Hip Hop News

SZA reacts to landing her first solo 'Billboard' Hot 100 hit, "Good Days"

Blair CaldwellSZA is off to a great start in 2021, and now she's landed her first solo hit record on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her single, "Good Days," landed at #10 -- marking SZA's third top 10 on the chart overall. 

In a celebratory Instagram post, the R&B singer -- signed to Kendrick Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment label -- expressed her gratitude to "everyone" who contributed to the song's success. 

"I never saw this coming and I’m so grateful I don’t know what to say," she wrote. "I never even been top ten on my own. Thank you beyond thank you for...bonding with me in ways only we can describe. I'm so grateful to be able to connect with anyone or share pain, love, joy, healing, or heart space with anybody."

"[I'm] grateful to make music with people I genuinely love and respect," SZA continued. "God is everything. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT WAS A PART OF THIS RECORD !!! Specially angel @jacobcollier."

Featuring vocals from Jacob Collier, "Good Days" marks the second release from SZA's highly-anticipated sophomore album, which has yet to be announced. It follows the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted track, "Hit Different," and SZA's 2017 debut, Ctrl

Hip-hop executive and TDE president Punch said it's "a crazy feeling" watching SZA's climb to fame and fans appreciation for "quality" music. 

"It’s definitely a crazy feeling watching @sza's 'Good Days' move like it has been," wrote Punch on Instagram. "A top 10 record from a song SZA just wanted to throw out there, that was dedicated to her grandmother. It further confirms my convictions in being honest and true to yourself in the music. Quality is the goal. Appreciate everyone involved. Let’s keep going! #TDE."

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserve

Donald Trump pardons Kodak Black and Lil Wayne

Scott Dudelson/Getty ImagesKodak Black and Lil Wayne are among the people Donald Trump pardoned on his last day in office late Tuesday evening.

Fans on social media are excited about the possibility of Kodak's early release from federal prison. Last March, the rapper, born Bill Kahan Kapri, pled guilty to a firearms possession charge after being detained at the Canadian-American border in April 2019.  

In Kodak's case, a pardon would allow the Florida rapper to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences resulting from a criminal conviction.

This news comes months after Kodak reached out to the former President asking for his sentence to be commuted, in a petition obtained by TMZ last September.

Meanwhile, Wayne's pardon comes after the Grammy-winning artist subtly endorsed Trump for reelection last October by sharing a photo from their "meeting" together, which went viral on social media. 

The rapper, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was expected to appear for court later this month after pleading guilty in December 2020 to illegally possessing a loaded weapon and ammunition as a convicted felon while traveling to Miami on a private jet.

Wayne is prohibited by federal law from owning a firearm due to his eight month sentence in Rikers Island for a felony weapons charge in 2010.

For these new charges, Wayne was facing 10 years in federal prison. The charges stemmed from the day of Dec. 23, 2019, when was an anonymous tip led Miami police officers and federal agents to search and find a gold-plated .45-caliber gun in Wayne's bag, in addition to other belongings. 

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Vanessa Bryant shares never-before-seen photos of Kobe when celebrating daughter Natalia's 18th birthday

Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty ImagesTalk about one proud mama. Vanessa Bryant is flooding her daughter, Natalia, with tons of love on her 18th birthday. 

On Tuesday, Vanessa took to Instagram to wish a happy birthday to her eldest daughter. She didn't just make one birthday post, though. The proud mother dedicated six posts to Natalia, two of which included throwback photos with her late father, Kobe Bryant, who died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and several others in a helicopter crash nearly a year ago on January 26. 

"Dear Natalia, Happy Birthday!" Vanessa, 38, in her first post. "Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives."

She also thanked her daughter for "stepping in to help" with her sisters Bianka, 4, and Capri, 1.

"Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people," she continued. "Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter."

She concluded, "We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa! Love always, Mommy, Daddy, Gigi, BB and Koko."

Alongside another post that showed Kobe, Vanessa, and a young Natalia on the Lakers basketball court, she gushed, "We love you so much! Happy birthday Natalia!!!! Our first born."

