Hip Hop News

J. Cole unveils the track list and producers for 'The Off-Season'

Universal Music Group

We're just hours away from the midnight release of J. Cole's highly-anticipated new album, The Off-Season.

On Thursday, the Dreamville rapper and CEO shared the track list and production credits for his sixth studio album. "Tracklist, Album at midnight," Cole wrote in the caption on Instagram.

The Off-Season features Cole's singles "interlude" and "the climb back," along with 10 other tracks. The featureless project is executive produced by Cole and his frequent production duo Ibrahim and T-Minus.

T-Minus, who produced "interlude," is among the 14 contributing producers on the album, including Jake One, Mario Luciano, Coleman, DJ Dahi, Frank Dukes, Tommy Parker, Tae Beast of Top Dawg Entertainment and Grammy-winners Boi-1da and Timbaland.

Are you ready for The Off-Season?


A post shared by Cole (@realcoleworld)

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Trae Tha Truth to receive the 'Billboard' Change Maker Award

Brian Stukes/Getty Images

Trae tha Truth will be honored with the Billboard Change Maker Award at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards later this month. 

The Texas rapper is the second recipient to receive this award following Killer Mike’s initial win last year for using music and "celebrity" status to impact change within their communities. 

"It's an honor to be recognized at the level that they are to come  to reach to somebody like myself that's in the field every day and still on the frontlines," Trae tells Billboard. "Definitely an honor and a humbling experience just being appreciated. You don't really do things like this for those reasons, but it's a bonus when people do actually value what you do."

This year's Billboard Change Maker Award has been turned into a charitable item through a partnership with the BBMAs first non-fungible tokens (NFT). Proceeds will be donated to Trae’s non-profit, Angel by Nature

Trae tha Truth is considered a man for the people, who provided relief in Houston through Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and marched in the name of justice for the deaths of Breonna Taylor and his friend George Floyd last year. 

The "Protect Our Women" rapper continues to make an impact with inspiration from Floyd and late artists, such as Nipsey Hussle, who was shot in 2019, and DMX, who died of a heart attack in April. 

"I feel like maybe it's a piece of each one of them that continues to find its way inside of me, that continues to make me stronger and accomplish more things because I haven't stopped," he continues. "And I don't think I'm planning on stopping no time soon."

Tune into the Billboard Music Awards airing live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on May 23 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'42' director Brian Helgeland says the late Chadwick Boseman "arrived ready"

Mark Sullivan/WireImage

Director Brian Helgeland recently chatted with Variety for the 20th anniversary of his rock music-flavored medieval film A Knight's Tale, which starred the late Heath Ledger.

But Helgeland also spoke about another gifted actor he worked with who died far too soon: Chadwick Boseman

Helgeland cast a then-unknown Boseman in his first lead role, as Jackie Robinson in the film 42, and the filmmaker recalled his first meeting, which was at the recommendation of his casting director, Victoria Thomas.

"[H]e was the second person I saw," recalls Helgeland. "He walked in the door, he read, he left. And I said to Vicki, 'A movie star just walked out of the room.'

"She said, 'Yeah, that’s why I brought him in.'"

The director explained that while others came to read for the iconic part -- some big names included -- his mind was made up.

"I knew it was going to be Chad," the director said. "He was just the guy. He was fantastic."

Helgeland said of Boseman, who died in August, after a secret, years-long battle with cancer, "He had done his homework, he was just waiting for his chance. He was ready. He arrived ready."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'The Game' gets reboot at Paramount+, Kevin Hart releases first children's book, 'Marcus Makes A Movie'; and more

Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

Paramount+ has given the greenlight to a ten-episode reboot of The CW and BET dramedy The Game. According to Deadline, the new show, which will relocate from San Diego to Las Vegas, will include original cast members Wendy Raquel Robinson and Hosea Chanchez in their original roles of sports agent Tasha Mack, and Chanchez, as footballer Malik Wright, respectively. The series will also have its creator,  Mara Brock Akil, back as executive producer, with additional cast members to make appearances.

In other news, Kevin Hart is set to release his first children's book, Marcus Makes A Movie. Releasing on June 1, the book, which was written for middle school readers, pulls from Hart's own experiences growing up in North Philadelphia. According to the publisher, Random House Books, Marcus Makes A Movie will be the first in a series and will have an audiobook narrated by Hart himself.

Meanwhile, Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company have teamed up to develop a film adaptation of Nicole Glover's The Conductors, Deadline has learned. Released back in March, the book follows Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia. After the war, Hetty and her husband, Benjy, solve murders and mysteries that "the white authorities won’t touch." There's no word on when production will begin.

