French Montana Covers GQ (Middle East) November 2018: 'Immigration Means Everything to Me'

French Montana GQ
French Montana, who is Global Citizen's first rap ambassador, graces three separate covers for GQ magazine's (Middle East Edition) November 2018 issue.

The Morocco native-Bronx-raised rapper was photographed in three different middle eastern cities -- Dubai, Beirut, and Casablanca (French's native hometown). The covers are a celebration of Middle Eastern heritage, multiculturalism, as well the power, perseverance, and strength of immigrants.

Inside the magazine, the "No Stylist" rhymer proclaimed his support for immigration, which has become a polarizing topic in the United States. "Immigration means everything to me," he told GQ. "It means hope, it means faith, it means a voice for the people that come from different places and build a country - that someone can come from nothing and be something."

French was born in Casablanca, Morocco and immigrated to the U.S. when he was a young teen. The 34-year-old artist learned how to speak English through rap music.

“I didn’t know English until I was 14, 15," he explained. "In Morocco, I was just singing: I didn’t even know what the words were. Whether it was Tupac, Wu-Tang, Bob Marley. It shows how powerful music is - it’s the only language that people speak worldwide.”

“I got the privilege to be part of both worlds, even though I was born in Morocco,” he adds. “I gained my conscience and my hustle when I touched down in the States. I probably got the best of both worlds, if you were to ask me. I got to where I needed to be and then came right back." You can read French Montana's full GQ magazine (Middle East) cover story HERE.

A Marvel-ous Genius: Stan Lee, Creator of Marvel Comics, Dies at 95

Stan Lee

Can we please have a moment of silence...

For Stan “the Man” Lee, founder of Marvel Comics, who died today (Nov. 12) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to family representative (via The Hollywood Reporter ). He was 95.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922 in New York, the visionary writer/publisher created iconic comic-book characters such as Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Black Panther, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Thor, X-Men, the Avengers, the Defenders, Conan the Barbarian, and so many more. Marvel started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and by the early 1950s the name was changed to Atlas Comics.

The Marvel branding began in 1961 with the launch of the The Fantastic Four and other superhero titles. Along with Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and many others, Marvel Comics delivered some of the greatest mythological figures of the 20 century through television, books and films. Lee also wrote a monthly comics column, “Stan's Soapbox,” and ending them with his signature catchphrase, “Excelsior!”

"I used to think what I did was not very important," he told the Chicago Tribune in April 2014. "People are building bridges and engaging in medical research, and here I was doing stories about fictional people who do extraordinary, crazy things and wear costumes. But I suppose I have come to realize that entertainment is not easily dismissed."

As a kid growing up in the ‘hood, I would spend half of my allowance money on Marvel comic books. My favorites were the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers, Conan the Barbarian, Thor and the Defenders. Unlike DC Comics, Marvel's superheroes were people I could identify with because they had character flaws and hang-ups. For example, when Bruce Banner gets angry he turned into the Hulk and destroy everything around him. While people saw the Hulk as a menace, he was actually a gentle giant who is simply misunderstood. We all have that David Banner/Hulk "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry"-personality inside all of us.

Stan Lee has left a permanent mark on pop culture - especially in the movie business. In 2018, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp helped Marvel earned $4 billion at the box office.

However, before Lee's death, there have been questions about the vitality of his estate. According to The Daily Beast, Lee appeared to be the victim of "Hollywood charlatans and mountebanks" who are allegedly stealing money from his estate. According to one source close to the situation, “It’s a real fucking mess over there. I think his money will be gone in a few weeks...Stan and [his daughter] J.C. (Joan Celia) Lee are literally being picked apart by vultures."

After news broke of Stan Lee's death, his surviving family members issued a statement thanking fans who sent their well-wishes and condolences. It reads:

"J.C. Lee and all of Stan Lee's friends and colleagues want to thank all of his fans and well-wishers for their kind words and condolences," a family statement read. "Stan was an icon in his field. His fans loved him and his desire to interact with them. He loved his fans and treated them with the same respect and love they gave him."

Stan Lee will be sorely missed, but his imaginative spirit and Marvel Comics Universe will live on forever. 'Nuff said.

Peep the tributes/condolences to Stan Lee via social media below (click the link).

