Legendary singer, songwriter, and musician Willie Hutch created music decades ago that continues to influence musicians today.
Similar to Marvin Gaye, Hutch possessed a distinctly soulful sound that reigned supreme on Motown Records during its heyday. He's also largely known for creating the soundtracks for Blaxploitation films The Mack and Foxy Brown.
One of my favorite songs by Hutch is titled "Kelly Green." The song appears on his Midnight Dancer album. Check it out below.
Rick Ross enlisted the help of a few notable Memphis rap artists for the remix to his track "Elvis Presley Blvd."
The Miami representative, who was recently vocal about his love for Memphis, recruited Yo Gotti, MJG, Project Pat, Juicy J, and Young Dolph for the seven-minute recreation.
Ross' forthcoming album, Hood Billionaire, is slated to drop November 24th.
Stream "Elvis Presley Blvd. (Remix)" below.
Academy Award-winning rapper Frayser Boy held an album release party for his latest project, Not No Moe, at the Purple Haze nightclub Wednesday night.
A few of the city’s notable rap artists came out to show support, including DJ Zirk (who actually hopped on the turntables for a second), Lil Wyte, Miscellaneous, Jason Da Hater, and Snootie Wild. Dennis Graham, the father of hip-hop star Drake, was even in the building.
After mingling with friends and supporters, Frayser hopped on stage to perform a couple cuts off Not No Moe. And fellow Bay Area representative Lil Wyte grabbed the mic to perform “Oxy Cotton” from his 2003 debut, Doubt Me Now.
Check out some brief footage I captured on my phone of the performances below.
Hailing from Orange Mound, one of Memphis' most historic and culturally rich communities, DJ Zirk took the city by storm when he dropped the bass-ridden track “Lock ’Em N Da Trunk.”
Although it was released to the masses nearly two decades ago, the Memphis classic continues to get played in whips, nightclubs, and at Jookin’ events.
Peep Zirk’s original version of “Lock ’Em N Da Trunk” below.
Yo Gotti continues to dish out new music to keep fans satisfied until his The Art of Hustle album drops.
Now Gotti's connected with Louisiana lyricist Lil Boosie for his latest banger "I Feel Like." The track is also slated to appear on The Art of Hustle, which Gotti said would drop later this year or first quarter of 2015 in a recent XXL interview.
Check out the visual to “I Feel Like” below.
More than a month after releasing his concept album GHOSTS, Virghost drops a visual to the project’s track "Crazy."
On the song, the up-and-coming hip-hop artist vents about the stress and frustration he experienced while living under the roof of a strict and religious father.
"Crazy" is one of many tracks off GHOSTS Virghost uses to address matters that haunted him in the past, which ultimately birthed his music career.
Last month, Virghost decoded GHOSTS track-by-track. His thoughts can be read here. Peep the visual to “Crazy” below.
Since its emergence in the late '80s, Gangsta Walking has been a positive way for inner-city youth to express themselves. Now known as Jookin’, the style of dance typically involves a person sliding, chopping, rippling their arms, stomping, tiptoeing, and twisting their body to a rap song.
Over recent years, the dance subgenre has received attention globally. Videos of Jookin’ battles have collectively garnered millions of views on Youtube.
Lil Buck, one of Memphis' most popular Jookers, catapulted the dance style to new heights after touring with Madonna as a back-up dancer, appearing on shows like Ellen DeGeneres and So You Think You Can Dance, and collaborating with acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
In addition to Buck, there are numerous Jookers in Memphis that are highly respected. And Lil Daniel, Dr. Rico, G-Nerd, and Lil Black are amid that bunch.
In 2010, Daniel and Rico banded together to battle G-Nerd and Black during a Jookin' competition. Peep both parts of the battle below.
Back in March 2012, South Memphis-based spitter OG Boo Dirty dropped his Born a Soldier, Die a Vet mixtape.
The project boasts several tracks worth checking out. However, there is one cut that stands out significantly: “Change Gone Come.” Inspired by Sam Cooke’s heartfelt classic “A Change is Gonna Come,” Boo Dirty opens up about some of his struggles (and accomplishments) on his version of the song. Stream it below.
Promising rapper Wave Chapelle selected none other than legendary recording facility Ardent Studios as the location to shoot his “North Side Blues” visual.
The song is off the Milwaukee/Memphis representative’s Only the Beginning mixtape, which dropped in late September. The effort serves as his first project under Yo Gotti’s Collective Music Group (CMG) label. Peep the visual to “North Side Blues” below.
Arguably one of rap’s most underrated lyricists, Nashville artist Starlito is heralded for being insightful and honest in his music.
From battling depression, Codeine-dependence and insomnia to enjoying the spoils that come from an extensive underground fanbase and street ties, Lito uses his music to reflect on real-life circumstances. And this is the case with his 2012 mixtape, Mental Warfare.
The project’s title track brings listeners into the mind of an emcee attempting to stay sane while dealing with day-to-day challenges. "Mental Warfare" is produced by DJ Burn One and features a soothing hook from Robin Raynelle. Stream it below.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, up-and-coming contemporary gospel hip-hop artist Margaret “Butta MD” Deloach has launched a T-shirt campaign entitled “All I know is...I Survived.”
Emblazoned with the words “Disease, Sickness, Addiction, Poverty...I Survived,” the tees are $20. Deloach will donate a portion of the proceeds raised from the campaign to a hand-selected family or patient that has or currently is being affected by cancer.
“I want to give back because I know the struggles, pains, and emotion that a family goes through when a family member has cancer,” Deloach said in a statement.
Deloach’s mom, Gloria, inspired the philanthropic effort. On August 20th, 2014, three days after her 59th birthday, Gloria succumbed to cancer. The disease started in her breast and traveled to her lungs and bones.
The campaign's slogan is derived from the song “I Survived,” which Deloach created during her mom’s battle with cancer. The song appears on her EP, Da NU Norm; We Made It. The first 10 people who place an order will receive a free physical copy of the project.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases will be diagnosed this year. And, in 2014, nearly 600,000 people are estimated to die from cancer in the nation. The disease is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.
This is the second campaign Deloach has launched in support of cancer victims. Earlier this year, she introduced her “We Are Warriors; We Made It” campaign, which managed to raise more than $400. A portion of those proceeds were donated to the WINGS Cancer Foundation.
To purchase a shirt, click here. And check out an interview of Deloach talking to me about her debut EP and mom's battle with cancer below.
Rick Rock seemingly shares a love and respect for Memphis.
The Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling artist has opened multiple Wing Stop restaurants in the city, creating numerous jobs for locals. In August, he was presented a key to Memphis by Mayor A C Wharton for his economic contributions to the community.
In September, the Miami-bred rap sensation delivered his Project Pat-featured song “Elvis Presley Blvd,” paying tribute to the historic strip.
During an interview with The Breakfast Club, Ross talked about his love for Memphis, helping bring more jobs to the city, his respect for Elvis Presley, and more.
Ross begins talking about Memphis at the 15:44 mark of the interview. Check it out below.