaving in late 1976 due to apparent infighting among its members. He was replaced by Pat McGlynn.

Ian went on to form the band Rosetta Stone before he quit in 1979. The group continued without him before parting ways in 1984.

In later years, he continued working on solo projects as well as joining in reunions for both the Bay City Rollers and Rosetta Stone.

No cause of death was disclosed.
 

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Keri Hilson was a fresh faced newcomer more than a decade ago when her record label told her to diss then-superstar Beyonce Knowles on a track.

In an interview with Claudia Jordan, Hilson recalled dissing Beyonce on her song "Turning M On" and how the fake beef hurt her spirit.

Hilson claims her label made her diss Beyonce, and she was too young and insecure to tell them no.

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Hilson, a 37-year-old Sagittarius, said she took a 9-year hiatus from music to heal herself due to clinical depression.

She said she contemplated quitting the business altogether. "I just knew I needed time to get back to myself."

Hilson said she was "incredibly" unhappy following the breakup of an 11-year relationship.

"I was 17 to 28 years old in that relationship, so I did not know life alone. I did not know and love and accept myself. I didn't know who the hell I was."
 

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Brandy Norwood (left) and her arch nemesis Monica will face off against one another on Timbaland and Swizz Beatz's next online Verzuz battle.

The two R&B singers, who topped the charts in 1998 with their smash hit "The Boy Is Mine," will face each other for the latest installment of the popular web series on August 31.

"#History," Brandy wrote on her account. "Thank you @monicadenise and @verzuztv for making this happen. Let's celebrate!!!!"

"This will be historical," Monica noted on her own account. "It's an honor @brandy."

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Monica (right) then encouraged fans to send in their requests:

"What songs would you all like to see us bring to @verzuztv !! Celebrating these catalogs is for the culture with love! From Young Women to Adult Women we've been with y'all! Name the songs you love."

The news comes amid drama between Monica and rap mogul Master P who dragged the mother-of-three for interfering in his brother Corey Miller's murder case.

Miller, 49, was convicted in 2009 of the shooting death of a 16-year-old fan at a nightclub in Louisiana. Miller maintained his innocence but was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

While Master P thanked social justice activist Kim Kardashian for her efforts to secure his brother's freedom, he called out Monica for using his family for clicks and views.

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Master P, born Percy Robert Miller, 55, took to social media to apparently shade Monica for jumping on the No Limit Chronicles bandwagon.

"I don't know you and I ain't trying to get to know you, just for the record," Master P told Monica in a scathing Instagram post.

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While Verzuz was started in March to keep fans entertained amid the Covid-19 lockdowns, viewers will be expecting the friendly competition to heat up between the pair, amid longstanding rumors of intense rivalry and arguments between the artists over the years.

Brandy and Monica will go head-to-head at 8 p.m. ET on Instagram/verzuztv and Apple Music.

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Rap fans can't get enough of Atlanta rapper KashKash's hit song "Throat Babies". Young woman packed a Georgia nightclub to see KashKash perform his hit on Tuesday.

Clearly, Covid-19 is a thing of the past in Atlanta. There wasn't a face mask in the house, as rap fans sang along to every word of the raunchy song.

In case you don't understand mumble rapping, here is the chorus:

    Sexy lil' b*tch, sexy lil' ho*
    I love the way you walk, love the way you talk
    Let a young ni**a come play in your throat
    Deep stroke your throat ’til I make you choke
    Throat babies, I'm tryna give ‘em to you

This is an open post where you can discuss any subject matter. This post will not be censored or moderated. Disqus may automatically moderate certain words considered offensive. There are no rules in Open Posts. So enter at your own risk.

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A$AP Ferg filmed a music video for his track "Green Juice" in New York City on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Yes, that's a hair headband he's wearing. It's the new trend in hairstyles that are designed to look like accessories.

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Ferg and his crew went mask-free for his music video that featured some of New York's finest dancers.

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Ferg recently released a new track featuring rappers Nicki Minaj rapper MadeinTYO. "Move Ya Hips" is Ferg's third collaboration with Nicki Minaj. They have had success in the past with Ferg's "Plain Jane" remix and "Runnin" from the Creed II soundtrack.

Nicki released her latest LP Queen in 2018. The rapper and her husband, Kenny Petty, are awaiting their first child together. Kenny already has 5 children from previous relationships.