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Inside Vic Mensa’s Listening Party for I Tape

Vic Mensa

Vic Mensa’s new I Tape project drops this Friday, March 26th. MusicXclusives caught up to him during his album listening party to get an inside scoop on the album and the details surrounding it.

The Zoom room contained dozens of notable names. Vic gave personal shoutouts to the likes. of writer/producer Malik Yusuf and Sullivan Doh, global brand ambassador for Dusse cognac, which sponsored the event.

Jail calls and struggle were a common theme on the project, as many of the tracks either started or ended with audio from a jail phone. Struggle was apparent as well, as Vic spoke on his father’s struggles growing up in poverty-stricken Ghana. Vic mentions that his uncle doesn’t even have a bathroom in his home.

The album leads with the single “SHELTER” which features Wyclef Jean and Chance the Rapper. Wyclef was in attendance, seated next to Vic as they performed the record.

Though the track under-performed as a single, clocking in just under 600k views on YouTube over more than a month after its release, the track has a very deep message and contains extremely hard-hitting and thought provoking lyrics. The video was a visual metaphor for the impact that Covid-19 had on the Black community.

I TAPE follows last year’s V TAPE, which is the latest in a series that fans think will eventually spell out Vic’s name.

The Chicago rapper previously performed FR33DOM on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The performance was directed by Andre Muir, who also directed the music video for “SHELTER.”

Vic also gave a special shout out Lenny S, who brought Vic to roc nation in 2013 off of Vic’s debut mixtape, Innanetape. The project was released as a free digital download and featured appearances from Chance the Rapper, Boi-1da, and Hit-Boy, amongst others.

Some of those names re-appear on this project, as well as a special guest appearance from TDE’s Zacari famously known for his hit song Love with Kendrick Lamar.

Check out Vic Mensa’s I Tape on March 26th on all streaming services.

Vic Mensa


An Exclusive Look Inside The 2022 BET Awards

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 26: Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage during the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The 2022 BET Awards took place on Sunday (June 26) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA. Taraji P. Henson served as host once again, and Diddy was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Kanye West and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.  

Lizzo opened the show with a thunderous rendition of “About Damn Time” from her forthcoming album “Special.” The “Good As Hell” singer rocked a bedazzled gold outfit and accented her vocal performance with a flute.

Jack Harlow took the stage next, where he performed “Poison” with Lil Wayne. After this opening performance, the crowd erupted when special guest Brandy popped in for a cameo during “First Class.” The legendary singer and the “What’s Poppin” rapper exchanged words earlier this year when Jack Harlow admitted that he didn’t know she and Ray-J were siblings. As a response to this lack of acknowledgement, Brandy released a playful diss-track to Harlow, which she performed while on stage. “Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is / World-famous, one of the greatest / Living legend, did I mention my résumé is amazing?” It is clear that the two have made amends and are on good terms following the matter.

Later in the evening, Latto brought out Mariah Carey for a special rendition of “Big Energy” to set the crowd ablaze. Latto and Lizzo will go on tour in September of this year. 

The show also acknowledged current events and an estranged political climate. Within the first few minutes of the show, presenters Janelle Monae and Jazmine Sullivan commented on the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. 

Host Taraji P. Henson used her monologue to comment on the matter. “Guns have more rights than a woman,” Henson said. “It’s a sad day in America. A weapon that can take lives has more power than woman who can give life, if she chooses to.”

Doja Cat was the night’s leading nominee with six nominations, followed by Drake and Ari Lennox with four each. However, despite each of these artists leading the pack in nominations, each artist went home empty-handed. 

Instead, the top winners of the night were Silk Sonic, Kendrick Lamar and Tems. Silk Sonic was awarded Album of the Year for An Evening With Silk Sonic. The duo also took home the award for best group. Kendrick took home the trophy for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, setting a record five wins in that category. The Compton rapper also won Video of the Year for Family Ties with Baby Keem. Lastly, Tems won Best Collaboration for her work on “Essence” with Wizkid and Justin Bieber. The win was Bieber’s first BET Award. Tems also won the trophy for Best International Act. 

View the full list of winners below:

Album of the Year

WINNER: An Evening With Silk Sonic, Silk Sonic

Back of My Mind, H.E.R.