And, a third tribute with Natalia being held in her father's arms, was captioned, "Daddy’s little princess, Natalia."

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Leslie Odom Jr. says he wanted to "honor" the "firebrand" that was Sam Cooke in 'One Night in Miami'

Photo: Patti Perret/Courtesy of Amazon StudiosLeslie Odom Jr. says he wanted to "honor" legendary singer Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami by showing a never-before seen side of him.

"I thought the best way that I could honor Sam was to tell the truth about who he was," Odom Jr. tells ABC Audio. "Black celebrity -- celebrity in general -- back then was so carefully manicured. There was only about [so] much that American society was willing to accept from a celebrity. And Sam understood that."

"And so, there are sides of himself that he just knew not to show as a businessman," he continues. "And Kemp [Powers], with this script, wanted to have a private conversation publicly and that was daring."

Based on Powers' stage play of the same name, the film centers on a fictional meeting between Cooke, Malcolm XJohn Brown, and Muhammad Ali following the boxer's 1964 win over Sonny Liston. Odom Jr. says the "point of views expressed by the men... ring true" because of Powers' careful research.

"It is very likely that a conversation like this would have happened on that night or some other night," he says.

Odom Jr. also believes that when it came time to highlight Cooke, Kemp made sure to write him authentically. 

"Kemp writes Sam as a firebrand because that's what he was," he explains. "Sam didn't take no mess. That's not what he showed because you couldn't really show that. For [Sam's] image and his brand it was about being unflappable and charming. And he just wouldn't have showed the side that Kemp has written in this film."

"And so, I just knew the best way to honor Sam was to honor that side of him," Odom Jr. adds. 

One Night in Miami, directed by Regina King, is available on Amazon Prime.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Laila Odom admits Pepa and Will Smith's date scene was "cut" from Lifetime's 'Salt-N-Pepa' biopic

Courtesy of LifetimeLaila Odom says the "most important thing" she considered when filming Lifetime's upcoming biopic, Salt-N-Pepa was portraying the legacy of Sandra "Pepa" Denton and not making a film about Pep's dating life. 

"That's not what it's about," she tells ABC Audio. "We're not here to gossip. We're here to give these women their flowers and talk about how wonderful and talented they are."

The Salt-N-Pepa biopic follows the early years of Cheryl "Salt" James and Pepa as the trailblazing female rap group. The film does offer background on Pep's past relationship with the father of her adult son, Tyran, and her marriage to rapper Treach, with whom she shares 22-year-old daughter, Egypt

Odom says an unexpected date scene between Pep and Will Smith was removed from the final version. "It got cut from the film but Will Smith and Pep were supposed to go on a date," she added.

She felt including that scene would show Pep had other choices in men in the 1990s, at the time she was maintaining her rap career and being a full-time mother.

"In this scene she's using that as fuel to kind of let Treach know, like not only you want me like other men want me and they bomb, too. So that's that's where that comes from," Odom continues. "It's not messy. We know that this is a while ago, but so many people don't know they were supposed to date." 

The biopic will feature some of Salt-N-Pepa's famous songs, including "Shoop" and "Push It." Actress GG Townson will play James, and Monique Paul stars as Deidra "DJ Spinderella"Roper, who no longer performs with the group.

Salt-N-Pepa premieres Saturday, January 23 at 8 p.m. EST on Lifetime.

By Rachel George 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

A$AP Rocky awards Lil Baby, Young Thug and Lil Durk with Yammy Awards

ABC In honor of the recently-delayed Grammy Awards, A$AP Rocky held his own ceremony, dubbed, the Yammy Awards, as part of the virtual Yams Day 2021. 

On Monday night, the A$AP Mob rap collective awarded a number of artists, "who we and the people feel honestly earned and deserved it." 

Grammy-nominated Lil Baby made a virtual appearance to accept the the Yamborghini High Award. "I want to shoutout to A$AP Rocky, the whole A$AP fam. I want to thank y'all for the Yamborghini High Award," said the "Bigger Picture" rapper during a virtual appearance. 

