Hurricane Irma relief for Puerto Rico

What to New Yorkers are Puerto Ricans? They are our friends, family, neighbors. They’re our collaborators, our lovers, and our partners in struggle and triumph. To see their home island ignored during a crisis like this is a reminder that environmental racism is a real part of the larger System of racism that we report on at

If your family is from a formerly colonized island, this gut wrenching lack of response looks horrifyingly familiar. The U.S. government’s neglect of Puerto Rican people is a reminder that the violence of colonization is many things including: the building up of a huge military that you then won’t use to help the people who need it, the selling of “territory” islands back and forth between European countries and the U.S., and then using those islands as natural resource extraction sites or militaristic training grounds or “buffers” against surrounding nations – all while viewing the lives of the people who live on these islands as EXPENDABLE.

Let’s Weep but let’s Act. Poison Pen, Trinidad James, Immortal Tech, Beyonce, Jay Z, Pitbull, Fat Joe, Bobbito and many others are using their jets or money or influence – to help Relief efforts.


My small contribution will be to Classic Material’s dropoff location. If anyone in NYC wants to help me and my friend Regina to grab supplies, please contact me via my contact page before 11am today. We have a car so we can scoop you up. Want to donate a few dollars to help me afford to buy more relief items? You can venmo $5 or more to me at chev_dr. Or paypal me at Peace and love.




Cormega pens book on ‘Understanding The True Meaning’ of his sophomore album

In honor of the 15th anniversary of The True Meaning album, Cormega teamed up with Brian Kayser to deliver a book that takes an in-depth look at Mega’s critically-acclaimed sophomore effort.
Understanding The True Meaning‘ features lyrical breakdowns as well as commentary from various producers and behind-the-scenes team members who were involved with the making of the score. Contributors include Alchemist, Buckwild, D/R Period, Hi-Tek, J Waxx Garfield, and of course J-Love, among others. Purchase the book online at Fatbeats, or Amazon.

If you’re looking for celebratory merchandise to go along with the book,  visit where True Meaning hoodies, skateboard decks, t-shirts and more, are being sold for the album’s anniversary. While you’re at it, visit my archive on Cormega ( including my review of the mini-doc about his life).


Photo: Cormega at Book Signing


Mass Appeal’s Sacha Jenkins explores lyricism in new Hip-Hop film ‘Word Is Bond’

Lyricism is the foundation of hip hop music. Word is Bond explores the nature of lyricism via a number of artists who live the culture and practice the art form. From up-and-coming artists, to some of the most legendary figures the game has ever known, Jenkins and his editor Mariah deliver a film that takes you across the country and back — in an ode to the art of rhyming and its connection to community. 

It was my pleasure to attend a screening of the film, and I encourage you to listen to some raw snippets of the Q&A with the director via my Youtube audio clip below. The film expected to be released in 2018 on showtime.

Director: Sacha Jenkins

Editor: Mariah Rhemet

Producer: Peter Bittenbender



Styles P, Adjua and Mass Appeal Want to Add Juices and Plants to Your Life

In a new experiential endeavor, the Juices For Life team got together with Sacha Jenkins from Mass Appeal for ‘Show And Prove’.

Hosted by Styles P. And Adjua Styles, the event kicked off with a discussion about how the juice bar chain Juices For Life came to be, and what lifestyle the brand is meant to represent.
“I used to have acne, eczema, a bad attitude and a worse temper!” Styles explained. “Now, I give credit to my wife. She into a plant based diet so now… Well, I still have an attitude, but no eczema, no acne and a much better temper!” 

The crowd laughed, but leaned in as Styles continued to share the ways in which believes adding more plants to his diet has helped him manage all of the stress that can accumulate in the body. He encouraged people to get in the habit of learning new plant facts more regularly, and to begin taking with eachother about our emotional, mental and physical health–and the ways in which food can affect all three.

When the time came for questions and discussion, one of the first people to pipe up from the crowd was Bun B. Standing near his wife he raised his hand and said, “I want to drink more juice, but I don’t want to stop drinking liquor. If the juice I’ve been drinking with my liquor is messing me up, should I switch to another?”

More laughter from the room led into an appreciation for the truthfulness in Bun’s question. The answer was yes, try another mixer. For example, cranberry juice may be too acidic for some people, but there are other juices that are less so.