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Watch The Wu-Tang Clan Short Film "For the Children: 25 Years of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)"

Wu-Tang Documentary For the Children

"That's what make Wu-Tang forever. If you don't plant seeds, it won't be forever. You have to give something back in order for something new to grow..." -- Masta Killa

In addition to my Wu-Tang Clan/ATCQ tribute roundup, you need to check out the Wu-Tang Clan’s short film For The Children: 25 Years of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

In conjunction with the YouTube channel Certified Classics, the film features Wu-Tang members RZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, Masta Killa and U-God reflecting on the cultural impact of their 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), which turned 25 years old today (Nov. 9). Also, Joey Bada$$, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Rocky and others share their viewpoints as well.

The short film was directed by Shomi Patwary who does a great job of documenting critiques from two generation of rappers about the influence Enter the Wu-Tang had on their lives. In our current times, there appears to be a generational gap between the rap veterans and today's new school of rappers. This film brings it full circle. In short, we have to teach the babies without preaching to them.

Wu-Tang Clan is forever...and yes, they are for the children. R.I.P. Ol' Dirty Bastard.

Watch "For the Children: 25 Years of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" Documentary


Impeach the President: Ice Cube Releases New Track "Arrest the President" [LISTEN]

Ice Cube Arrest the President

Days after the midterm elections, Ice Cube has released a new single that’s aimed directly at President Trump (aka Agent Orange).

The single, “Arrest the President,” features the West Coast icon spewing his vitriol at the president for his alleged collusion with Russia during his presidential campaign in 2016.

"Arrest the president, you got the evidence / That nigga is Russian intelligence / When it rains it pours / Did you know the new white was orange? / Boy, you’re showing your horns / They’re tryin’ to replace my halo with thorns / You so basic with your vape stick / Let’s go apeshit in the matrix," he rhymes on the song.

Listen to Ice Cube's "Arrest the President"

The song is not as venomous as his classic tracks about white supremacy on his landmark 1991 album Death Certificate. Songs like "I Wanna Kill Sam" and "Horny Lil' Devil" have a little bit more lyrical bite. Nevertheless, "Arrest the President" is a protest song that we need to hear more from our current rappers.

I'm happy that Ice Cube is back and he's ready to spit some truth to power. Ice Cube's tenth album, Everythang’s Corrupt, is expected to hit digital stores on Dec. 7.

If you want to hear two of Ice Cube's incendiary songs from Death Certificate - "I Wanna Kill Sam" and "Horny Lil' Devil" - click the link below. (I also included his fiery tack "We Had to Tear This Mothafucka Up" because it's vintage Ice Cube y'all need to hear.)

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Classic Material: Albums by The Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest Turn 25

ATCQ Midnight Marauders Enter the Wu-Tang

Today (Nov. 9) is a great day in music history - two classic albums that shaped and transcended hip-hop turned 25 years old.

On Nov. 9, 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest released their seminal albums, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers and Midnight Marauders, respectively, on the same day giving rap fans endless hours of head-nodding material.

Both albums offered two different musical compositions in rap. On Enter the Wu-Tang, veteran producer RZA delivered a cacophony of sounds that consisted of concrete-breaking beats and sampled vocals from kung-fu flicks. The album's unpolished production sounded like RZA recorded the project in his basement -- gritty and unfiltered.

Meanwhile, ATCQ had already released two classic albums - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) and The Low End Theory (1991), an impressive accomplishment from the iconic group. Unlike Enter the Wu, the production on Midnight Marauders was polished as the rap trio continued their creative fusion of hip-hop and jazz. Lyrically, Q-Tip and the late Phife Dawg delivered inventive rhymes that dealt with their day-in-a-life circumstances growing up in Queens, New York.

Both are unadulterated classics and I'm not going to even entertain a debate on which album is superior, instead, let's enjoy them for what they are - timeless masterpieces.

"We at 25 years, we know we have arrived at our destination. We're grateful for everyone that’s been a part of this,” said RZA about the LP's 25th anniversary (via Billboard ). “When we said 36 Chambers, the word chamber was giving everybody an idea that you will go through different chambers in your life. It's many things that you have to pass through in order to master yourself."

The RZA also revealed that the borough of Staten Island, N.Y. (native hometown to most of the Wu-Tang Clan members) will recognized Nov. 9 as "Wu-Tang Clan Day."

On the internet, they are a slew of tributes and retrospectives on both of these albums. Check out the list below (click the link):

Continue reading "Classic Material: Albums by The Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest Turn 25" »