Young Thug received the Hella Flows Award, most likely for his unique repetition of song lyrics and clever wordplay, as heard on his latest track, "Take It 2 Trial." 

And last but not least, newly Grammy-nominated rapper Lil Durk was honored with the New Level Award. His melodic performance on Drake's "Laugh Now, Cry Later" earned him two Grammy nods at the upcoming 2021 Grammy Awards in March. 

Nominees for The Ladies Award -- which has yet to be announced -- include a blend of newcomers and heavyweights such as Cardi B, Flo Milli, Mulatto, City Girls, Saweetie, Princess Nokia, Rico Nasty and Young M.A. 

The virtual Yams Day 2021 was held in honor of A$AP Yams, the 26-year-old co-founder of A$AP Mob who died on Jan. 18th, 2015. Yams is responsible for jumpstarting Rocky's career, as well as "Plain Jane" rapper A$AP Ferg

In case you missed it, the Yammy Awards ceremony is available now on YouTube. The video features clips of A$AP Yams and previews new music from A$AP Rocky.

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Watch Pop Smoke's acting debut in new trailer for 'Boogie'

Tracy Awino/Bleacher ReportNext March, fans will get a closer look at the acting debut of late rapper Pop Smoke in the film, Boogie

On Tuesday, Focus Features production company unveiled the film's trailer, which also stars Taylour Paige, who recently starred in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Boogie follows the coming-of-age-story of Alfred "Boogie" Chin, an Asian-American living in Queens, New York with dreams of playing in the NBA. In addition to school and a new relationship, Chin's parents push him to obtain a scholarship at an elite college, while he prepares for a big game against his rival, Monk, played by Pop.

"No one believes in an Asian basketball player," says Chin, as the late Pop Smoke’s "Got It On Me" plays in the background. "It’s a joke in this country. We can cook, clean, count real good, but anything else, we’re picked last."

Boogie marks the directorial debut of acclaimed writer and TV personality, Eddie Huang, who also executive produced ABC's Fresh Off the Boat. It was filmed prior to Pop's death in February 2020. The "Woo" rapper was shot and killed during a home invasion in Hollywood Hills, where he was staying. 

Months after his death, 50 Cent executive produced the rapper's posthumous debut album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, which was released in early July. A deluxe edition was released later on what would have been Pop's 21st birthday on July 20th. 

Boogie hits theaters March 5. 

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

NAACP Image Awards rescheduled to March 27

Courtesy of BETThe NAACP has officially pushed back the 52nd Annual Image Awards ceremony from its original February 20, 2021 air date.

In a statement on Tuesday, the NAACP revealed that the live BET broadcast of the awards will now air in March.

“After careful consideration and guidance from health experts and state and local government, we have decided to reschedule the 52nd NAACP Image Awards to March 27, 2021," the statement reads. "As COVID-19 continues to ravage our country, particularly the African-American community, it is our utmost priority to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our staff, production teams, nominees, and all talent involved in this year’s awards ceremony."

"We look forward to uplifting and celebrating our rich culture and the outstanding achievements of our nominees when it is safe to do so and we appreciate everyone’s understanding during these unprecedented times,” the message concludes.

Celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts and those who promote social justice through their creative work, the NAACP Image Awards is a celebration of Black excellence. Previous attendees have included Rihanna, Lizzo, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Marsai Martin, and Viola Davis.

This year's nominees, in the categories of television and streaming, music, literature, film, and activism, will be announced on Wednesday, February 3rd.

The 52nd Annual Image Awards ceremony will air live on BET on March 27, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dave East addresses the naysayers, channels Tupac's 'Juice' character in "Child of the Ghetto" video

Dej Jam RecordingsDave East returns with a music video for his new anthem, "Child of the Ghetto."

The tracks flips G.Dep's 2001 single of the same name and finds the Harlem rapper addressing the naysayers who claim he's a changed man.

