Rapper Lil Wayne dropped out of school on the advice of his mother after he tried to take a gun to school for protection at the age of 14. The Lollipop hitmaker rose to fame when he was 11, when he released his first songs on hip-hop mogul Bryan 'Baby' Williams' Cash Money Records label, but he continued to attend classes at a public school in a rough area of his native New Orleans, Louisiana, where he had excelled as an honours student.
However, his mum soon realised his rising music career could put his safety in jeopardy and she decided to pull him out of the institution.
The star tells U.S. talk show host Katie Couric, "It was my mum's idea (to drop out of school). I had an album out, I was platinum already, thank god, and I was still trying to go to regular public school. She saw me getting ready for school one day and she saw me putting my gun in my backpack and she said, 'You gonna bring that to school with you?' and I remember, I asked, 'You don't want me to bring it?' and she thought about it and said, 'I do.' She said, 'You're right, bring it', because she bought it for me! She was like, 'You do need it.'
"Two minutes later she walked back into my room and she said, 'You don't go to school no more (sic). You're getting a GED (high school diploma).' I was like, 'Oh, OK'."
Aruna Gilbert/ WENN
Whoever said that the best things in life are free must've been jamming to a mixtape. The joy of trying to save cassette tape from being eaten up by a 1988 stereo may have passed us by, but digital mixtapes still have the best components of their predecessors: free samples of new music from our favorite artists. There’s only a few months left of the year and artists releasing new mixtapes will have a lot to live up to, since 2013 saw the release of tons of great new music in the hip hop world. The latest mixtape to hit the web waves is Lil Wayne’s Dedication 5, finally released on September 1 after a 36-hour delay. Though it’s too soon to say how well Lil Wayne’s newest effort will hold up against other releases slated to come out this year, here’s a rundown of some of 2013’s best mixtapes thus far.
Yelawolf: Trunk Muzik Returns After his 2011 debut album Radioactive, Yelawolf came back with a vengeance (and a killer beard). Produced entirely by WillPower, Trunk Muzik Returns features Yelawolf’s trademark polished, 100mph flow set against some of the most refreshing beats that have been heard in rap lately. With contributions from A$AP Rocky, Raekwon, Paul Wall, and more, it’s safe to say Trunk Muzik has most definitely made its return.
Standouts: “Firestarter,” “F.A.S.T. Ride,” “Catfish Billy”
Harry Fraud: Adrift After working with French Montana for the infectious “New York Minute,” wonderboy producer Harry Fraud quickly rose to become one of the most sought-after producers in the hip hop scene. He released Adrift in March 2013 as a prequel to his High Tide EP, which was released a month later. The mixtape is a diverse compilation of songs that Fraud produced over the last year, showing his prowess as a producer and his knack for putting a NYC stamp on everything he does. Adrift features unreleased tracks from numerous rappers, including Chinx Drugz, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and tons more.
Standouts: French Montana – “Lay Low,” Young Roddy – “4 The Money,” Adrian Lau – “Sunday”
Big K.R.I.T.: King Remembered In Time Who knew electric guitars and crying babies could make for a kickass album intro? Big K.R.I.T., that’s who. The Southern rapper dropped King Remembered In Time earlier this year to rave reviews and is continuing to carve out place for himself in the rap world. Big K.R.I.T. has already proven that he’s rather ambitious when it comes to sampling and King Remembered In Time is no different: the mixtape has samples from everyone from James Blake to Cody ChestnuTT working seamlessly against his skillful spits. King Remembered In Time features the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Trinidad Jame$, Ashton Jones, and Future.
Standouts: “REM,” “Serve This Royalty,” “Life Is A Gamble”
Chance the Rapper: Acid Rap At only 20 years old, Chance the Rapper has already made an impressive mark in the rap world. The former suspended-from-high-school student turned Chi-town rapper has a uniquely chameleon vocal delivery that changes as quickly as a teenager’s mood. Chance sounds like a nervous first-timer at open mic night, a Tiny Toons character with an overabundant helium supply, and a matter-of-fact raconteur all within the thirteen-song mixtape. Including kickass collabs with Action Bronson, Nate Fox, and Noname Gypsy, Acid Rap is definitely one of the mixtapes of the year.
Standouts: “Juice,” “Acid Rain”
The Underachievers: Indigoism Repping the Beast Coast movement strong is Issa Dash and AK, aka The Underachievers. The Brooklyn duo started to drop tracks in 2012 on YouTube and signed with Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder record label not too long after. Their debut mixtape, Indigoism, was released in February of this year and firmly put The Underachievers on map of new NYC talent to look out for. The lauded Indigoism is full of conscious, spiritual, and hard rhymes, all spat out at 500 words per minute (because really, who needs breathing?).
