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Singer Tyrese Gibson Receiving Unfair Treatment from Pop Radio Stations

Pop radio is not a level playing field for R&B artists

SINGER TYRESE GIBSON is not singing a happy tune when it comes to pop radio stations. The singer, whose album is number one of the billboard R&B charts, says that hit music stations are not playing his tracks. Gibson told TMZ: "When i think about Sam Smith, Robin Thicke, [and] Justin Timberlake- when they're singing R&B soul, their songs are being played on all formats of radio, including urban radio. We don't say because their white they should only be played on the white stations. If I'm number song deserves to be heard by the world."

Freedom Williams of C+C Music Factory Talks Music Industry Changes

Freedom Williams gives advice to would be music and recording artists: remember you are the brand

In this interview with What's The 411TV's Courtney Rashon, hip hop artist and dancer, Freedom Williams, gives us some insight into his life today, thoughts on the state of the music industry, how he got his record deal, and how some artists today are replicas of the past.

Freedom Williams, born Frederick Brandon Williams, started as a hip-hop head and evolved into a dancer. Today, Freedom has his hands in everything. He built a recording studio for artists to use; tours several months out of the year, manages a couple of groups, directs videos; mentors artists including the Williamsburg Bullies; builds houses through his construction company; and he has two children, a son who recently graduated from Columbia University and a 15-year-old daughter. 

Regarding the state of hip-hop today, Freedom believes hip-hop has lost some of its punch. The music industry as it was when he started is no more; people are making music in their basements, everybody's sharing and record sales have plummeted.

As far as ghostwriting goes in the rap industry, Freedom thinks today it's a silly argument. However, back in the day, rap artists would have gotten beat up for ghostwriting, but today is a different day. The industry has changed and the culture has changed.

What's on Freedom's playlist? You can find Janelle Monae, Stevie Wonder, classical music, Haitian music, and even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches on Freedom's playlist. As an artist, Freedom listens to everything. Who are Freedom Williams' favorite artists? Stevie Wonder, as a producer-musician, is Freedom William's favorite artist of all time. In 2015, Freedom likes Janelle Monae; Anthony Hamilton; Drake; Immortal Technique; and Latin music. 

For those looking for a record deal, what's Freedom's advice? Remember you are the brand, work on you. The real money is in performance, so make people want to give you their money.

"Be the best that you can be, Freedom said. "Work on your songs, work on your craft, so when you are presented...the real game starts in practice, you bring that to the field."

Also, take care of your health. Freedom Williams believes in being physically fit; he says that when he's performing, he can see the audience getting tired before he does.

How does Freedom feel about social media?

Although social media is a valuable tool to market and promote artists today, Freedom advises artists to have thick skin and don't get caught up in the negativity.

Thank God there was no social media back in the day; today there are so many finger gangsters.

Would Freedom Williams go on Dancing With the Stars?


Although Alfonso Ribeiro set the bar really high, if the producers of Dancing With The Stars called Freedom Williams, he would answer the phone.

Beyonce Coming Forth With Platinum Edition Box Set

Get ready for the global release of BEYONCE Platinum Edition Box Set. The 2 CD/2 DVD limited edition package will include new songs, "7/11" and "Ring Off" plus four new and unreleased remixes with some superstar collaborators. The original, critically acclaimed self-titled visual album, featuring 14 songs and 17 videos, is also included. The BEYONCE Platinum Edition Box Set is set for release on November 24.

The special edition box set features a live performance DVD that chronicles the year-long "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour," a mini version of the official 2015 Beyonce calendar, and more.

Beyonce Platinum-Edition-Box-Set


• MORE audio CD with two brand new songs and four unreleased remixes with collaborations from Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Mr. Vegas and Pharrell Williams
• " LIVE" DVD featuring 10 live performances from the "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour" with artist commentary and an accompanying photo booklet
• BEYONCE Original audio CD featuring 14 songs and accompanying photo booklet
• BEYONCE Original DVD featuring 17 music videos
• The official 2015 Beyonce mini calendar

Flawless Remix (Featuring Nicki Minaj)
Drunk in Love Remix (Featuring JAY Z & Kanye West)
Ring Off
Blow Remix (Featuring Pharrell Williams)
Standing on the Sun Remix (Featuring Mr. Vegas)

Run The World (Girls)
Get Me Bodied
Drunk In Love (Featuring JAY Z)
1 + 1

Pretty Hurts
Drunk in Love (Featuring JAY Z)
Mine (Featuring Drake)
***Flawless (Featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
Superpower (Featuring Frank Ocean)
Blue (Featuring Blue Ivy)

Pretty Hurts
Drunk In Love
Grown Woman

Prince, Lenny Kravitz and Other Music's Greats Coming to a Book Near You

There are several books about music’s greatest wonders coming out this autumn. Some of the books, we think you will want to know about are:

Prince Let-s-Go-CrazyLet’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain by Alan Light

Are you a Prince fan or know a Prince fan?

If so, then you may want to put Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain on your holiday shopping list.