Finally, Page Six reports that Tiffany Haddish could be the next daytime TV queen. According to the gossip site, Haddish is poised to become the next talk show star after Ellen DeGeneres announced on Wednesday she was ending her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, after 19 seasons. Haddish has not responded to the rumors.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Pervis Staples, co-founder of The Staple Singers, dead at 85

Pervis Staples, right, with The Staple Singers, circa 1970; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Pervis Staples, a founding member of the famous Chicago-based gospel and soul group The Staple Singers, died May 6, at his home in Dolton, Illinois, at age 85, Rolling Stone reports.

The Staple Singers were a family act formed by Pervis' father, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, and also originally featuring Pervis' sisters Mavis and Cleotha. Pervis, who sang backing vocals in the group, was replaced in 1968 by another sister, Yvonne.

Mavis paid tribute to her brother in a statement that reads, "Pervis was one of a kind -- comical and downright fly. He would want to be remembered as an upright man, always willing to help and encourage others. He was one of the good guys and will live on as a true Chicago legend."

The Staple Singers initially were a popular gospel act that took part in many civil rights rallies and protests, often with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The group eventually began recording secular soul and R&B music, and went on to score a series of major hits during the 1970s.

In journalist Greg Cot's 2014 book about Mavis and The Staple Singers, I'll Take You There, Cot noted that it was Pervis, who as a young man was friends with such soul greats as Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls, who encouraged his family group to move in a more secular direction during the 1960s.

After leaving the group, Pervis managed a Chicago act called The Hutchinson Sunbeams that later became The Emotions, and he also opened a successful Chicago nightclub.

Pervis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with The Staple Singers in 1998, and the group was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Pervis' death leaves Mavis as the last surviving Staple Singers member.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Here's why fans think Nicki Minaj and Rihanna are dropping new music

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Roc Nation

The Barbz are excited about Nicki Minaj’s return to social media earlier this week. Now, fans are rejoicing after noticing that Nicki and Rihanna followed each other on Instagram after unfollowing each other three years ago.

According to their separate accounts, the two megastars were also both spotted wearing the same heels in different colors. Many hope RiRi will make a guest appearance on Nicki’s new single dropping this Friday.

"@nickiminaj, are you and Rihanna besties again?" one fan tweeted, while another said, "I’m about 25% sold that this will happen. Nicki Minaj + Rihanna tomorrow?"

Meanwhile, another wrote, "...I’m ready for new Nicki Minaj music & if Rihanna wanna get her [stuff] together, I’d like to hear that as well."

Nicki and Rihanna have worked together on a number of tracks over the years including "Fly" from Nicki's debut album, Pink Friday, and "Raining Men" from Rihanna's Loud album. It’s unclear exactly why they unfollowed each other previously, but it falls around the timing of Nicki’s previous beef with "Shether" rapper Remy Ma in 2017. 

Nicki and Remy’s public beef led to Nicki’s diss track, "No Frauds," with Young Money CEO Lil Wayne and RiRi’s ex-beau, Drake.

Regardless of their past, it’s good to see Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, two of the music industry’s biggest stars, mend their differences.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Swizz Beatz and his son Egypt spend "a night out on the town" in Brooklyn

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Proud dad Swizz Beatz had an eventful Wednesday night with his 10-year-old son, Egypt

According to Instagram, the Verzuz co-creator and his offspring attended a Brooklyn Nets Game at the Barclays Center, where they got a front-row view of Kevin Durant on the court.

"Took Egypt out in Brooklyn for a night on the town with some great friends," Swizz wrote in the caption, sharing photos from their evening together. 

Swizz and Egypt met up with rapper A$AP Ferg, Pyer Moss’ founder Kerby Jean-Raymond, and director Anne Pasternak to visit the KAWS: WHAT PARTY exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum from artist and designer Brian Donnelly

"Thank you @KAWS for showing Egypt around your amazing show," Swizz continued in his Instagram Story. 

Egypt is the first son of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys. The couple married months before Egypt’s birth in October 2010 and welcomed their second son, Genesis, in 2014. Swizz has three children -- Kassem, Prince, and Nicole -- from previous relationships.

Swizz Beatz is just as enthusiastic about his family as he is about his late Ruff Ryder brother DMX, who died of a heart attack in April. Swizz serves as the executive producer of X's posthumous album, Exodus, which drops May 28th.


A post shared by Swizz Beatz (@therealswizzz)

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In heartbreaking Instagram video, Tank reveals he's going deaf, among other health issues

Atlantic Records

Fans and friends are sending up prayers for R&B singer Tank, who shared a shocking revelation about his health on Wednesday.

