Wednesday, October 30, 2013

HMCT Presents First Annual Million Calorie Burn 5k Walk/Run

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 5:17 PM

One-third of adults in Shelby County are considered obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And 17 percent of Memphis youth suffer from obesity.

To combat the city’s weight dilemma, Healthy Memphis Common Table (HMCT) is presenting its first annual "Million Calorie Burn 5k Walk/Run" Saturday, November 2nd.


“We believe that a 5K is a good way to demonstrate how families can help reduce obesity by taking charge of their health through better food selections and exercise,” said Renee Frazier, executive director of HMCT in the event's press release. “Exercise seems easiest when you are doing something you enjoy and it helps if you have a support system such as your family. This race promises to be a fun event for all.”

Registration for the 3.1 mile journey will begin at 7:30 a.m. Sneakers will start pacing to the finish line at 9 a.m. Participants will travel on a route that starts at Highpoint Church (6000 Briarcrest Ave.), travels through the East Memphis Ridgeway Loop, and ends back at the church. There will also be a special one-mile "Family Fun Run" for those who don't want to participate in the 5k.

Food and entertainment will follow the event. Children will be able to meet Grizz, the mascot for the Memphis Grizzlies. And medals will be provided to runners with the best completion times.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will be the event’s “race captain,” and Marybeth Conley of WREG-TV’s “Live at 9” will be the honorary chair.

People can register for the event here. Prior to the event, the cost is $25. The day of, it's $30.

Proceeds raised from the race will be used to fund various HMCT programs that address childhood and family obesity.

For more information, contact Chris Owens at or 901.800.5117.

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Knowledge Nick Speaks On Trolley Night Cypher Incident

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 12:35 PM

  • Dustin Taylor/Sideways Media

Local hip-hop artist Nick “Knowledge Nick” Hicks didn’t anticipate that when he organized the October installment of the popular "Trolley Night Cypher Series" event last Friday, it would be ended by angry Memphis police officers holding night-sticks and pepper spray.

On Friday, October 25th, Hicks and around 50 other folks gathered in front of the K’PreSha clothing boutique in the South Main Arts District to participate in the cypher (an event that involves people freestyling one after another). The event followed the South Main Art District’s monthly Art Trolley Tour Night, during which art galleries and shops offer art shows and other special events such as live entertainment.

Hicks said everything appeared to be going fine until around 10:30 p.m. (past the usual Trolly Night hours of 6 to 9 p.m.) when MPD officers approached K’PreSha and requested for the group to end the cypher in an aggressive manner. He said the officers didn't explain why they wanted them to end the gathering initially. But subsequent to onlookers beginning to record the incident with their phones, the officers stated that they had received a noise complaint.

“First the police officers were like ‘You guys need to get on the sidewalk.’ Once we got on the sidewalk, everybody started pulling out their phones and filming,” Hicks said. “Once we started doing that, they started telling us that we need to leave or get inside K’PreSha.”

Shortly after the officers requested for them to end the cypher, one of its participants jokingly made a comment that the officers didn’t take too kindly.

“My partner, he was just playing. He was like, ‘Let me see your license and registration,’” Hicks said. “The police got mad, super aggressive, and they tried to arrest my partner. Another guy was out there trying to break up the police and [my friend], and the police were roughing the dude up. They were manhandling him, and they pushed him against the car."

When the commotion ended, two people had been arrested and many more were upset and in disbelief at the way MPD officers handled the situation. Hicks said he believes that the MPD didn’t like that there was a crowd of predominantly black people doing hip-hop. He believes the situation would have panned out differently if they were indulging in another genre of music or the crowd was more diverse.

“I’ve seen police brutality and harassment on TV, but seeing it and experiencing it in person, you have no idea how much of an experience it was,” Hicks said. “It was so tough to watch, and we almost felt like black kids in the '60s. These people brought nightsticks out, and we were unarmed. They used pepper spray, but for what reason? My thing was, we’re unarmed people at a positive event, and you guys come here [and act] aggressively. You come here [and act] defensively. And then you come here [and act] hostile. And all this was caused by you guys. There were like 13 police cars down there and like 15 or 20 cops for this whole ordeal, but this was because we were rapping. We were just rapping.”