Purple Rain is a song, an album, and a film—each one a commercial success and cultural milestone. How did this semi-autobiographical musical masterpiece that blurred R&B, pop, dance, and rock sounds come to alter the recording landscape and become an enduring touchstone for successive generations of fans? For the answer, check out Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain by Alan Light, an acclaimed music journalist and former senior editor of Rolling Stone; due out in December 2014.



Carlos SantanaThe Universal Tone: My Life by Carlos Santana

Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana is one of those rare artists whose music has an immense reach within the mainstream from '60s classic rock (the Abraxas album) to '90s commercial pop (the multiplatinum Supernatural).

In 1967 in San Francisco, just a few weeks after the Summer of Love, a young Mexican guitarist took the stage at the Fillmore Auditorium and played a blistering solo that announced the arrival of a prodigious musical talent. Two years later -- after he played a historic set at Woodstock -- the world came to know the name Carlos Santana, his sensual and instantly recognizable guitar sound, and the legendary band that blended electric blues, psychedelic rock, Latin rhythms, and modern jazz, and that still bears his name.

Carlos Santana documents his rise as one of rock's great guitarists and career highs in this forthcoming book, The Universal Tone: My Life, due out in November 2014.



Lenny-Kravitz resized 299x400Lenny Kravitz by Lenny Kravitz (with Anthony DeCurtis, Pharrell Williams and Marla Hamburg Kennedy)

Lenny Kravitz is the quintessential rock god: he has musical chops, glamorous style, and sex appeal for miles. Kravitz’s talents as a writer, producer, actor, and multi-instrumentalist are without question: he has won four consecutive Grammy Awards, setting a record for the most wins in the "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" category, has sold more than thirty-eight million albums worldwide, and remains always in the public eye by appearing in blockbuster films.

This book, Lenny Kravitz, includes photographs spanning Kravitz’s time in the public eye, from his earliest days kicking around in New York City in the 1980s to traveling the world; from shots of Lenny composing in hotel rooms to performing in front of massive crowds; and from fashion shoots to intimate personal settings.

A visual celebration of one of rock’s sexiest, most magnetic stars, Lenny Kravitz, includes a conversation with Pharrell Williams. Lenny Kravitz illustrates the raw sensual power that has captivated his fans all over the world.

In stores and on Amazon now.



George-Benson resized 233x350Benson: The Autobiography by George Benson with Alan Goldsher

Over the course of his fifty-year career, George Benson has performed for hundreds of millions of fans around the world, received 10 Grammy Awards, and recorded with some of the most revered musicians of his era. In 2011, he earned a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters Award. And he has finally decided to tell his story.

An open and truthful storyteller, Benson discusses in Benson: The Autobiography, his near-arrest for domestic abuse, the tragic illnesses that afflicted his family, the secret lives of his musical cohorts, and racism’s effect on his life and art. His long-awaited book allows readers to meet one of the most beloved, prolific, and bestselling musicians of any era.

In stores and on Amazon now.



Herbie-Hancock resized 232x350

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities by Herbie Hancock with Lisa Dickey

In Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, the legendary jazz musician and composer reflects on a life and a thriving career that has spanned seven decades. A true innovator, Herbie Hancock has had an enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop, with his ongoing exploration of different musical genres, winning fourteen Grammy awards along the way.

From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis’s second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock: Possibilities reveals the method behind Hancock’s undeniable musical genius.

Hancock shares his musical influences, colorful behind-the-scenes stories, his long and happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspires him creatively and personally. Honest, enlightening, and as electrifyingly vital as the man who wrote it, Herbie Hancock: Possibilities promises to be an invaluable contribution to jazz literature and a must-read for fans and music lovers.

In stores and on Amazon now.


Ol-Dirty-Bastard resized 232x350The Dirty Version: On Stage, In the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol’ Dirty Bastard by Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess

On the tenth anniversary of his death, The Dirty Version is the first biography of hip hop superstar and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, to be written by someone from his inner circle: his right-hand man and best friend, Buddha Monk.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard rocketed to fame with the Wu-Tang Clan, the raucous and renegade group that altered the world of hip hop forever. ODB was one of the Clan’s wildest icons and most inventive performers, and when he died of an overdose in 2004 at the age of thirty-five, millions of fans mourned the loss. ODB lives on in epic proportions and his antics are legend: he once picked up his welfare check in a limousine; lifted a burning car off a four-year-old girl in Brooklyn; stole a fifty-dollar pair of sneakers on tour at the peak of his success. Many have questioned whether his stunts were carefully calculated or the result of paranoia and mental instability.

Now, Dirty’s friend since childhood, Buddha Monk, a Wu-Tang collaborator on stage and in the studio, reveals the truth about the complex and talented performer. From their days together on the streets of Brooklyn to the meteoric rise of Wu-Tang’s star, from bouts in prison to court-mandated rehab, from Dirty’s favorite kind of pizza to his struggles with fame and success, Buddha tells the real story—The Dirty Version—of the legendary rapper.

The Dirty Version: On Stage, In the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol’ Dirty Bastard is in stores and on Amazon in November 2014.


