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TRANSITIONS | James Mtume, Multi-Genre Artist, Musician, Songwriter – Dead at 76

Almost everyone of age in the R&B Multiverse knows Roberta Flack and Donnie Hathaway’s venerable classic, “The Closer I Get To You”… Not many knew it was co-written by Reggie Lucas and James Mtume.

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Percussionist James Mtume, the beat behind Miles Davis and later ‘Juicy, has reportedly died, his death was confirmed by his publicist, Angelo Ellerbee.

An NPR article noted that Mtume recorded with pianist and future NEA Jazz Master McCoy Tyner in 1970, but his big break came the following year, when he started playing congas with Davis’s electric group. Filling the void left by Airto Moreira, Mtume stayed on for four years, appearing on landmark LPs like 1972’s On the Corner and 1974’s Big Fun. “Ife,” from that latter album, had a title near to Mtume’s heart — it was the name of his daughter.

The esteemed Miles Davis noted Mtume’s impact on the heartbeat of his band in a 1989 autobiography where he stated… “With Mtume, Heath and Pete Cosey joining us, most of the European sensibilities were gone from the band. Now the band settled down into a deep African thing, a deep African-American groove, with a lot of emphasis on drums and rhythm, and not on individual solos.”

Three years after his departure from Davis, in 1978, Mtume traded the zig-zag sensibilities of “electric Miles” for the less zig and more zag of funk, and launched his group known simply as Mtume. But on its third album, 1983’s Juicy Fruit, the band channeled something deeper. Featuring an outfront, icy, snaking bass and a hypnotic line from a Drum machine, Mtume offered the flirty, laidback, sultry title track that carved itself into music history, grabbing the No. 1 spot on the Billboard R&B chart and placing Mtume’s as a producer and artist into the spotlight.

MTUME

Mtume described his sound in a Red Bull Academy Interview… “what I got to ultimately was what I called neo-minimalism,” explained Mtume, “I was experimenting with how to take less and make it sound more. If you listen to something like ‘Juicy Fruit’ there’s only four or five instruments played. And that was a whole new thing. Also, there was no reverb on nothing. So it sounded like you could have played it in your basement.”

The sound not only stuck, it stayed fresh in oldie and recurrent play at radio, and with the introduction of sampling, the groove and infectious beat mowed over the airwaves again, a decade later, this time infused and powered by Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.”

 “Juicy” cracked the Top 40 alongside other Biggie hits like “Hypnotize” and “Mo Money Mo Problems.”

Following his group’s final album, 1986’s Theater of the Mind, Mtume changed direction. He continued to work in music — the ’90s found him producing for D’Angelo (a cover of Eddie Kendricks’s “Girl You Need a Change of Mind”) and Mary J. Blige (“Our Love”) — but he also turned his attention to The Open Line, the long-running talk radio show he co-hosted on New York’s 98.7 Kiss FM. 

Mtume was many things, among them he was also a Muse, in the same NPR interview he stated… ” The political environment is what brings about the music. Society is a thermostat, your music is the thermometer. It tells you what the temperature is, it doesn’t set it. Right now, the thermostat for social change and seriousness is at a low level. Something will happen to make it heat up, and then the artists who will be the thermometers can tell you what the temperature is.”

James Mtume, born James Forman will live on in glory we will miss him, but we will continue to celebrate his greatness and gifts as a musician, songwriter, producer and man, R.I.P. Mtume.

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A Short Conversation About ‘Snitching’ Led To The Murder Of Nipsey Hussle -Prosecutor

the woman who has accused singer Chris Brown of drugging and raping her on a yacht in late December 2020. In text messages between Brown and the accuser which was exclusively obtained by Radar, Jane Doe, the woman is seen courting Brown in lewd language and bare-naked selfies almost immediately after the alleged rape took place.

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A Los Angeles prosecutor on Wednesday told jurors that a conversation between Hussle and fellow gang member Eric R. Holder, was a catalyst in the rappers shooting. AP reported that the prosecutor told jurors that pre-mediated the rapper’s 2019 killing after a short conversation between the two men regarding accusations of “snitching.”

The highly-publicized trial kicked off this week with opening arguments on Wednesday following nearly two weeks of jury selection and a pandemic-related delay.

Holder, 32, faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting that left Hussle dead and two other men injured. Holder faces possible life in prison if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney used his opening statement on Wednesday to describe the sequence of events that led to Hussle’s May 2019 death outside his clothing store in South Los Angeles, according to news reports.

Hussle, a South LA native who was born Ermias Asghedom, was using his notoriety to help revitalize his community at the time of his death. Prosecutors said Hussle and Holder grew up in the same neighborhood and knew each other from both being members of the same gang, the Rollin’ 60s.

