God(s) In The Booth


“I’ve never really had a religious experience in a religious place. The closest I’ve come to seeing or feeling God is listening to Rap Music” – Killer Mike; Rapper, Activist


Good music has a certain euphoria to it. Even the darker subject matters lift your soul into a part of the universe we can’t physically touch. That’s the best way I know how to describe “the feeling” I get when I connect with music. So, in a current era of Rap music specifically where the content is highly driven by vices, imagine a “Praise Break”. Well you don’t have to imagine it, it’s a reality. Insert Crown Royale. A unique label of artists primarily out of Albany, Ga, and more specifically, Blood Preach and OG Twelve. The soulful crooning of Blood Preach evokes your soul from the opening moments of the new single. Designed around the idea that at any place, at any time, even the most notorious of individuals can feel God, Blood and Twelve tell an amazing story over perfect music about how they weren’t supposed to still be standing, and because of that they’re thankful.


“If I could sum up the song simply, I’d say you can play this song everywhere from the nursery to the nursing home” – Bottle Poppin’ Pap; Crown Royale CEO


I’ll be honest, at first glance, I was skeptical. Which is rare for me. Being one of the cult followers of the crew that came to fame with 2011 viral summer smash, “Hands On Ya Knees”, I rarely doubt if I’ll like what they come with next. But a “Praise Break” from gangsters? What’s the catch? It had to be one, right? It wasn’t. I was pleasantly surprised. I’m from the school of Biggie Smalls “Suicidal Thoughts” where a rapper, more times than not, expressed frustration with the hand God dealt. Praising God in rap for a full song, from secular artists, just doesn’t happen often. Kanye infamously bragged on his 2003 debut album, The College Dropout, how when shopping his demo, “I played them ‘Jesus Walks’ and they ain’t sign me.” This thing of ours, normally isn’t the place for that. I love when rappers don’t do what’s normal.


Check out the new single EVERYWHERE music is streamed!


“Praise Break” by Blood Preach & OG Twelve


It Takes A Bad Man To Be Great

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” –John Wooden


The problem with perception is it doesn’t have to be right. It just has to be supported. In an era where saying someone died online, without sources, actually kills them for a few hours… how important are facts? Important or not I’m going to give you a few. Lenard McKelvey, better known as Charlamagne The God, is an unstoppable force. He’s a literary savant. And… and… he doesn’t care what you think about him.


“The Rule of 10: 3 people will like it, 3 people will hate it, and 4 people won’t give a {expletive} either way” –Charlamagne the God


That’s his mindset. Thankfully so, because a person with his skillset is sure to offend. Seven years ago, Power 105.1 in New York City, rolled out the trio that would be known as the Breakfast Club. It consisted of DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and of course, Charlamagne. From the bottom to the top, what has come to always be expected is, “Charlamagne gon’ be Charlamagne”. Not to diminish the roles or impact of his co-hosts, but Charlamagne ultimately is the main attraction. Celebrities come to the show ready for war with him rather it be playfully, dismissively or even aggressively. He has earned the rep as either being a troll or being the one who’s going to ask the tough, almost out of line, questions. Does he cross the line sometimes? Of course. We all do. We all just don’t do it on national platforms. The most intriguing thing to me is that, for as dumb as you may think he is, the guy is brilliant.


If you take the time to pay attention to anything Charlamagne does, other than the antics you claim to hate, you’ll see that he’s very much as cerebral as they come. Son of an English teacher, He can retort literature that will make Harvard recruiters take notice. In a short time span he’s managed to position himself on all major media platforms. He’s dominating radio airwaves, he’s dabbled in movies, collaborated with Marvel for his own entity of the mega comic book series, and he’s produced and been the focal point for a handful of shows that span from MTV to MTV2 to the show he’s developing for Spike TV (allegedly; Chris Broussard sources). His own #UncommonSenseLive show has undergone a makeover all while successfully being viable in the marketplace. All without, seemingly, compromising. And let’s not forget his “Brilliant Idiots” podcast with Andrew Schulz that continues to be among the top podcasts in the space. Taxstone podcast, with the now infamous Taxstone, was a byproduct of Charlamagne. That’s his biggest strength to me, next to his intellect. He doesn’t appear to be a glutton for the spotlight. He often champions his friends or peers he admires. #UncommonSense is really him and his friends having fun and sneaking in some real conversation. I could rattle off names all day of people I’ve come to discover based off of his cosign. Likewise, with books I didn’t hear of or didn’t have serious interest in reading until I began to follow his path. Which made it a no brainer that he’d write his own right? Add author to his name now. Black Privilege: Opportunity comes to those who create it is in stores as you’re reading this. April 18, 2017 the ex- drug dealer and convict turn multimedia juggernaut should become a New York Times Best Seller as he releases a self-help book based off of eight principles he’s used to turn his life around. Could an idiot accomplish all these things? Unfortunately, and fortunately, yes. But if you think he’s an idiot you just haven’t been paying attention. I’m not the bodyguard of reputation, I’m merely someone who seeks more information and information is his gift to the world. Jay Z once said, “Don’t follow me young’un, follow my moves, I’m not a role model”. That’s very sound advice from Uncle Hov. When applying it to Charlamagne I’d say, don’t just follow the hot takes, don’t try to be Charlamagne, but take a second to notice the greatness hiding in plain sight. He’ll be here for a while. 
Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It- In Stores Now!!