Standouts: “So Devilish,” “Herb Shuttles,” “Land of Lords”
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Rapper Jean Grae is mourning the death of her mother, South African jazz star Sathima Bea Benjamin. The singer and anti-apartheid activist passed away at her home in Cape Town on 20 August (13) at the age of 76.
Benjamin, real name Beatrice Bertha Benjamin, enjoyed a career spanning over 50 years, but only rose to fame after leaving her homeland and moving to Europe with her husband, acclaimed pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, in 1962.
Known for her mezzo-soprano-style vocals, Benjamin caught the attention of the legendary Duke Ellington during a 1963 gig in Zurich, Switzerland and convinced him to hear her husband's band, the Dollar Brand Trio at a nearby club. He liked what he heard and offered to record the group in Paris, France, taking Benjamin under his wing too by producing her album A Morning in Paris.
Her project was shelved, but she went on to appear with Ellington's orchestra at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, America and later recorded a string of albums, including 1976's African Songbird, on which she tackled the topics of politics and segregation in South Africa.
She spent more than 20 years living in New York before relocating back to Cape Town in 2011, the year of her divorce from Ibrahim.
Benjamin's death occurred just two weeks after she received a lifetime achievement award at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival in Johannesburg.
A cause of death has yet to be released.
"My sweetheart beyonce and I chopped it up about Bash & Blue Ivy... they're gonna get married 1 day.... Bash likes older women Lol" Model Amber Rose has begun planning her baby son Sebastian's romantic future after meeting up with R&B star Beyonce. Rose and rapper Wiz Khalifa welcomed their son in February (13), and Beyonce gave birth to daughter Blue Ivy in January, 2012.
After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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"If you think Mileys performance was embarrassing You should have seen me twerking down ladbroke grove with a Jamaica flag tied to my head." Singer Lily Rose Cooper is glad her drunken performance at the Notting Hill Carnival in London didn't make it onto the Internet and become a talking point like Miley's raunchy set at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Actress Nicole Kidman will not pressurise her children to follow her footsteps into the acting industry. The Moulin Rouge! star, who has two adopted children - Connor, 18 and Isabella Jane, 20 - from her previous marriage to Tom Cruise and two daughters - Sunday Rose, five, and Faith Margaret, two - with husband Keith Urban, is adamant her offspring should be left to find their own career path.
She tells Australia's ABC radio, "I loved acting... my heart was truly affected by stories and characters; it was innate... Keith was never pushed into (music); he just sort of started teaching himself at about five or six years old."
The Oscar-winning actress is currently promoting her film Stoker in Australia, in which she plays widowed mother Evelyn Stoker.
Zac Efron's upcoming comedy Townies has been renamed as Neighbors. The film, co-starring Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen, focuses on a young couple with a newborn who live next door to a noisy fraternity house.
Edith Piaf has been branded a liar and "an insatiable seducer" in a new biography set to document the truth behind the singer's life. The book, titled Piaf: A French Myth, which is due to be published in France later this year (13), questions many widely held beliefs about Piaf's personal life and poor upbringing.
Writer Robert Belleret revealed the information after he gained access to unpublished archives which included 110 private letters the singer wrote to a close friend.
He tells The Australian newspaper, "Piaf's duplicity was without limits. She lied profusely about her life, starting with her own birth."
He alleges Piaf, who was famous for her extravagant lifestyle, exaggerated a childhood condition by claiming she was blind between the ages of three and seven, an incident famously documented in the Oscar-winning film, La Vie En Rose.
Belleret adds, "The fact is that she was never blind; at the most she suffered from a viral infection for a few weeks."
The writer also slams Piaf's claim that she smuggled fake French identity papers into Nazi Germany and enabled 200 French prisoners to escape during World War II, adding, "My aim isn't to put Piaf on trial, but her account is pure fantasy, it allowed her to avoid punishment after the war.
"She changed the numbers. At first she said she helped 118 prisoners escape, then 147, then more than 200... But not one of them ever surfaced to thank Piaf publicly and to say she deserved a medal. And can you imagine how difficult it would have been to make so many fake identity papers?...
"Every time she meets a new lover she writes that this is the man she's always been dreaming of, but then a month or a year later he's become a rotter... She writes of having two or three lovers at the same time and when she wants to break with a lover she makes him think that he's the one who wants to end it.''
Piaf, also known as The Little Sparrow, died in 1963 aged 47 at her home in Grasse, France, after suffering from liver cancer.