Call Me If You Get Lost, Tyler, The Creator

Certified Lover Boy, Drake

Donda, Kanye West

Heaux Tales, Mo’ Tales: The Deluxe, Jazmine Sullivan

Planet Her, Doja Cat

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

WINNER: Jazmine Sullivan

Ari Lennox


Doja Cat


Mary J. Blige

Summer Walker

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

WINNER: The Weeknd


Chris Brown


Lucky Daye


Yung Bleu

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist

WINNER: Megan Thee Stallion

Cardi B

Doja Cat


Nicki Minaj


Best Male Hip-Hop Artist

WINNER: Kendrick Lamar



J. Cole

Jack Harlow

Kanye West

Lil Baby

Best Group

WINNER: Silk Sonic

Chlöe X Halle

City Girls

Lil Baby & Lil Durk


Young Dolph & Key Glock

Best Collaboration

WINNER: “Essence,” Wizkid Feat. Justin Bieber & Tems

“Every Chance I Get,” DJ Khaled Feat. Lil Baby & Lil Durk

“Family Ties,” Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar

“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat Feat. SZA

“Way 2 Sexy,” Drake Feat. Future & Young Thug

“Whole Lotta Money” (Remix), Bia Feat. Nicki Minaj

Best New Artist


Baby Keem

Benny the Butcher

Muni Long


Yung Bleu

Video of the Year

WINNER: “Family Ties,” Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar

“Have Mercy,” Chlöe

“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat Feat. SZA

“Pressure,” Ari Lennox

“Smokin Out the Window,” Silk Sonic

“Way 2 Sexy,” Drake Feat. Future & Young Thug

Video Director of the Year

WINNER: Anderson .Paak a.k.a. Director .Paak

Benny Boom

Beyoncé & Dikayl Rimmasch

Director X

Hype Williams

Missy Elliott

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

WINNER: “We Win,” Lil Baby X Kirk Franklin

“All in Your Hands,” Marvin Sapp

“Come to Life,” Kanye West

“Grace.” Kelly Price

“Hallelujah,” Fred Hammond

“Hold Us Together (Hope Mix),” H.E.R. & Tauren Wells

“Jireh,” Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music


WINNER: “Good Morning Gorgeous,” Mary J. Blige

“Best of Me (Originals),” Alicia Keys

“Have Mercy,” Chlöe

“Pressure,” Ari Lennox

“Roster,” Jazmine Sullivan

“Unloyal,” Summer Walker & Ari Lennox

“Woman,” Doja Cat

Best International Act

WINNER: Tems (Nigeria)

Dave (U.K.)

Dinos (France)

Fally Ipupa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Fireboy DML (Nigeria)

Little Simz (U.K.)

Ludmilla (Brazil)

Major League DJz (South Africa)

Tayc (France)

Best Movie

WINNER: King Richard



Space Jam: A New Legacy

Summer of Soul

The Harder They Fall

Best Actor

WINNER: Will Smith, King Richard

Adrian Holmes, Bel Air

Anthony Anderson, Black-Ish

Damson Idris, Snowfall

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Forest Whitaker, Respect | Godfather of Harlem

Jabari Banks, Bel Air

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Best Actress

WINNER: Zendaya, Euphoria | Spider-Man: No Way Home

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Coco Jones, Bel Air

Issa Rae, Insecure

Jennifer Hudson, Respect

Mary J. Blige, Power Book II: Ghost

Queen Latifah, The Equalizer

Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary

Regina King, The Harder They Fall

YoungStars Award

WINNER: Marsai Martin

Akira Akbar

Demi Singleton

Miles Brown

Saniyya Sidney

Storm Reid

Sportswoman of the Year Award

WINNER: Naomi Osaka

Brittney Griner

Candace Parker

Serena Williams

Sha’carri Richardson

Simone Biles

Sportsman of the Year Award

WINNER: Stephen Curry

Aaron Donald

Bubba Wallace

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Ja Morant

LeBron James

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Bobby Shmurda prefers a Pop Smoke verse over Jay Z

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – NOVEMBER 21: Bobby Shmurda performs onstage during Power 105.1’s Powerhouse 2021 at Prudential Center on November 21, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Bobby Shmurda took a break from dancing and sat down with DJ Akademiks on his “Off the Record” podcast. The “Shmoney” artist was asked a question about who he would prefer a feature from before Pop Smoke and Jay Z. “The song is a smash. Whole New York City will love it. Your nephews would love it, going crazy all day. The hood would go crazy for it. Or, it’s a song from Pop Smoke. Or, Hov” asked Akademiks.