In an Instagram video, the "Can’t Let It Show" singer revealed that he's going deaf in one ear and suffering hearing loss in the other

. "I’m going through something right now and I want to use my situation to encourage your situation. I’m going completely deaf in my right ear and I’m kinda losing sound in my left," Tank said.

In addition to experiencing dizziness, he said he’s unable to walk a straight line, adding, "All of this out of nowhere, don’t know how or why."

Tank said he’s been seeing a doctor and taking medications, and shared his optimistic approach to the possibility that the diagnosis might affect his singing career.

"It still hasn’t given me a reason to give up. It still hasn’t given me a reason to stop feeling like I can do and be everything that I’ve set out to be,” Tank continued. "The goals are still the same: to be great, to be greatest."

He plans on documenting his journey in hopes to inspire others to "keep pushing" forward.

"No matter what you’re going through, no matter where you find yourself, whether your body’s failing you, whether your mind is failing you, whether your spirit is failing you, keep going. Keep pushing," he concluded.

Tank's comments were filled with dozens of loving words and prayer hand emojis from the likes of Taraji P. Henson, Mehcad Brooks, Melanie Fiona and Victoria Monét, as well as Tank's wife, Zena Foster.

"I love you babe and don't worry, I can talk louder," Zena wrote.


A post shared by Tank (@therealtank)

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Dionne Warwick laughs off online death hoax

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Contrary to what you may have seen online, Dionne Warwick is not dead, and the legendary artist proved it as only she could.

A Twitter user on Monday shared screenshot of of a YouTube video titles "The Life and Sad Ending of Dionne Warwick."

"According to Youtube, @dionnewarwick is dead," read the caption.

Two days later, on Wednesday, the 80-year-old singer responded to the tragic news with a simple "Oh no!"

Her fans hilariously responded to the hoax as well.

"I'm sorry you had to find out this way," joked one.

"Next time you see a tweet like this just walk on by," added another, referencing Warwick's classic 1964 hit.

Yet another follower quipped, "What about a proof of life concert?"

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Barry Jenkins and Kelvin Harrison Jr. explain why "triggering" projects on the Black experience are needed

Courtesy of Netflix; Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Barry Jenkins is giving voice to an important narrative with his Amazon series The Underground Railroad. Based on Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Jenkins believes his series captures more than just the trauma of those who wanted freedom, it allows for a space where we "recontextualize our ancestors and... honor them in our image."

"I think acknowledging the trauma... is not the same as celebrating the trauma," Jenkins tells ABC Audio. "It's not the same as sensationalizing the trauma. It's just acknowledging it. I think the other eight and a half hours [of the series] -- because only one and a half of these episodes take place in the plantation -- that's about survival. It's about victory. And I think that's the reason for these images to exist."

Like Jenkins, Kelvin Harrison Jr., who is the star of the Netflix drama Monster, sees the importance of telling both historical and contemporary stories on the Black experience no matter how triggering they may be. Harrison Jr. believes these projects are a way to "remind ourselves about what's going on."

"I think we can't become complacent and start to get comfortable," he says, before acknowledging there still needs to be a "balance."

"Everything in moderation," Harrison Jr. notes.  "We do need fun films. We do need things that kind of allow a place to escape... That's important. But also, the systems are still very corrupt and they've been built to oppress us. They've been built to use us and abused us as Black people."

"So to not be aware of those things, and to not be reminded and ignore it because it feels comfortable -- is ultimately our demise to an extent," he explains.

The Underground Railroad, starring Thuso Mbedu, is available on Amazon. Monster is streaming on Netflix.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Conway the Machine, Ludacris and J.I.D to perform on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'

Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Conway the Machine, Ludacris & J.I.D are set to perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Thursday.

The three rappers will perform their collaboration, "Scatter Brain," which was taken from Conway's latest album, La Maquina. It follows his previous projects, From King to a GOD and If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed.

Conway opens "Scatter Brain" rapping about making money in the streets before committing to his rap career. 

"I'm a street [guy], boy, you know the difference / Hand around the throat of the rap game," he raps, while Dreamville's J.I.D follows with bars about being "money-motivated."

Meanwhile, Luda dropped a few references to Creed II, Rick James and declared his status as a rap legend in the game.

"Bow down to rap's dignitary / 'Cause Luda always been a visionary / I always knew you was a [fake]/ So I just read your obituary," he raps.

Catch Conway the Machine, Ludacris & J.I.D on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Thursday at 11:35 p.m. on NBC, with guests Keegan-Michael Key and Zoey Deutch.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Nicki Minaj previews new music: "You see the bad guy?"