Hicks is determined to bring awareness to MPD’s conduct. He organized a town hall meeting at K’PreSha the Sunday following the event to make his peers more aware of the rights they can exercise if they encounter a similar situation with law enforcement. The media was invited to the meeting, camera phone-captured videos of the incident were shown, and some of those who were in attendance at the cypher expressed their thoughts.

Video footage of the occurrence has also been featured on several local media outlets. And Hicks has even had a candid conversation with Lt. Dale Hensley of the South Main Police Station about the incident.

“I told him the situation should have been handled differently,” Hicks said. “‘All of the ruckus was caused by you guys. You brought all these cops out here, all these cars out here, to arrest two people just because we were rapping and expressing ourselves. Clearly, [videos] show we weren’t being rowdy. And clearly, it was a peaceful event, but you guys came out here causing hell.’”

Hicks said although Lt. Hensley provided him with a verbal apology on behalf of the officers, he won’t be satisfied until the MPD provides a written statement that both conveys their regret for their conduct and accountability for their actions. He thinks this will potentially lower the chances of a similar situation taking place in the future.

“When I think about Friday night, I think about the two hours of everybody having fun, doing their thing, and people just coming and watching,” Hicks said. “But at the same time too, it’s like, we’re still fighting this oppression from the police force. As hip-hop artists or artists in general, we are a voice for the voiceless and now we have to go another step to do the same thing when it comes to this issue right here and really push the boundary and be a voice for the voiceless who have experienced this, or may be afraid to step up, or just lost hope. The same logic I have with music, I’m using to parallel it with getting a change done with this situation.”

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

South Memphis Church Providing Free Clothes To The Community

Posted By on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 11:44 AM


South Memphis residents will have the chance to fill their closets with new clothes for free this Saturday.

Calvary Longview United Methodist Church is launching its Clothes Closet initiative. Jeans, suits, and work attire will be available at no charge to both men and women (ladies will also have dresses to choose from). Kids can get new school uniforms for free, along with some of the aforementioned clothing options.

The Clothes Closet event will coincide with the church’s fifth “Annual Harvest Day,” which provides South Memphians with free food, games, gift bags, and live entertainment from gospel rap artists and youth groups. The festivities will take place October 26th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’re not targeting homeless people. We’re targeting everyday people,” said Clayette Hill, the event’s coordinator. “Even though people have jobs, they may not have the extra money to buy clothes, so we’re hoping that they can come to our Clothes Closet and benefit from it. We want them to come out and have a good time at no charge.”

Hill said Annual Harvest Day was primarily created to provide South Memphis youth with an outlet to do something both productive and fun. At this year’s Harvest Day, parents will be able to sign their children up for Tae Kwon Do, music lessons, sports programs, and more.

“We wanted to do something for the children in the community,” Hill said. “A lot of children don’t have access to curricular activities right now. The city has really cut back on a lot of programs, so we hope that this event will be something that children can come out and enjoy.”

Hill estimates that around 100 people attend Annual Harvest Day each year; they hope to double that number this year.

Although everything will be available for free at the festival, Hill encourages those who want to take advantage of the Clothes Closet to bring their own shopping bags in case the church runs out.

Calvary Longview United Methodist Church is located at 2041 S. Lauderdale St. For more information on the church's Clothes Closet or Annual Harvest Day, call 901-948-1457.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Anthony Brown Remembers Losing Wife To Cancer

Posted By on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Anthony Brown lost his wife, Joann, to lung cancer on January 24th, 2006. The disease started in her breast and spread to her lung.

“I think about her all the time,” Brown reminisced. “We had big plans. We bought a condo in Hilton Head, [South Carolina]. We were going to retire and lease it out when we were not there, and make it like a vacation home. I think about that, and the fact that she’s not around to see her daughters mature. Having that companionship and support, it motivates you. It encourages you. And it’s something to look forward to when you leave work. [But now], I come home to an empty house.”