McKinney told jurors that prior to the shooting, the two men had a brief, chance conversation in which Hussle told Holder there were rumors that the latter was a “snitch” and he should “clear that up,” according to The AP. The district attorney described the short discussion as a “cool conversation” in which Hussle told Holder that he’d heard Holder was talking to police about members of the Rollin’ 60s.

The allegation, McKinney said, “moved Eric Holder to a point of wanting to return to the parking lot and kill Nipsey Hussle,” according to The AP.

Minutes later, Holder returned to the same parking lot with two guns and fired multiple shots at Hussle, prosecutors allege. The rapper was hit 11 times and two other men were also struck, according to officials. Police arrested Holder two days later following a manhunt and a grand jury indicted Holder two months after his capture.

Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle.AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

McKinney on Wednesday said there was “no doubt” that Holder planned to kill Hussle ahead of the shooting, The AP reported.

“He clearly thought about what he was going to do before he did it,” McKinney said in court.

Jurors on Wednesday were shown video of the aftermath of the shooting in which multiple people tried to resuscitate Hussle, the outlet reported. McKinney also showed the courtroom photos and video of the shooting, with Holder running away afterward in a red shirt and bandana with a semiautomatic gun and revolver in hand, according to The AP.

Several eyewitnesses who knew both Hussle and Holder have previously told police and a grand jury that Holder approached Hussle and fatally shot him. Hussle was 33 at the time of his death and left behind a young son and daughter.

The defendant’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, plans to argue that Hussle’s killing was not premeditated. The lawyer has also said that the other two men injured in the shooting were not intended targets, making the attempted murder charges excessive. The AP reported that the attorney is likely to emphasize Holder’s mental health issues as well.

The Grammy-award-winning rapper’s death prompted mass displays of mourning in Los Angeles and across the world, with several athletes, musicians and politicians memorializing Hussle. 

The trial is expected to last about two more weeks, according to The AP.

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A Short Conversation About ‘Snitching’ Led To The Murder Of Nipsey Hussle -Prosecutor

Published

on

A Los Angeles prosecutor on Wednesday told jurors that a conversation between Hussle and fellow gang member Eric R. Holder, was a catalyst in the rappers shooting. AP reported that the prosecutor told jurors that pre-mediated the rapper’s 2019 killing after a short conversation between the two men regarding accusations of “snitching.”

The highly-publicized trial kicked off this week with opening arguments on Wednesday following nearly two weeks of jury selection and a pandemic-related delay.

Holder, 32, faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting that left Hussle dead and two other men injured. Holder faces possible life in prison if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney used his opening statement on Wednesday to describe the sequence of events that led to Hussle’s May 2019 death outside his clothing store in South Los Angeles, according to news reports.

Hussle, a South LA native who was born Ermias Asghedom, was using his notoriety to help revitalize his community at the time of his death. Prosecutors said Hussle and Holder grew up in the same neighborhood and knew each other from both being members of the same gang, the Rollin’ 60s.

McKinney told jurors that prior to the shooting, the two men had a brief, chance conversation in which Hussle told Holder there were rumors that the latter was a “snitch” and he should “clear that up,” according to The AP. The district attorney described the short discussion as a “cool conversation” in which Hussle told Holder that he’d heard Holder was talking to police about members of the Rollin’ 60s.

The allegation, McKinney said, “moved Eric Holder to a point of wanting to return to the parking lot and kill Nipsey Hussle,” according to The AP.

Minutes later, Holder returned to the same parking lot with two guns and fired multiple shots at Hussle, prosecutors allege. The rapper was hit 11 times and two other men were also struck, according to officials. Police arrested Holder two days later following a manhunt and a grand jury indicted Holder two months after his capture.

Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle.AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

McKinney on Wednesday said there was “no doubt” that Holder planned to kill Hussle ahead of the shooting, The AP reported.

“He clearly thought about what he was going to do before he did it,” McKinney said in court.

Jurors on Wednesday were shown video of the aftermath of the shooting in which multiple people tried to resuscitate Hussle, the outlet reported. McKinney also showed the courtroom photos and video of the shooting, with Holder running away afterward in a red shirt and bandana with a semiautomatic gun and revolver in hand, according to The AP.

Several eyewitnesses who knew both Hussle and Holder have previously told police and a grand jury that Holder approached Hussle and fatally shot him. Hussle was 33 at the time of his death and left behind a young son and daughter.

The defendant’s attorney, Aaron Jansen, plans to argue that Hussle’s killing was not premeditated. The lawyer has also said that the other two men injured in the shooting were not intended targets, making the attempted murder charges excessive. The AP reported that the attorney is likely to emphasize Holder’s mental health issues as well.

The Grammy-award-winning rapper’s death prompted mass displays of mourning in Los Angeles and across the world, with several athletes, musicians and politicians memorializing Hussle. 

The trial is expected to last about two more weeks, according to The AP.

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Los Angeles District Attorney Will Not File Felony Charges Against The Man Who Attacked Dave Chappelle At Comedy Show

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Comedian Dave Chappelle’ lawyer says the comedian is unhappy with Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s decision not to file felony charges against the man who allegedly attacked him on stage.

