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Houston Rappers Talk George Floyd's Musical & Community Legacy

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

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Houston Rappers Talk George Floyd's Musical & Community Legacy

Floyd was known as Big Floyd in Houston's legendary Screwed Up Click, the crew of rappers who threw down bars for DJ Screw's game-changing "Screw Tape" mixtapes

GRAMMYs/Jun 4, 2020 - 04:33 am

The world has been shook by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. In the wake of his death, which followed the racist killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbrey, protesters around the country, as well as beyond our borders in London and around the world, have stood up against racial injustice experienced by Black people. Before Floyd's life was taken all too soon, he was a man loved by the countless people he lifted up in his hometown of Houston, the city he called home until he moved to Minneapolis in 2014 to better his life.

In Houston he was known as Big Floyd, the name he rapped under as part of the legendary Screwed Up Click, the crew of rappers who threw down bars for DJ Screw's game-changing "Screw Tape" mixtapes in the late-'90s. As a Fader article dated May 29 highlighted, Big Floyd's rap royalty was cemented in the minds of many Texans and fans of the screw tapes. Since his killing, fans have been sharing tracks featuring his bars, including "So Tired Of Ballin" (hear him hop on around the 14-minute mark) and "Sittin On Top Of The World," the latter from DJ Screw's 1996 mixtape Chapter 324 Dusk 2 Dawn.

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A recent Rolling Stone feature underscores the impact he had in rap and his local community, through conversations with fellow Houston rappers Trae tha Truth, Cal Wayne, Paul Wall and Bun B. Wayne, who grew up with Floyd, even living with his family for three years, echoes the heartbreak the four artists feel with losing the generous light Floyd always shined out. "I ain't gon' lie it's devastating. I idolized him," he told the outlet. "[George] had no aggression to him. He wouldn't hurt nobody."

DJ Screw, a Houston hero himself, invented the chopped and screwed style of hip-hop in the '90s, a remix or sampling style where a record is slowed down with groovy, trippy results. He died in 2000 at just 29, but left behind a rich musical legacy of mixtapes, along with the Screwed Up Click, its wider Houston rapper affiliates like duo UGK, which Bun B was a part of, and the larger rap community his innovative sound inspired.

"It automatically ties him to a legendary legacy," Bun B says of Floyd's work with the Screwed Up Click. "By having that level of proximity to DJ Screw, you are automatically afforded a certain status in the city of Houston, and held in high regard."

Wall was part of Houston's Swishahouse crew, which also included Mike Jones, Chamillionaire and Slim Thug, the next wave chopped and screwed squad that saw a wider commercial success than the Screwed Up Click was able to with Screw's untimely death. He expounds on Floyd's legend status:

"[Floyd] would rap on tapes, but you would also hear other rappers say his name on tapes," Wall tells Rolling Stone. "For the people that would come, it would be people from everyday walks of life. His mixtape [Chapter 007:] Ballin’ In Da Mall, that's one of the ones where there's like legend behind the mixtape. He supposedly worked at Foot Locker, him and some other people. It was one of their birthdays. I think it was Big Floyd's birthday and they come, 'what you want to do for your birthday?' 'I want to do a Screw tape.'"

For years, Trae, who was part of the Screwed Up Click, organized community events in Houston with his partner Tiffany Cofield, and Floyd was always there to help. "George would actually drive [Tiffany]," Trae said "[He] would be there helping me hands-on. When I would come help the projects I would give them supplies, food, different stuff. He'd always be out there."

"He believed in people to a point it seemed he believed in people more than he even believed in himself," he added. Following a shooting that happened at one of his community events, Trae explains Floyd was one of the few people that stuck with him. "I was banned from radio worldwide. It will make 11 years this year. At a point, a lot of people left," he explained. "He randomly on his own went to protesting himself and doing videos saying everything that Trae do for the community; y'all trying to stop him and it's not right. He always spoke up for what's right, even when young dudes in the neighborhood may be doing some stuff that ain't cool. When there was a lot of killing going on throughout our city, he would always speak up, like, 'This ain't the way.'"

Trae, Bun and Wayne, along with Floyd's family, helped organized a march for justice in Houston yesterday, June 2, on behalf of the slain community hero. A few hours after the protest, Wayne shared his gratitude for the world taking notice and joining the fight for justice.

"That's the best part of it," Wayne said. "He shook the world. Big Floyd is really Big Floyd now. He's a martyr now."

Today, June 3, saw a positive update in the fight for justice for Floyd: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced all four former (they were all fired after the horrific video emerged) police officers will now be charged in the killing. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes, was initially the only person charged. His charge has been updated from third degree murder to second degree and the other three police officers have been arrested and charged with aiding and abetting.

You can support Floyd's family here and read the full feature article on Rolling Stone here.

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.