-Travis Cochran 

Wale Will #Shine


“America’s dream and nightmare, in the same being, even when being polite here, n***** try to bring me down, the life of a pioneer; Light years” – Wale Folarin



The Most Highly Underrated Of My Generation. Nike owes Wale. Penny Hardaway owes Wale. Until the Young Thug offspring were born, rap stylists owed Wale. Remember around More About Nothing when Wale was looking like the Rapper prototype? He had the music. He had the look. He had the women. He had balance. What happened??? I’ll tell you… he lost the mystique.


It’s Mr. Need An Encore. My Wale history starts, ironically, at the “Back To The Feature” mixtape. I came across Wale randomly. While the internet wasn’t birthed in 2008, it certainly wasn’t as potent then as it is now so my introduction to Wale was, get this, a music video on BET. Home from college, staying with my dad for the summer, I’m walking out the house and somehow the background music I had been ignoring for hours magically got louder. 🗣🗣”FLYER THAN THE REST OF THEM, STILL GOT MY NIKE BOOTS”. I stopped dead in my tracks, “WHO IS THAT?”. So I watched the whole video. Found out his name. Made plans to look into it. My daily schedule consisted of numerous visits to all of the hiphop blogs back then. I want to say the next day I randomly came across “Cyphr” on OnSmash.com. I still remember the cover art they used, He had on a navy blue “Natural” shirt with a fitted flipped backwards. He had a fan after that verse. I’m a Rocafella baby and he went in and out with Beans, Free, and Young Chris and didn’t get bodied. At that time, it meant something to be on the newest MC’s who were up next so I told all my boys, “This new n**** Wale nice!!”


It’s something to be great. Over the last 8 years, I haven’t been exposed to a more well-rounded MC than Folarin. To be as cerebral a lyricists and as effortless a hit maker is range most MC’s would kill for. Wale’s Achilles’ heel is he never mastered being famous. One of the groundbreakers as far as direct contact between rappers and fans on twitter, it eventually led to his disposition. When Twitter was carefree and about being funny and trendy, Wale excelled. Him, Fabolous, and Joe Budden led the charge that contributed to the hiphop community completely embracing the social platform. But the tide changed. As the crowd grew, the perception changed. Soon Wale’s frequencing for going back and forth with fan and hater turned him from fan favorite to heel. He was overly accessible. If you ask anyone who remembers what celebrity was like pre-social media, that’s a cardinal rule, don’t be too accessible. They don’t need to see you too much, hear you too much, or know too much about you. That’s a prehistoric model mostly now, but all the biggest AND greatest stars still quietly live by that. Wale, being a victim of his down-to-earth demeanor, have watched other artists profit and be championed off skillsets and content ideas he’s always excelled at. He’s watch acts he helped surpass him, not because of talent or output, but because of likeability and mystique. The Cole’s and the Kendrick’s, both of which who share conscious content that Wale has always pushed, and even Drake refrain from the daily communication with the general public. They give the people time to miss them. They release their music, maybe do somewhat a semblance of a press run, then you never hear another word from them unless it is in calculated produced measures (i.e. on stage or via documentaries). Who would’ve ever thought you would be punished for being willing to talk to people?


#SHINE Season. In my, sometimes arrogant opinion, Wale doesn’t have a bad project. Some I value more than others, but there’s none I loathe. I’m a fan. I’m sure that’s evident. I can also give you a list of personal critiques for every project, and even for his tweets and interviews. No one will do everything that you like but as a fan I don’t expect perfection. I expect effort. I expect you to push for greatness every time you come out, even if you fail at it. The animal on Wale’s back combined with him shooting like 87% from the field when I compare good records to bad ones, leads me to believe #Shine will be just another solid to great addition. From the records I’ve heard, it doesn’t sound like the rappity rap Wale I’ve grown to love and expect, but Kingdom Come didn’t sound like the Jay Z I came to expect either, and I love that album. Wale deserves the benefit of the doubt, at least with me. He deserves the benefit of experimentation. He’s given me enough great quotables, verses, songs, and projects for me to say… I’m going to see where he’s going with this. Music is constantly changing. He’s always given the rap public sounds or artists they weren’t really ready for yet (ex. Lady Gaga on his first album) but it eventually proved to be greatness so I preordered Shine. I’m going to take my time with Shine. Because ultimately when the dust settles, Wale’s skill and catalog will prove to be one of the best of his time, and that’s a brand I trust.


Don’t Never Hold Your Applause For Me.

-Travis Cochran