British MC ‘Giggs’ Speaks about the Rise of British Music

Since signing to XL in 2010, Nathaniel ‘Giggs’ Thompson has released three albums and worked with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Mike Skinner, B.o.B, and JME. Currently there is a lot of attention being directed at British MC’s and Giggs attributes that to the fact that they have stopped trying to “fit in” with other countries styles, and started to respect themselves, and form their own style.
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“When I was Younger I Dreamed of Flying” CASEY VEGGIES [Countdown to 2042]

Incredibly, Casey Jones, better known by the hip hop moniker Casey Veggies, is only twenty years old. This may not strike some people as particularly noteworthy. There are, after all, plenty of twenty year olds in the world. However, there are far fewer twenty year olds who have been founding members of an internationally famous hip hop collective, started their own clothing line, or been co-signed by the likes of Mac Miller, Roc Nation, and music industry legend Sylvia Rhone. Casey Veggies has done all of these things. By the time he graduated high school, Casey had released multiple mixtapes, including his debut Customized Greatly Vol. 1 at the age of 14, founded the aptly named and highly successful clothing brand Peas & Carrots International, and helped found Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Today, he is working on his debut studio album and continues to grow both the Peas & Carrots and Casey Veggies brands. We caught up with Casey at his Inglewood studio to talk about why diversity excites him, how he’s a dreamer, and why you should travel abroad.
 

 
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“We Got a Lot of Heat”: Lil Debbie on White Girl Mob and Diversity in the Music Industry [Countdown to 2042]


 
Rapper and fashion designer Lil Debbie rose to fame as part of the Oakland-based White Girl Mob, starring alongside fellow white woman rappers Kreayshawn and V-Nasty in viral hits like “Gucci Gucci.” Since those days she’s struck out on her own and moved to Los Angeles. Since hooking up with controversial, eccentric rapper/entertainer/pop culture icon RiFF RaFF, Lil Debbie has created multiple million view hits, including “SQUiRT” and “2-Cups.” A new EP, “California’s Sweetheart,” is scheduled for Fall of 2013. We caught up with Lil Debbie at the Orange County Observatory to chat about the challenges of being a white woman rapper, the difference between the Bay and Los Angeles, and diversity in the music industry.
 
If you like this interview, don’t forget to subscribe for more like it, including interviews with RiFF RaFF, George Clinton, and Talib Kweli.
 
Photo from simstaplease.tumblr.com.

Harry Belafonte Not Backing Down in Jay Z Beef


 
If you haven’t been following the beef between rapper Jay Z and civil rights-era icon Harry Belafonte, it seems it’s not too late to start. For those who haven’t been watching the spat, the feud began with awkwardly quoted statements made by Belafonte about the role and responsibilities of black celebrities today.
 

…I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

 
Jay Z responded on his recent album “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” telling the widely-venerated 86-year old to “Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now.” He followed that up in an interview to Rap Radar with the following explanation.
 

I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope.

 
Now, Mr. Belafonte has clarified his position in an interview with “Only the Uber Urban.” However, this clarification doesn’t soften the historic figure’s position one bit. He has the same message for modern black celebrities, and the Carter clan, as he has from the start. Check out the video to see what Mr. Belafonte has to say, and let us know what you think of this slow burning feud in the comments. Will Jay answer back? Is Belafonte right about today’s black celebrities?
 
Photo from AllHipHop.com.

1/2 on A Baby : Noa James & Lesa J [a MMXLII original web series]

This week we have something new – “1/2 on a Baby,” the latest series from MMXLII (pronounced “mix-lee,”) the brainchild of Ted Chung, co-founder of Stampede Management and Cashmere Agency.  MMXLII’s name, the Roman numerals for 2042, represents the year that America will become a minority majority country – one without any ethnic majority.

With “1/2 on a Baby” we want to see what that change means for real people.  We’re finding people who have come together, in spite of, or maybe because of, their differences, and asking them the questions that are hard to ask but too important to be ignored.  What does it mean to share a life, a company, or a vision with someone from a totally different background?  How do you overcome those differences?  What do you gain from them?

We start our series by posing those questions to rapper and music promoter Noa James and his partner Lesa.  Noa and Lesa couldn’t have come from more different backgrounds – he didn’t find out about his Haitian background until the age of twelve. She’s one of the few American speakers of Lao, raised by a tight-knit Laotian American family.  Today the two live and work together in California’s Inland Empire  where they organize and promote the weekly Common Ground,   as well as numerous shows in Pomona. Lesa runs the  Brick to Ya Face blog, and Noa is part of the Black Cloud Music label. Next year the two will be married at Paid Dues.

At MMXLII Noa and Lesa’s story got us thinking about the different structures of different families, and how those differences play out in people’s lives. We’d love to hear what you took away from their relationship.

Shout out to Noa & Lesa for lending themselves so gracefully to this candid exercise.

Muhammad Yunus’ Q&A w/ USA Today

This man was chosen for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his ability to help reduce poverty in Bangladesh by loaning as little as $30 for people to start their own businesses. Now he has a new initiative called “social businesses” that even exists in the United States. Could he change the world. Read his Q&A as he discusses his Nobel Peace Prize winning endeavor and his new initiative. Read More

Streisand: Women Haven’t Come Far Enough in Hollywood [VIDEO]

Recently we’ve made note of the accomplishments women have been making as far as trying to level the playing field with men. In many countries that have prohibited women from participating in various things, we’ve seen those barriers broken. That doesn’t mean that everything is perfect now. In a recent discussion about her achievements and the barriers she’s broken, Barbra Streisand speaks up about women still having a ways to go in Hollywood. Hear her thoughts after the jump. Read More

Talking Tech | Students and Facebook Home [VIDEO]

We made a bit of a commotion over the ad for Facebook Home but our opinion on an ad isn’t going to sway people to buy or not buy. With that said we’re curious as to how the people feel about it. Since Millennials are most inclined to use such a phone what better way to get an idea of what they think then to head to a college campus and hear from them. So along comes USA Today to do just that, see what they found out. Read More

Jeremy Lin on 60 Minutes [VIDEO]

You’ve seen us reference Jeremy Lin and “Linsanity” a number of times but it’s hard for his story to get old because it hasn’t really been seen before. So with our newest Lin update we bring to you his segment on 60 Minutes that aired over the weekend. In case you missed it just hit the jump. Read More