Steven Ferdman/WireImage

Nicki Minaj is not playing any games between teasing new music and breaking the internet every day this week.

On Wednesday, the Barbz queen announced her big plans to go live on Instagram Thursday at 11 p.m. ET. 

"You see the bad guy?," Nicki raps in a video of herself and husband, Kenneth Petty, riding in her 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

"It's the PINK Richard Mille 4 Me. Only 8 in the world. Anyway, be on time tomorrow night," she wrote in the caption of the video, which received nearly four million likes. 

Nicki Minaj wore the same pink Richard Mille watch she wore in another Instagram photo Monday, where she initially teased the release of her new single this Friday. The semi-nude photo received over 4.7 million likes and finds Nicki in pink crocs, covering her body with two pink heart pillows.

The "Yikes" rapper went viral again on Tuesday after sharing two photos of herself wearing a pink, orange and yellow skintight dress. In the caption, she quoted lyrics from her upcoming single, "Fractions."

"[Chicks] act like they want action, heard they want action, [chick] we ain't duckin' no action. I’m bout to giv’em dat traction, send a distraction— then ima line’em like FRACTIONS," Nicki wrote on Instagram.


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Billy Porter, EJ Johnson & more join cast of 'Proud Family'; Regina King to direct adaptation of 'Bitter Root, and more

Walt Disney Television/Yolanda Perez

Billy Porter, Zachary Quinto, and EJ Johnson have been added to the cast of the upcoming Disney+ animated series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.

Porter and Quinto will voice Randall and Barry Leibowitz-Jenkins, respectively, the mixed-race adoptive parents of 14-year-old activist Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins, voiced by Keke Palmer. Johnson will voice Michael Collins, Penny's best guy friend who's described as a non-conforming trendsetter. They join previously announced stars Kyla Pratt, Tommy Davidson, Paula Jai Parker and JoMarie PaytonThe Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is currently in production with an expected release in 2022 on Disney+.

In other news, Oscar winner Regina King has signed on to direct and produce the film adaptation of Bitter Root, Deadline reports. Based on the Image Comics series by David F. Walker, Sanford Greene and Chuck Brown, the feature, set during the Harlem Renaissance, follows the Sangeryes, a once-great family of monster hunters, who now "face an unimaginable evil that descends upon New York City." Details have yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, Janelle Monáe also has her next project. According to Variety, she's been added to the cast of Rian Johnson’Knives Out sequel at Netflix. Monáe joins Edward Norton, Dave Bautista and returning star Daniel Craig. Plot details are under wraps.

Finally, Wood Harris has signed on to an upcoming Los Angeles Lakers HBO drama series based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. Wood will play Spencer Haywood, the player who took the NBA to the Supreme Court and won the right to join the league before graduating college. His efforts essentially paved the way for future greats like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. A release dates has yet to be announced.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Toosii announces first U.S. headlining tour

Marc Cortes

New York rapper Toosii is ready to take the stage for his first-ever headlining tour in the U.S. 

On Wednesday, the "Shop" artist took to Instagram to share the dates for the tour he named after his latest project, Thank You For Believing

"I been waiting for this moment my whole life. I remember being on [Polo G] tour and DaBaby tour and @summerwalker tour just thinking one day, I’ll have my own tour. Y’all made this possible for me," Toosii wrote in the caption.

Toosii's Thank You For Believing Tour kicks off October 21st, in Tampa, Florida and hits major cities in the U.S. including Orlando, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Dallas and more. The run will also include shows at iconic venues such as New York City’s Webster Hall on November 2 and a final show on November 27 at The Ritz in Raleigh, NC.

Fans who use the code "TY4B" will receive a special discount on pre-sale tickets, which are available May 13 at noon ET at tour.toosii2x.com. General tickets will go on sale on Friday, May 14, at noon ET.

Toosii is also set to take his melodic talents to Miami's Rolling Loud concert on July 23, along with headliners A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott and Post Malone. 


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This is it for 'This Is Us': Show ending with upcoming sixth season

L-R - Brown, Hartley -- NBC

Although NBC is officially mum, The Hollywood Reporter says the network's award-winning drama series This Is Us will end with the upcoming sixth season. 

The show, which spans the decades following the Pearson family from the '80s to the present, stars Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore as Jack and Rebecca Pearson, respectively; and Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown play their children.

Brown, who plays adopted son Randall, earned an Emmy in 2017 for his work in the series, which has earned a trio of nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as acting nominations for Ventimiglia, Metz, Moore, and Chris Sullivan, who plays Metz's husband.

Additionally, Ron Cephas Jones earned a pair of Emmy trophies for guest roles on the show, in 2018 and 2020.

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