Happy Father’s Day! This week in Hip Hop, Jay Z stayed busy, getting inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, announcing a potential release date for his mysterious 4:44 project, tweeting out a list of his influences and reportedly becoming a father two more times.
Plus, All Eyez On Me arrived in theaters with a celebrity-packed premiere in Los Angeles, and we also got to see Amber Rose break the internet with a very NSFW picture. Lastly, XXL’s 2017 Freshman List came out and was met with plenty of criticism from the Hip Hop community.
President Obama Honors Jay Z
Jay Z was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday (June 15) and was honored by President Barack Obama during the ceremony’s gala via a pre-recorded video.
“I’m pretty sure I’m still the only President to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office,” Obama says in the video. “That may change at some point, but I’m pretty sure that’s true now.”
Jay tweeted out the video on Twitter and it was among many messages he let off during a random tweetstorm, listing his rap favorites and influences. Jay thanked both the new school of rappers and the old heads. He starts out with Rakim and wraps it up with Mac Miller. The new dad also promised he wasn’t drunk during his outpouring of co-signs.
I promise I'm not drunk . Lord Pusha . Carti (Magnolia incredible)ASAP Sean P , Mobb , cudi . Tyler , earl, Snoop!!( almost played myself)
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) June 16, 2017
Earlier in June, the internet went crazy trying to figure out if Jay Z was involved with the 4:44 ads plastered all over New York, Los Angeles and our favorite music sites. As everyone waited with bated breath for 4:44 to come around (twice, and beyond), we eventually learned that the ads were promoting an upcoming film starring Academy Award-winning actors Lupita Nyong’o and Mahershala Ali, with no release date in sight.
But then more details arrived. New posters with more specifics popped up in Hollywood, bringing Jay’s name back into the mix, and setting off speculation about how the rapper and the movie were connected.
Now we have a release date — a story that HipHopDX broke — and it appears to be June 30, at least according to the new posters. Maybe that music Jay and Damien Marley worked on will make an appearance.
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) June 17, 2017
Read more about “4:44” here.
All Eyez On Me Movie Premieres & Jada Pinkett-Smith Isn’t Too Happy
The All Eyez On Me movie premiere was a mega celebrity-fest that drew the likes of Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, DJ Quik, Ashanti and E-40.
The film has been met with some good reviews and lots of really bad reviews since its debut. Some of that criticism came from Tupac’s dear friend Jada Pinkett-Smith who addressed the film’s inaccurate portrayal of her and Pac’s relationship.
Forgive me… my relationship to Pac is too precious to me for the scenes in All Eyez On Me to stand as truth.
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) June 16, 2017
Film producer L.T. Hutton fired back at Jada, saying that he’s hurt by her claims.
The making of All Eyez On Me has been a controversial one since its inception. From the film’s production company, Morgan Creek, suing Tupac’s late mom, Afeni Shakur, over music rights, to directors dropping out of the project, including acclaimed filmmaker John Singleton.
Hutton went on The Breakfast Club last week and shared why Singleton was no longer part of the project.
“There were a multitude of things that he wanted to do that just weren’t flattering to Tupac himself,” Hutton says. “It was almost like, ‘What are you doing? You knew what was going on, and now you want to defame the guy.’ Not on my watch.”
Watch the rest of L.T. Hutton’s Breakfast Club interview here.
Amber Rose Shows Off Her Flower
Amber Rose announced her third annual SlutWalk with a nude photo of her chilling on some stairs, showing off her bushy va-jay-jay. Of course Instagram took it down, but not before the internet hit right-click save (or long-press save).
AMBER ?? pic.twitter.com/i48ApLypNt
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) June 10, 2017
Naturally, social media had to take things a step further, sparking the hilarious trending #AmberRoseChallenge.
Read more about Amber Rose here.
2017 XXL Freshman Cover Controversy
Whenever XXL drops its Freshman cover, controversy ensues. In 2017, XXXTENTACION, PnB Rock, Kamaiyah, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Playboi Carti, Madeintyo, Aminé, Ugly God, Kap G and Kyle all made the final cut.
Much like with last year’s list, people weren’t feeling the cover too much. It made some fans feel old, as evidenced by the plethora of “WhO ArE ThEsE GuYs” sentiments (insert Sponge Bob meme here). Other fans denounced the list because they felt their favorite rapper should’ve made it instead, and therefore saw it as proof that Hip Hop is lost.
Another point of contention was XXXTENTACION making the list despite allegedly beating up his pregnant girlfriend, although Famous Dex was kept off in light of him being caught on camera beating up his girlfriend. XXL editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten explained that there’s no conviction so, according to her, X is currently in the clear.
Read more about XXL’s 2017 Freshman class here.
DXclusives: Demetrius Shipp Jr. & Big Boi
HipHopDX had a chance to chop it up with the star of All Eyez On Me, Demetrius Shipp Jr., who plays the role of Tupac Shakur. Shipp shared with DX what it was like to hold the responsibility of the iconic role on his shoulders.
“We were trying to bring the best every day,” he says. “Me learning, and trying to embody [Tupac] to the best of my ability. It was just a thrill man. We knew that we couldn’t put together a half-good movie. We couldn’t make it just whatever. We had to bring the best.”
At the All Eyez On Me movie premiere, DX spoke with Big Boi about his relationship with Tupac and how they were supposed to cook up some music together. ‘Pac was a big Outkast fan, and wanted to work with the group.
“It was a good feeling, and after that we spoke and were suppose to do some music together,” Big Boi explained. “We out here to support him and his legacy tonight. He’s one of the realest dudes I’ve ever met.”
If you happen to be one of those confused about who is who on XXL’s Freshman cover, DX has a handy guide to help you get acquainted with the cover stars’ music and what made them pop.
While XXXTENTACION got the mainstream spotlight shone on him over calling Drake out for reportedly jacking his “Look At Me!” flow, Interscope Records signee Playboi Carti’s single “Magnolia” thrust him further into the spotlight.
Find out more about the Freshman cover’s artists’ music here.