"A Child of the Ghetto nobody explained it to me/ I never fold I never bend, that's the gangsta in me/ another daughter in my life I'm so thankful to see / "[They] love to say I changed, when they changed up on me," East raps.  

The video takes us back to the 90's with recreated scenes from the cult classic film Juice, which starred Tupac and Omar Epps. East takes on Tupac's character, Bishop, while his crews takes on the role of Bishop's friends Q, Steel and Raheem, the latter role played by Khalil Kain, who also makes a cameo in the video. Other scenes include rap legend, AZ from hip-hop supergroup The Firm

Dave East ended 2020 on a great note after releasing the third installment to his Karma mixtape series in August, followed by a deluxe version in October. Last November, East welcomed his second daughter, Kobi Chanai, with his girlfriend Milagrito Colon. The couple's first daughter, Kairi Chanel, turns five on March 19th.

(Video contains uncensored profanity.)

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jazmine Sullivan and H.E.R. to take the stage for the 2021 Super Bowl LV pregame show

Myesha Evon Gardner"Girl Like Me" collaborators Jazmine Sullivan and H.E.R. are bringing their powerhouse vocals to one of the biggest stages this year at Super Bowl LV.

On Tuesday, the NFL announced Sullivan and country singer Eric Church will sing the "The Star-Spangled Banner" as part of the pregame festivities at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay next month. 

Jazmine follows in the steps of past national anthem performers including Demi Lovato, Gladys Knight, Beyoncé, Luke Bryan, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and more.

H.E.R. will perform "America the Beautiful" during the pregame festivities. She also joins the ranks of past "America the Beautiful" performers such as Leslie Odom Jr. and Yolanda Adams, the latter of whom sang the classic song at last year's Super Bowl. As previously announced, The Weeknd will headline the Pepsi halftime show. 

Super Bowl LV airs February 7 at 6 p.m. ET on CBS.

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Cassie details "unexpected" second pregnancy and shares her food craving of choice

Leon Bennett/Getty ImagesCassie is expecting her second child with her husband, Alex Fine. The couple already share a 13-month-old daughter, Frankie

The singer, model and actress says finding out she was pregnant a second time during the pandemic was definitely "one of those oh-[snap]-moments!"

"It was totally unexpected, but we're so excited!" Cassie tells Babe by Hatch. "I love that Frankie's going to have a sibling super close in age. Plus, we're home so much now anyway, and my entire house is all 'baby,' so in that sense, the timing is ideal."

She admitted she's making "smarter" food choices during this pregnancy but whipped cream has "naturally" become her craving of choice.

"Actually, better yet, the other day I had Cool Whip with old-school Nilla Wafers," Cassie continues. "With Frankie, I ate everything. Literally, whatever I craved, I ate. In contrast, with this one, I'm making smarter choices. I'm prioritizing eating salads with lots of protein."

The soon-to-be mother of two says she's also upped her workout routine, including walks around the house, gym sessions with her husband and running after Frankie, which she calls "the biggest workout of them all."

"Right now, I can't imagine what it will be like to have two babies in the house," Cassie said. "We have our little routine -- we wake up, eat, play, nap -- and I'm trying to wrap my mind around how it will be to add a new person to the mix."

Cassie adds, "But after this, I need my body back for a minute before even considering another."

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Teyana Taylor claps back after being accused of copying other fashion designers

Paras Griffin/Getty ImagesIt was only last month that Teyana Taylor stepped up from brand ambassador to creative director of the fashion retail brand Pretty Little Things, and she's already facing an issue. 

Over the weekend, a Black designer, who goes by the Twitter name @AnifaM, shared a side-by-side picture of a dress she says she designed next to a similar-looking dress on PLT's website. 

After making their own comparisons, Twitter fans began accusing Taylor of "stealing from other black people," which prompted a response from the multi-hyphenated star. 