Anthony Brown
  • Anthony Brown

In 2003, Joann began to notice that she couldn't do normal chores such as sweep the floor or wash clothes without becoming fatigued. She also discovered a lump in her left breast. She decided to get examined by a doctor, which revealed she had Stage 3 breast cancer. Joann subsequently received a mastectomy to her left breast.

“After the surgery, they did radiation for several weeks. That led to chemotherapy,” Brown recalled. “From there, it was an ongoing battle with different doctor’s appointments. They were treating it with the best advanced medical technology that was available. We [also] traveled to Illinois to a Cancer Treatment Center to see what they had to offer.”

After a battling with breast cancer—the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African-American women—for a couple years, the disease intensified and spread from Joann's breast to her lung. She began to have trouble breathing; oxygen tanks became a necessity for her to live.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women.

Despite her battling with the life-threatening sickness, Joann managed to keep her condition confidential between her and her husband. Brown said his wife was determined to keep their three daughters unaware that she had cancer.

"She didn’t want them to be told that she had cancer," Brown said. "All they knew was that she was sick. They saw her on the oxygen tank [and] the tubes she put in her nose."

In the final weeks leading up to her death, Joann was hospitalized and connected to a ventilator. After the ventilator could no longer sustain her, she passed away. Shortly after she died, Brown gathered his daughters in one of the bedrooms in their home and informed them of the unfortunate news.

“Before she took her last breath, she said ‘Take care of my girls,'” Brown recalled. “I guess she sensed that she wasn’t going to be living much longer."

Losing a loved one is something no one can truly prepare for. And the emotional impact that it can bring forth varies considering on the person's strength. According to ACS, some of the effects that come with losing a loved one includes anxiety disorder, stress, suicidal thoughts, and loss of sleep, appetite, and weight.

Brown said his wife's death affected him significantly, but he had to stay as strong as possible for the sake of his daughters.

“It’s like, we’ve been together 25 years and now there is something missing in my life,” Brown said. “It’s not the same. It seems like a part of yourself is gone. It's a grieving process that immediately takes place. We had to plan her funeral and do her obituary. It wasn’t easy. It was a big adjustment in my life, but I persevered and went through some periods of depression and had to accept it. I had to accept that the Holy Spirit was doing [His work], and He’s not going to put more on you than you can bear.”

Nearly a decade after his wife succumbed to cancer, Brown said he still thinks about her on a regular basis. He encourages all women to pay close attention to their health, so they can enjoy a long life.

“The only message that I would give to females of age is if they’ve had close relatives [who] have been diagnosed with breast cancer, don’t take it light,” Brown said. “Get your mammograms on schedule; regular checkups on schedule; your physicals on schedule. Just your normal wellness check up, make sure you do it on schedule and pay attention to your health. If you experience anything unusual going on with your breast, take it seriously. That way, if there is a problem, you can diagnose it in the early stages. The chances of survival are a lot greater.”

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Breast Cancer Survivor: Ella Thompson's Story

Posted By on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 1:23 PM


At age 77, Ella Thompson was met with the harsh reality that she had breast cancer.

While laying in bed one night, she discovered some nodules in her right breast.

“I thought perhaps they were cysts, and I could press them and get the liquid out, but that didn’t happen. They remained there,” Thompson recalled. “I went to a doctor and had him check it out. He sent me to have a mammogram, and it verified that I had cancer. It was a shock.”

Prior to discovering the nodules, Thompson hadn’t had a mammogram in a couple years. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women age 40 or older have mammograms done every one to two years.

“I try to encourage anyone who discovers something to follow through with examination, and get the mammogram every year,” Thompson said. “We fear the pain of the mammogram [but] that’s short term.”

February 17, 2004 marks the day that Thompson was informed that she had Stage 2a (IIA) breast cancer. In March of that year, she had a mastectomy done to her right breast. She underwent six chemotherapy treatments following her surgery.

Fortunate enough to not experience any hair loss or other side effects associated with breast cancer, it took Thompson a few years to overcome her battle with cancer. She's remained cancer-free ever since.