  • Published in Authors

Bette Midler's Remake of TLC's Waterfalls Invokes Strong Reactions

Singer, actress and all-around entertainer, Bette Midler has a remake of TLC’s Waterfalls on her new album, It’s The Girls!

The album, consisting of remakes of songs from girl groups, is a celebration of girl groups and is Bette Midler’s first album in nearly 10 years.

On the album, in addition to the remake of TLC’s Waterfalls, there are remakes of The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Andrew Sisters, The Crystals and more.

“I have loved the sound of females harmonizing since I was a kid; I always sang along. Didn't we all?” Midler tells Billboard. “I think the idea that you could become part of the group was the thing that endeared me to the girl groups. You weren't just singing along, you were THERE!”

There is a little bit of a dustup over Midler's remake of Waterfalls originally recorded by TLC, but most people like Midler’s heart-wrenching rendition.

It's The Girls! is set for a November 4 release.

Check out audio clip of Waterfalls and let us know what you think.

Audio of Waterfalls by Bette Midler

Alabama Rapper Skoolie Debuts Thought-Provoking Short Film for "Check Out My Watch"

What's The 411TV music and entertainment reporter Rita Obi, conducts a wide-ranging interview via Skype with Alabama rapper, Skoolie regarding Check Out My Watch.

Instead of the same old urban-themed music video most rappers release for a record/single, Skoolie released a short film with thought provoking visuals for his single, Check Out My Watch.

"...Tell us a little bit about the concept behind it, it's very creative, the visuals were amazing, tell us a little bit about how that came about," Rita asked Skoolie.

"When we made the record, I actually wanted to just do something that everybody else wasn't doing," responded Skoolie. "Because here in my city, they actually pretty much go to the same locations and do something that everybody else did and when we put the little Negro spiritual kind of moans in the back, it was like, yo we have to be slaves....I consider myself to be a more thought-provoking artist; I wanted to bridge the gap between the hipsters and the hoods; so where I could still get my lyrical point across, but at the same time, I could still touch that audience that I don't normally touch. I wanted the hook to be super simple, but I wanted it to mean a million things. The whole started out with nothing now we blow it all, We literally did start out with nothing as a people, we really started out with not a thing, but now that we have a small a little bit of something, we still just you know, frivolous spending, it's a fashion show, it was just basically saying, come on yall, wake up a little bit, like just a little bit."

"Your sound is very, very unique," Rita said in a complimentary manner. "It reminds me of like Kanye West, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar. Who would you say inspired you to get involved in the hip hop industry?"

"Who inspired me period was A Tribe Called Quest, like I'm a huge Tribe fan," Skoolie responded paying homage to the pioneering hip hop trio. "Right now my idol is Kanye West; being that he pushes the envelope...he sees what you're comfortable with and with that alone that's gonna make you talk about him, and want to see what he's got going next because he's provocative and I appreciate his artistry like in the way.. his projects are always so well thought out; it's just refreshing and I try to follow in his footsteps but at the same time in a sense try to outdo him as well. It would be awesome to meet him and to just have a conversation with him because I feel the same way he does about a lot of stuff. Kanye is a huge, huge inspiration to me and my music today."

WATCH VIDEO: Rapper Skoolie Talks About His Musical Journey and the Concept for Check Out My Watch


Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS Brings out Music and Film Stars

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, What's The 411 presents this throwback video from 2002, featuring Black music and film stars who came out for a benefit concert to support Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS, a national non-profit organization dedicated to reaching America's youth with the message of HIV/AIDS prevention.

Included in this video are actor/comedian Mike Epps; actress/director Kim Fields; singer/songwriter Musiq; musician/DJ Kid Capri; rapper/actor Ja Rule; music producer Irv Gotti; singer/songwriter Ashanti; and rapper, Charli Baltimore.

Everyone spoke about the need for HIV/AIDS Awareness and prevention.

Kim Fields reminded us not to alienate those that may be HIV-positive or suffering from AIDS. Unfortunately, even in 2012, some people with HIV are still being ostracized.

Charli Baltimore, a mother of two daughters expressed that teaching abstinence "is unrealistic at this point, I think it is more important that we teach our young, especially daughters to love themselves, and respect themselves, and protect themselves."

Kid Capri made one of the most profound statements of the night "five seconds of pleasure could really ruin your life."

Ja Rule had a message for the media, "I hope it's not just looking at all the artists coming out. I hope they're looking at the big picture and not just taking pictures."

Video: 2002

Damon Dash Gives Insight into His Career and Music Industry

Damon Dash talks about what it takes to manage recording artists, benefits of owning his own record company, and more

What's The 411 producer Ruth J. Morrison caught up with entrepreneur and music producer Damon Dash at a Fashion Arts Xchange (FAX) event held at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), in which he and the phenomenal photographer Gordon Parks were honored.

Dash talked with What’s The 411 about his early days as a manager for a hip-hop group, Original Flava, the reason he started his own record company; Dash Films; and Dash Digital.

Dash also reminded us that a little-known rapper by the name of Jay-Z dropped a few rhymes on Original Flava's single, Can I Get Open.

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