"First off how are u going to ASSUME I have anything to do with this?" asked Taylor on Monday. "My position barely started! I JUST announced my new title only a month ago, I have not even officially started my CD role as of yet. So check ya self & most IMPORTANTLY ya tone before u come at me loud & wrong."

Taylor then retweeted another fan, who said, "See what I don’t understand is.... @TEYANATAYLOR literally bothers nobody, why come for her?"

This isn't the first time PLT has been accused of copying the work of other designers. Earlier this month, Twitter users pointed out the brand's "newsprint" design dresses, which fans believe resembles the work of British designer John Galliano, who served as creative director of Dior from 1996 to 2011.

One fan wrote, "So prettylittlething ha[s] a bunch of stuff on their website that’s 'newsprint.' We all associate that with Galliano and Dior. Do they have the right to print his name on these garments knowing that’s where the likeness literally comes from?"

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Patti LaBelle and The Clark Sisters to perform for Biden at 59th Inaugural National Prayer Service

Getty Images/Getty Images for Capitol ConcertsThe Godmother of soul, Patti LaBelle, and legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters are among the artists set to perform at the 59th Inaugural National Prayer Service Thursday, the day after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president. 

The traditional prayer service dates back to the first inauguration for President George Washington.  Hosted by the Washington National Cathedral,  the service this year will include prayers, readings, blessings and hymns from interfaith leaders and celebrated artists, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.  It will also feature "other inspiring voices who will come together to mark the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future."

The event will also feature a performance from Josh Groban and a sermon delivered by Bishop William J. Barber II.

Due to COVID-19, the 59th Inaugural National Prayer Service will be virtual and live-streamed Thursday at 10 a.m. ET at BidenInaugural.org/watch and Cathedral.org.

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Bow Wow reacts after Houston mayor calls him out for partying

Marcus Ingram/WireImageAfter being called out by a Texas mayor, Bow Wow has a few words of his own. 

Over the weekend, the rapper, born Shad Moss, held a concert in Houston which the city's mayor, Sylvester Turner, didn't seem too fond of given that the COVID-19 pandemic is still on-going. 

"These events that are scheduled with @BowWowPromoTeam today in Houston are on our radar," he tweeted on Sunday. "Other bans/clubs that are operating as restaurants, beyond capacity and social distancing requirements, please expect visits. Today we report 1964 new cases and 17 more deaths."

Bow didn't take nicely to being the only one called out, though. The 33-year-old replied, "Mr. Mayor…why you blaming me though? Like this is crazy."

"You acting like this was a Bow Wow weekend. Why you singling me out? I’m asking respectfully," he continued. "I’m just the easy target? I’m the celeb that gets the most attention so its easy to just put it on me?"

In an Instagram Story, alongside a photo of the mayor's tweet, Bow added, "Someone tell the mayor of Houston TX I'm leaving right now geeeeez. He singling me out as if I was the only celeb here this weekend this is ridiculous."

Over on Twitter, he claimed that Turner "hates" his guts, which the mayor denied in a tweet on Monday. 

"Let me be very clear. I don’t dislike @BowWowPromoTeam. While the city is in the midst of this pandemic nearly 2000 infected and 17 dying yesterday, this is not the time for concerts," the mayor explained. "Help us get past this virus and then do your thing. The same for other bars & clubs."

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie lands himself in stinky situation for allegedly clogging rental home's toilets

Arik McArthur/Getty ImagesA new report about A Boogie Wit da Hoodie might make landlords reconsider renting out their properties to the rapper.

NorthJersey.com reports that the 25-year-old, born Artist Julius Dubose, was sued for a quarter million dollars for wrecking havoc on a New Jersey mansion's plumbing.

DuBose stands accused by the Mahwah couple who owns the $3.3 million dollar rental of creating massive clogs in the toilets, which caused sewage to come up through the property's floorboards.

According to papers filed in Hackensack Superior Court, the "Bleed" rapper left "bathroom toilets clogged and overrun by sewerage material which penetrated through the floors and damaging ceilings below."

That's not all DuBose stands accused of doing in the lawsuit, which claims he also left behind "carpets cut out and mismatched pieces replaced damages, stains and tears throughout."