“If you get the diagnosis, it is not a death sentence. There is life after diagnosis,” Thompson said. “If you have the faith and you have a positive attitude, you can overcome adversities, as long as you trust in God and do things that you should to further your health.”

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than 27,000 African-American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year; more than 6,000 of these women are estimated to succumb to the disease. Black women are 41 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, according to ACS. However, white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a higher rate than black women.

Thompson is a member of the Memphis chapter of Sisters Network, a national organization composed of African-American breast cancer survivors. The organization seeks to increase local and national attention on the impact of breast cancer, which affects more than 200,000 women annually.

In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sisters Network Memphis will host its 9th Annual Gift for Life Block Walk on Saturday, October 19th from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Promise Land Church (3430 Overton Crossing). The Block Walk will be followed by a Health Fair, which will feature more than 30 health vendors, free food and haircuts, door prizes, and allow women to apply for mammogram screening. The Health Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church as well.

For more information on the Block Walk or Health Fair, contact Sisters Network Memphis president Carolyn Whitney at (901) 789-7239 or visit

Click here to check out a recent Memphis Flyer article on Sisters Network Memphis

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Breast Cancer Mortality Rate Higher For African-American Women

Posted By on Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 4:11 PM


October isn't just a month that signifies the arrival of autumn. It's also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when organizations bring attention to a disease that affects more than 200,000 women in America annually.

The statistics are even more grim for African-American women. According to the American Cancer Society, black women are 41 percent more likely to succumb to breast cancer than white women. However, white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a higher rate than black women. The organization estimates breast cancer will claim the lives of more than 6,000 black women this year.

One potential reason the breast cancer mortality rates are higher among black women may be because black women are more susceptible to "triple negative breast cancer" (breast cancer not caused by the three usual receptors known to fuel most breast cancers: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2). They are also statistically more likely to lack insurance coverage and less likely to undergo normal visits to the doctor for health screenings.

In Memphis, breast cancer mortality among black women seems to be a bigger issue than in other cities. A study conducted by Sinai Urban Health Institute in Chicago examined racial disparity in breast cancer mortality rates within the 25 largest cities in the country, and Memphis topped the list. Black women in Memphis are more than twice as likely to die from breast cancer as their white counterparts, according to the study.

The Memphis chapter of Sisters Network, a national organization composed of African-American breast cancer survivors, is helping bring awareness to this issue. The organization hosts fund-raisers, speaking engagements, workshops, and other efforts to help inform Memphians of the seriousness of breast cancer.

"There are a lot of myths about breast cancer. A lot of people don’t want to talk about their diagnosis," said Carolyn Whitney, president of the Sisters Network Memphis chapter. "A lot of women know that they have a lump, but because they can’t afford the mammogram or to go to the doctor, they feel as though, ‘There's nothing I can do.’ But there is something they can do. There are resources out there to assist any women with a mammogram. Our national slogan is ‘Stop the Silence,’ and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to stop the silence about breast cancer through education and awareness."

To read more about the Memphis chapter of Sisters Network and its fight against breast cancer, check out my story in The Memphis Flyer next Wednesday.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fiend Talks New Mixtape, Upcoming Album

Posted By on Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 9:50 AM


New Orleans native and Gold-selling artist Fiend has been making his presence known on the rap scene since the early '90s. But national acclaim came with him joining the once-dominant label, No Limit Records, dropping verses on hits such as “Make ‘Em Say Uhh,” and playing roles in films like I Got the Hook Up.

Now a member of Curren$y’s Jet Life Recordings, International Jones still seems as hungry as he was when he sported a diamond-encrusted tank and camouflage threads. However, he's diversified his style a bit throughout the years. Not simply sticking to the raw, street-oriented style that brought him success in the '90s on into the new millennium, nowadays it's not a shocker to hear Fiend spit a lot smoother and refined on tracks. Nevertheless, he still manages to create music that can be enjoyed by both those hustling on the street corners and those hustling inside of corporate offices.