Before Akademiks could finish his question, Shmurda quick interrupted by saying “Pop Smoke.” The Brooklyn rapper then did a rendition of Pop Smoke’s voice and what he would sound like on the song. “Forreal?” asked Akademiks in belief. Shmurda continued to imitate Pop Smoke’s voice. 

Shmurda’s latest project, They Don’t Know is now available. The project was teased through a title track bearing the same name as the album. Shmurda teased the release on Instagram. “4/29 it’s littttttttttt F*** all y’all n***** independent [gorilla] on the loose nah I been dying for y’all to get this work, let’s talk facts no.”

Shmurda responded to some fans who wondered whether the album should be pushed back. He claimed that he is getting blackballed by some labels. “@_frank_mathews_ and all my fans,” Bobby wrote in response to the comment. “Nah F*** that I got major Lables jumping me Blackballing me and shittttt and I’m from the hood young and rich black as shittt and don’t give a about both and they Scare of me and I love that ishhh. I’m only 27 one year fresh Outta six years they got 400 employees tell them boys stop playing me Homieee and I do no marketing that all my shit natural ahhhhh #FThemPeople I’m gone.”

Since leaving Epic Records, Bobby has not slowed down. The 27-year-old added social media stars Groovin Gorilla, Famous Amos and Mufasa to his latest music video. Shmurda, known for dancing and having a great time despite the odds against him, invited some dancers for a high-energy video. 

Stream “They Don’t Know” below.

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A Complete Recap of Rolling Loud LA

Playboi Carti performing at Rolling Loud.

Rolling Loud kicked off its final celebration of the year at the NOS stadium in San Bernardino, California. The three-day festival featured performances by J Cole, Playboi Carti, and Chris Brown, with a closing performance by Future Hendrix who brought out special guest Kanye West.

It was the first Rolling Loud since the Omicron variant hit the streets, as well as the newly-instated 18+ policy following the tragic deaths at Travis Scott’s Astroworld. There were also new security protocols that required artists to leave the premises directly following their performances. 

On each day of the festival, there were numerous special attractions to check out on site. Throughout the festival, Rolling Loud and Black Music Action Coalition hosted panels with industry thought leaders, activists, and musicians who have used their platforms to advocate for change. Curated art installations with messages promoting social change were shown, with profits going to charity. 

Other attractions throughout the days included a Bunny’s Bae Bar, Barber Shop, Loud Factory, Manny’s Bodega,  Lyrical Lemonade, Liquid Death Recycling Station, and the Power 106 Booth. 

On Friday, December 10th, the festival kicked off with the likes of French Montana, Chief Keef, and Ty Dolla $ign captivating each of the three stages. 

Kid Cudi closed out the inaugural day as the headliner, and dedicated his set to the late great Virgil Abloh, who tragically passed away from cancer last month. Cudi also suggested that he will drop two albums in 2022. 

On day two, J Cole headlined, albeit suggesting that it would be his last performance for a while. Cole brought out his artists Bas and Lute to assist on some tracks, and performed some hits from his latest album The Off-Season.

One of the highlights on day 2 was Key Glock’s performance, which paid homage to his cousin Young Dolph who was tragically gunned down last month in his hometown of Memphis. O.T. Genass, Paper Route Woo, and Shupe Bandz also took the stage to perform some of their collaborations with the late, great rapper. You can pay your respects to Young Dolph by donating to Young Dolph’s family’s community-based non-profit — the Ida Mae Family Foundation — here

Key Glock performing a tribute to Young Dolph.

Playboi Carti was one of the many artists to headline Sunday night, and performed a bevy of hits with live instrumentation. King Vamp even took control of the camera at one point and directed his own footage, before exiting the stage in smoke.

Closing out the festival was Future Hendrix, who could have probably done another hour long set if he wanted to to get through his variety of hits. At one point, Roddy Ricch, who is gearing up for his album Live Life Fast next year, came out to perform as a guest. Future also brought out Florida’s own Hotboii and former presidential candidate Kanye West, who came out to 2007’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” Ye, who appeared to be wearing the same exact outfit as hsi Free Larry Hoover concert with Drake on Thursday, even tried freestyling to F–k Up Some Commas” at one point, screaming “Jesus Gang” at the top of his lungs.

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