The laundry list of bad deeds goes on, finally ending with allegations that he abandoned "two vehicles" on the property.

The mansion's owners are asking for $263,592 to cover the "extensive damage," the suit alleges and claims DuBose "left [the property] unable to be leased until extensive repairs were conducted."

DuBose not his rep have responded to the claims.

The suit follows the rapper's other brush with the law after he was arrested in New Jersey on drug and weapons charges following an investigation of a nightclub shooting.

A later search of DuBose's home yielded four firearms, which were seized.

Investigators also uncovered "hollow point bullets, various high capacity magazines, marijuana, hashish oil edibles and drug paraphernalia."

It is illegal to possess hollow point bullets in New Jersey and state law lists it as a fourth degree crime.  Those guilty of possession face up to 18 months in state prison.

By Megan Stone 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Report: Trump expected to pardon Lil Wayne

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBOLil Wayne may be in luck when it comes to his legal woes. 

According to sources familiar with the White House operation, the rapper, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., is expected to be included on the list of people President Donald Trump plans to pardon before he leaves office. An attorney for Carter declined to comment. 

Wayne met President Trump in Florida in October 2020 before the presidential election and tweeted a photo of the meeting. 

"Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus," he wrote. "Besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done."

A pardon would allow a person to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences resulting from a criminal conviction. In Lil Wayne's case, this would take care of the current federal gun charges he's facing. 

In December 2020, the "A Milli" artist plead guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon while traveling on his private plane during the 2019 Christmas season. 

After receiving an anonymous tip, federal authorities conducted a search of the 38-year-old's plane after he landed in South Florida from California At the time, Wayne told officers that he had a gun in his bag.  A subsequent search revealed cocaine, ecstasy, oxycodone, a loaded, gold-plated .45-caliber handgun and six rounds of ammunition. 

Because Lil Wayne previously served eight months in Rikers Island for a felony weapons charge in 2010, he's prohibited by federal law from owning a firearm.

Wayne's sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 28.  If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Ice-T reflects on how he went from robbing banks as troubled youth to starring on 'Law & Order: SVU'

Heidi Gutman/NBCIce-T just marked his 22nd year playing NYPD Sergeant Finn on the NBC drama Law & Order: SVU.  The actor says he still counts his blessings, saying he was a troubled youth who used to run from police who now plays a respected officer on screen.

Speaking Monday on Straight Up Steve Austin, Ice-T exclaimed, "Playing a police! How the [hell]?"

"I went on the show to do four episodes, man. Here it is, we're starting the 22nd season. I can't really explain it," the rapper furthered, who says he loves what he does.  "It's fun because of the work environment."

Ice T, whose real name is Tracy Lauren Marrow, shared a story about how he bonded with the cast and crew -- admitting that he had a rough time fitting in at first.

"When I first got on the show I was with Richard Belzer. And I was there for about three months and they were like, 'Well, Ice, you're not bonding with the group.' Meaning I guess they didn't think I was gonna go out to lunch with them and all that. I was just saying my lines," he reminisced.

Ice-T, 62, explained how he changed his dynamic with stars Mariska HargitayChristopher MeloniDann Florek and Belzer, revealing, "I said 'I used to rob banks. I don't need to like you guys.'"

"'I just need to know you know how to drive, you know how to control the room, you know how to go in the safe, you know how to listen to the radio. Guess what? After we rob some banks, we'll be the best friends in the world,'" the Grammy winner recalled telling them, which was a breakthrough conversation because "We've been robbing the bank for 22 years!"

By Megan Stone 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jazmine Sullivan says Cardi B and Lizzo served as influences on her album, 'Heaux Tales'

Myesha Evon GardnerJazmine Sullivan says her new album, Heaux Tales, was influenced by "a few women today that I felt like were busting through those barriers and helping me feel more confident in who I am."

In an NPR interview, the R&B vocalist unveiled who served as inspiration for her fourth project. 