Fiend recently dropped his latest project, Keep Ya Cool. A follow-up to his spring mixtape, Lil Ghetto Boy, Keep Ya Cool displays Fiend embracing the same formula that he utilized on projects like Tennis Shoes & Tuxedos, Cool Is In Session, and Life Behind Limo Glass. But he doesn't take on too much of a laid-back persona that he forgets to shed light on those suffering in impoverished communities, controversial occurrences like the Trayvon Martin verdict, and repercussions of the street life.

Fiend took time out to talk about Keep Ya Cool, his love for live instrumentation, his upcoming album, how he wants to be remembered, and his Sleepy Bear Tees clothing line.

To check out the interview, click here

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Drumma Boy Talks New Clothing Line, Love For Fashion

Posted By on Fri, Oct 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM


Since he was a youngster, Grammy Award-nominated producer and Memphis native Drumma Boy has possessed a keen sense for fashion. And with the launch of his new clothing line, Fresh Phamily, he's using his unique taste in apparel to help upgrade the closets of his fans across the globe.

Fresh Phamily was launched this past Labor Day weekend and is already being sported by numerous individuals throughout the states. Advertised as “affordable, trendy and fashionable,” the clothing line provides consumers with a variety of t-shirts, tank tops, and sweatshirts to choose from. And there's more on the way.

Also known by his alias D-Boy Fresh, it appears that fresh threads and fly kicks may potentially be Drumma Boy's biggest love aside from music. One peek at his Instagram, website, or a Google search of his name supports the aforementioned claim.

Drumma Boy, who recently made placements on Lil' Wayne's Dedication 5 mixtape and 2 Chainz's B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time album, talked about his love for fashion, what inspired him to create a clothing line, the meaning behind Fresh Phamily, and what artists he’s currently providing dope beats to.

Follow Drumma Boy on Twitter: @DrummaBoyFRESH
Follow Fresh Phamily on Twitter: @FreshPhamily
Visit the Fresh Phamily website:

How did you develop an interest in fashion?

Growing up watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” I just related to that lifestyle. I related to that story a lot, because I was getting in trouble in the ‘hood. Born in South Memphis, came up in Whitehaven, and just started getting in a lot of trouble in my neighborhood. I moved from South Memphis to Cordova. I moved to the suburbs where it’s predominantly white, and everybody was just so in-tune with my fashion. If I wore Jordans, I had Jordan socks, Jordan wristbands. I had a Jordan hat. I’d just be Jordan’d out. If I wore Nike, I’d be Nike’d up. If I wore Adidas, I’d be Adidas’d up. Converse, the same, so on and so forth. People started calling me best dressed and this and that.

I began doing a lot of repping for different clothing lines. Some of the first clothing lines I repped for was Enyce [and] Fubu. I did rep for Parish, when that came out and was hot for a minute. After those lines, I started doing rep for LRG. I started doing clothing rep for Diamond Company, which is another one of my favorites. Crooks-n-Castle. DGK.

So what made you decide to transition from being a clothing rep for other lines to creating your own brand?

I was just helping so many other lines for the past 10 years as far as street presence and urban presence. I said, ‘man, I need to start printing my own shirts.’ And I’ve been printing shirts now for like 10 years. My first shirts were “Got Beats?” When the "Got Milk?" campaign was going strong, I had a shirt that said, “Got Beats?” And one of the first fliers I printed, I had those shirts on. Then I printed shirts of my squad, Drum Squad. So I’ve always been into printing our own gear and making our own gear. I was like, ‘man, I’ma start doing stuff for just Drum Squad gear.' I just elevated into my fresh side.

Seeing the success of Russell [Simmons], [him] starting with the music and dabbing into the clothing line and then dabbing into other ventures. Seeing Puffy doing the music and then dabbing into clothing and other ventures. Seeing Jay-Z do the same thing. It’s like, you have to follow the greatest, but in a different form and fashion that’s applicable to [you].

What made you name the clothing line Fresh Phamily?

I was like ‘man, Drumma Boy Fresh,’ I gotta make clothes for my fresh family—anybody who considers themselves fresh, lively and positive and always having fun, accomplishing missions, and getting the job done. The line is for people who live that lifestyle and can relate. It’s been extremely contagious and has been spreading like wildfire throughout the states.