One of the most interesting things about this private event was the way in which honesty and camaraderie took over the room. Styles emphasized his wish to open up conversations about all aspects of wellness, especially in black and brown households. “It’s not just about the juice bar,” he said, encouraging people to juice at home or eat more plants wherever they can fit them in. 

When a visitor commented on how juicing must be a great way to lose weight, Adjua Styles interjected, “It’s not just about weight. Adding more plants to your diet is about wellness. If anything, weight loss is just a bonus.”

That is one of the truest things I’ve come to learn about adding plants to my own diet as a young adult. There are plants that literally fight to protect cells against cancer. There are plants that work to reduce nausea. Still more, there are plants that help fortify the immune system or even clear a stuffy nose. There are many reasons to add various plants to what we eat, most of which go way beyond simple weight loss.

Another standout feature of the event was the description of the lifestyle Adjua and Styles P are pushing. Styles described it as wanting to get money, but not wanting to put money over health. He encouraged everyone to share the knowledge they learned from the event, and not to let it end there. I raised my glass of juice to that.

Scroll down to view some photos from the event. You can also right-click on any of the photo quotes above to save them to your phone and share them across social media to inspire others.



On Sexism in Entertainment, Rick Ross Could Learn a Lot From Queen Latifah

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Photo: Screenshot from SwaysUniverse on YouTube

I never know what I’ll hear when I leave YouTube on autoplay. Yesterday, while completing some work, I left a playlist running in a background tab. The first interview I heard was rapper and label owner Rick Ross on The Breakfast Club. He told DJ Envy, Charlemagne and Angela Yee about his role in a new VH1 television show ‘Signed,’ in which recording artists can compete for a chance to have their careers further developed. Before you read on, let me admit to a struggle in reckoning with my love of rap music versus some of the harmful ideas some of the music perpetuates.

When Angela asked Ross about the general prospect of him signing women to his own label or working with women to develop their rap careers, Ross’ response indicated that he hasn’t signed many women rappers because he thinks he’d need to have sex with them after spending money to develop them. My mouth dropped open.

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Angela Yee posing a question to Rick Ross. (Photo: screenshot from Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM YouTube)

Ross’ comments reminded me of a lyric in which he rapped about the idea of putting molly in a woman’s champagne without her knowledge. That lyric resulted in writer and organizer dream hampton advocating for Reebok to drop Ross from his endorsement deal (which they eventually did) saying:

While we do not believe that Rick Ross condones sexual assault, we are very disappointed he has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue.

I was glad to see dream hampton confront Ross’ lyrics then, but I think Ross has a certain level of ignorance about sexism and rape culture that might only improve with intervention from his own friends and much more education. Rick Ross’ comments made my stomach turn, but I found inspiration in the next interview that autoplayed — it was was Queen Latifah on Sway in the Morning.

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Latifah speaking on Sway in the Morning. (Photo: screenshot from SwaysUniverse YouTube channel)

Latifah stars in the Will Packer and Universal Studios film ‘Girls Trip,’ which earned an estimated $30+ million during its opening weekend this July. Colorlines’ Sameer Rao reports that the raunchy comedy is headlined by four Black actresses and was crafted by a Black creative team. That team included multiple women.

When asked by Tracy G about her thoughts on how to succeed despite sexism in the entertainment industry, Latifah said she knows many men who have contributed to her life, but that you’ll “face obstacles no matter what you do.” Part of the problem, Latifah said, is people try to limit what they think women can do in certain fields.  She encouraged women to be prepared for what may come, but to identify, and stay close to people who respect you:

“What I don’t think we should do is limit ourselves in any shape or form. When you find people that you can connect to, who will support you […] those are the people you need to keep in your life.”

Latifah went on to describe her relationship with her business partner Shakim Compere as one of mutual, intellectual respect. Watch the full interview below.


DJ Shadow and Nas release SYSTEMATIC, Directed by TTK

As TTK’s communications manager I’m so proud to share with you more of his recent work.  He directed the video for the latest single from the forthcoming ‘Silicon Valley’ soundtrack. SYSTEMATIC is a funky track by DJ Shadow, featuring Nasir Jones. Get the full story over at MassAppeal, and don’t forget to let TTK know if you dig it. Looking to hire TTK to create some artwork for you? Reach out here. Ready to take the track with you? Download Systematic.



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