“It’s a travesty of justice that Gascón is refusing to prosecute this case as a felony,” Gabriel Colwell told the New York Post on Friday. “The city attorney, who filed the case, is doing his job but DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this as a felony.

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Bloodstone

Bloodstone’s other hits include “Never Let You Go”, “Outside Woman” and “My Little Lady”. Bloodstone was instrumental in the “black rock” and funk movement of the 1970s, and even play

“… Entertainers in LA need to know this is a justice system that will protect them. There is no question here that when someone is violently assaulted by another in possession of a deadly weapon that it should be charged as a felony.”

Colwell echoed those comments to Rolling Stone magazine, telling the publication: “This is what Mr. Chappelle wants. Mr. Chappelle wants this case charged as a felony. … Ten thousand people saw Dave Chappelle assaulted on stage at the Hollywood Bowl last Tuesday night, and the assailant had a deadly weapon on him. The fact that this isn’t charged as a felony case by the DA is insane.”

Isaiah Lee, 23, was charged Thursday by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office with single misdemeanor charge of battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer. He appeared in court Tuesday for a bail review hearing during which bail remained set at $30,000.

Lee is due back in court May 20 after pleading not guilty to the four misdemeanor counts.

Earlier Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that it would not file any felony charges against Lee.

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” according to a statement from the District Attorney’s Office.

The office opted to refer the case to the City Attorney’s Office, which handles misdemeanor prosecutions.


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Los Angeles District Attorney Will Not File Felony Charges Against The Man Who Attacked Dave Chappelle At Comedy Show

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Comedian Dave Chappelle’ lawyer says the comedian is unhappy with Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s decision not to file felony charges against the man who allegedly attacked him on stage.

“It’s a travesty of justice that Gascón is refusing to prosecute this case as a felony,” Gabriel Colwell told the New York Post on Friday. “The city attorney, who filed the case, is doing his job but DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this as a felony.

article continues below

Bloodstone

Bloodstone’s other hits include “Never Let You Go”, “Outside Woman” and “My Little Lady”. Bloodstone was instrumental in the “black rock” and funk movement of the 1970s, and even play

“… Entertainers in LA need to know this is a justice system that will protect them. There is no question here that when someone is violently assaulted by another in possession of a deadly weapon that it should be charged as a felony.”

Colwell echoed those comments to Rolling Stone magazine, telling the publication: “This is what Mr. Chappelle wants. Mr. Chappelle wants this case charged as a felony. … Ten thousand people saw Dave Chappelle assaulted on stage at the Hollywood Bowl last Tuesday night, and the assailant had a deadly weapon on him. The fact that this isn’t charged as a felony case by the DA is insane.”

Isaiah Lee, 23, was charged Thursday by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office with single misdemeanor charge of battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorized access to the stage area during a performance and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer. He appeared in court Tuesday for a bail review hearing during which bail remained set at $30,000.

Lee is due back in court May 20 after pleading not guilty to the four misdemeanor counts.

Earlier Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that it would not file any felony charges against Lee.

“After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct,” according to a statement from the District Attorney’s Office.

The office opted to refer the case to the City Attorney’s Office, which handles misdemeanor prosecutions.


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​Hip-Hop’s Queen Latifah Breaks Ground On Community-Driven Real Estate Project In Newark

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KbakercoMedia

Queen Latifah returned home to Newark on Tuesday, warmly welcomed by fans, family and public officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for a mixed-use project she is partnering with local developers to build on a block with a troubled past.

“I was born here, St. Michael’s Hospital, so this is definitely my home,” said Latifah, 52, who spent some of her early years in neighboring East Orange and Irvington. But getting back to Newark, she added, “This is where Sarah Vaughn is from, so I’m proud to be from here.”

Latifah, an award-winning rapper, singer, and actor who stars in “The Equalizer” on CBS, appeared before a crowd of about 150 people gathered at the site of the RISE mixed-use project between Springfield and 19th Avenues, west of 16th Street, near the boundary of Central and West wards.

The project will include 60 two- and three-bedroom market-rate apartments in four townhouse clusters, and 16 affordable units in a separate building. It will also have space for healthcare or other professional offices and nonprofit organizations.

Rent for the market-rate units will start at around $1,800 a month, said officials of GonSosa Development, the company headed by Alberto and Yacinda Goncalves and Ricardo Sosa that is partnering with Latifah’s development company, Blue Sugar, on the project. Blue Sugar’s CEO is her longtime friend and fellow Newarker Tammy Hammond.

Construction began this winter on the first phase of the project, a dozen market-rate apartments in a three-story building designed to look like a townhouse cluster, which is expected to be completed this summer. Additional phases will be finished gradually, including the affordable units sometime in 2023, with the entire project done by early 2024.

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