You had a launch party for the clothing line at Drai’s in Hollywood, California. A lot of celebrities came through to show support, such as Cee Lo Green, VH1's Basketball Wives L.A. star Brooke Bailey, and others. How was that experience?

It was a blessing, bro. I’m one of the first black clothing owners to even get approved to do a pool party there, and by us having the biggest pool party of the summer, it caught a lot of people’s attention. We had capacity at 4:30 p.m. and the pool doesn’t close to 6:30 p.m. It was an extremely positive event.


Do you aspire for your clothing line to reach the plateau of brands like Louis Vuitton or Polo?

Absolutely. I’m starting off as a t-shirt line, but a lot of things are escalating from this. We’re getting into signature women’s fashion and probably will be in a boutique by summer 2014. Definitely stay tuned on the growth of Fresh Phamily.

You’ve been a clothing rep for a lot of different brands and you have your own clothing line, but what are some of your favorite brands to rock?

I’ve always been a huge Polo fan. Polo has been the traditional go-to for just everyday wear for me. I’m a huge Levi fan, just as far as my jeans. Outside of that, it’s a few designer [brands] like Louis [Vuitton], Fendi; those are two of my favorites just because of their browns. I’m a huge earth tone fan. I love different [shades] of browns and oranges and beiges and whatnot. And when I’m dressing up, I like Sean John suits. I also am a big fan of Brooks Brothers.

I’m real simple with my fashion. I tend to pick up pieces that are fly to me regardless of the brand, so you might see me with this mixed with that mixed with this, especially during the colder seasons. I’m more layered up: maybe an undershirt by this designer, jacket by this designer mixed with a scarf by this designer, belt by this designer. It’s more of a collage of different brands.

What about shoes?

I’m a huge fan of Jordans. Jordan is probably the shoe that I have the most of. And followed by Jordan would be Nike. I’m a big fan of the Air Maxes. I’m a sneaker fanatic. I finally got my first pair of Michael Jordans autographed. I’ve got me an autographed pair of Penny Hardaways. Those are two of my favorite ballplayers. And I’m a fan of Puma. I’m a fan of Supra. A lot of times in the winter, I’m Polo. I’m Polo’d down. I got on my Polo boots or my Timberland boots. And then most recently, I’ve been rocking Gourmets.

On the website, it states that there’s a line catering to boys and girls coming soon.

Yeah, we have the boys and girls tees coming soon. I think that’s most important. Kids don’t really have any options for t-shirts, and I really want to step the game up for the fashion world for kid tees or whatnot. We have a couple characters that we’re introducing through the Fresh Phamily line. The lil’ boy blowing a bubble is our main character, but we have a lil’ girl. We have a lil’ bulldog coming, so it’s almost gonna be like a cartoon series but through shirts. It’s just something different that we’re doing it. It’s cool, creative and we’re being real artsy.

Are you personally helping design the items for the clothing line? Or are you providing input and things of that nature?

I’m doing a lot of input and I’m coming up with all of the ideas and concepts of the drawings, and then they just make it happen. And then I approve it. If it doesn’t look a certain way or give me a certain feel, I just keep editing it or changing it. I definitely choose all of the colors or whatnot. And I'm just keeping it real simple right now. It’s only so much I can do at a certain level, and we’re just growing and taking that escalation day by day.

Will Fresh Phamily be available in any Memphis stores?

We’re talking back and forth with City Gear now. We’re trying to get it in all of the City Gears in Memphis. We’ll do a launch. I think we have a launch coming to Memphis some time in December.

Outside of fashion, what do you have going on music wise right now?

We just did a track on 2 Chainz's new album. Go and cop that. I produced a record called “U Da Realist” on there. We’re working on Chris Brown’s [new album]. I think he’s dropping in November. We’ve got R. Kelly dropping in November, so we’re just working.

Are you still planning to drop the Clash of Da Titans mixtape with DJ Paul?

Yeah, me and DJ Paul, we’ve got Clash of Da Titans coming on the 15th of this month.

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