"I've talked about Cardi B — my first time seeing her online, the things that she says were so funny to me. It was just completely who she was. And also Lizzo, who represented for us big, beautiful Black women. I was so proud of her for telling the world that she loves herself," she said. 

"Even if you do love yourself, I feel like some people may try to hide it because they don't feel like everybody else will get with it, but [Lizzo] just put it out there," she continued. "It inspired me to get on that track, and want to continue to help women bust the barriers down."

Heaux Tales marks Sullivan's long-awaited return after 2015's Reality Show. The 33-year-old said taking "breaks when needed...helped" her transformation and creative process, but she wouldn't do it again. 

"I know that I wouldn't take as long now because of the things that I've been through in my personal life. My mom getting cancer a year ago. And even with COVID-19, time for me is a little more precious now that I have gone through those things," she said. "I don't know what tomorrow brings, and I wouldn't want to lose so much of my time. I wouldn't take as long as the breaks I've taken."

Heaux Tales is out now, featuring Sullivan's singles, "Lost One" and "Pick Up Your Feelings," which peaked at the 9th and 15th spot on Billboard's Hot R&B songs, respectively. 

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

Stevie Wonder posts video message for the late Martin Luther King Jr. addressing ongoing US racial issues

Dante MarshallOn Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Stevie Wonder has posted an emotional video message reciting an open letter to the late civil rights leader commenting on the continued racial troubles plaguing the U.S., particularly in light of the recent storming of the Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Trump.

"Dear Dr. King, I met you when I was 14 years of age. You were a true hero and you became an inspiration," Wonder begins. "I've been blessed to write songs of love, hope and motivation, many of them inspired by your life...I want you to know that I'm thankful how you influenced my place of love, which allowed me to try to push the needle of love and equality forward."

Stevie, who was involved in the campaign to make King's birthday a federal holiday, then laments, "It is painful to know that the needle has not moved one iota. For 36 years, we've had a national holiday honoring your birthday and principles, yet you would not believe the lack of progress."

Wonder then lists a number things that he's "sick of," including "some people using God for a convenience rather than a commitment," "lies and deceit that dominate our reality" and "that truth is struggling to be heard and defended."

Later on, Stevie declares, "We need a truth commission that forces this country to look at its lies. I'm calling on President Biden and Vice President Harris to launch a formal government investigation to establish the truth of inequality in this country."

He adds, "We cannot be afraid to confront a lie and a liar. Those in leadership who won't or don't acknowledge the truth should be held accountable."

Wonder then pledges "to have the courage to say what I see and acknowledge what I hear."

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Trey Songz and Fabolous concert shut down due to overcapacity concerns amid COVID-19

Atlantic Records

Trey Songz and Fabolous were all set to make an appearance at a Houston nightclub Saturday before fire marshals shut down the party. 


Houston's ABC 13 reports about 200 people were waiting in line to enter Club Spire, which was already packed beyond capacity inside, according to the city's Fire Marshal's office. 

"If there was an emergency, a fire or something that would have occurred inside, we would have had a massive loss of life because the means of entry," said Fire Chief Samuel Pena. "The exits were blocked."

Some of the individuals waiting in line traveled as far as New Orleans for an event called "The Black Affair," hosted by both Songz and Fabolous. The club's management decided to close for the night, opting not to re-open within capacity guidelines, according to Pena. 

Neither Trey Songz or Fabolous has yet to address the event. By Sunday, Fabolous was spotted in G5 Nightclub in Miami, according to Instagram. 

While the backlash heated up on social media, fans began to criticize both rappers, as well as Bow Wow, who performed at another Houston party. A Twitter video shows Bow performing his song, "Like You," for a packed crowd of club-goers, with only two mask-wearing patrons in sight.

"Imagine getting COVID-19 and possible dying because you went to see Bow Wow!" wrote one fan, while another wrote,"Y’all risking your lives for a Bow Wow and Trey Songz & Fabulous concerts pls."

Texas has 2,127,111 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 32,600 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

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