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The Pulse of Entertainment - August 14, 2015

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Eunice Moseley
Freelance Associates

 

straight-outta-compton.jpgUniversal Pictures' Straight Outta Compton gives it to you straight no chaser, the rise of Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre

VH1 and BET Award winner Rapper/Actor/Producer Ice Cube (Barbershop, Ride Along) and six-time Grammy Award winning Producer/Rapper/Entrepreneur Dr. Dre (Aftermath's Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent/Beats by Dre) are producers on the Universal Pictures' presentation of Straight Outta Compton. The gritty film is the true life story of the rise of Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre as members of the Compton based Hip-Hop group N.W.A. released on Eazy-E's Ruthless Records label. N.W.A. also included DJ Yella and MC Ren, represented in the film. Straight Outta Compton gives it to you straight no chaser on how and why Gangsta Rap was birth.

Rated R, Straight Outta Compton is directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday) and stars O'Shea Jackson, Jr. as his father Ice Cube (Lynch Mob Records); Jason Mitchell (Contraband) as Eazy-E; Corey Hawkins (Non-Stop) as Dr. Dre; Aldis Hodges (TNT's "Leverage") as MC Ren; Neil Brown, Jr. (Fast and Furious) as DJ Yella; Paul Giamatti (12 Years a Slave) as Jerry Helley - Eazy-E's manager, business partner and advisor; Keith Stanfield as Snoop Dogg; Marcc Rose as Tupac Shakur; Marlon Yates Jr. as The D.O.C.; Sheldon A. Smith as Warren G, and R. Marcus Taylor as Suge Knight.

The screenwriters are Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, they capture the persona and city struggles of each member of N. W. A. (Niggas Wit Attitudes) to give the audience a glimpse into the mind-set that gave an awe-inspiring producer like Dre the courage to jump off on his own, not once but three times, that made a fresh and passionate rapper and lyrist like Ice Cube leave one dream and start another and another, and that inspired a successful drug dealer (estimated ¼ million) to leave crime and build something legit - a record empire - like Eazy-E, and what gave MC Ren and DJ Yella the courage to take the NWA (Ruthless Record) leap as well.

Dre is reportedly worth ½ billion dollars and Ice Cube has become a well respected television/film writer/producer (Friday, Showtime's "Barbershop," TBS' "Are We There Yet?") worth a reported 140 million. When Eazy-E passed away his estate, Ruthless Records, was worth over 15 million - according to encyclopedia.com.

As in life nothing good last forever or goes on without attacks and pitfalls, Straight Outta Compton showed the realness of life and how each members' passion led to success not one time but again and again. Though hard-core Straight Outta Compton is inspiring and maybe released just in time to remind us that abuse by police and the legal system is nothing new, maybe this raw look into what is real will be the beginning to an end. Bravo!

Straight Outta Compton is a Legendary, New Line Cinema, Cube Vision, Crucial Films, Broken Chair Flickz production. Learn more about Straight Outta Compton by logging onto www.StraightOuttaCompton.com.

Platinum saxophonist Najee blends signature sound with contemporary on new album ‘You, Me and Forever'
najee-concertour-will-holton2.jpg"I wanted to work with people I enjoy working with. Some happen to be in the UK," said Najee, legendary multi-platinum selling saxophonist, about his new album titled "You, Me and Forever." "It developed as I went along...to Texas, L.A. and New York."
Released on the Shanachie Entertainment imprint Najee's "You, Me and Forever" features the assist of pianists James Lloyd (Pieces of a Dream) and Robert Damper (Kenny G), guitarist/vocalist Chuck Johnson (Najee), and vocalists Frank McComb (Branford Marsalis) and Andrea Wallace (Kirk Franklin's God's Property).

"Chuck's been in my live band for seven years and every night he sings and the audience loves it," said Najee when I asked the sax man how he picks his featured vocalists. "Some people don't get the opportunity...this time it's on a broader scale. Andrea, I met in Dallas she did an excellent job...Andrea is someone out of the Gospel world, a member of Kirk Franklin's God's Property. I told her take this (track to ‘Give It All We Got') and see what you can do."

My favorite cuts on the "You, Me and Forever" project include "Fly With The Wind" with Chris "Big Dog" Davis on keys for its trademark Najee sound; "Wave" featuring Robert Damper, not only because I am a ex-Navy Wave, but I love its fresh and smooth sound; "Biggest Part of Me" featuring Chuck Johnson; "Butterfly Girl" because Najee's skills give you the visuals of how it would sound like to see butterflies dancing; "Signature" featuring Frank McComb because of its sassy feel, "Give It All We Got" featuring Andrea Wallace because at the end the Jazz improvisation/scatting done by Wallace was exquisite, and the title track "You, Me and Forever" because the keyboard support of Najee sax playing is superb.

I noticed that Najee was giving up-and-coming artists front row on his tracks and asked if his "giving back" is done in this fashion deliberately and he said, "I don't think of it that way it's not a conscious thing for me," he pointed out. "My access came that way. I worked with the legendary Chaka Khan's band. She had just recorded with all these big names. I can offer that."

The New York native came to the music business influenced by R&B, Soul and Jazz giving him a unique saxophonist style and sound. It was his brother's urging and a soprano saxophone as a gift that started his journey that would mold him into one of the best sax players of our time.

You can learn more about Najee and his latest project "You, Me and Forever" by logging onto www.NajeeMusic.com.

(Syndicated Columnist: Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times.www.ThePulseofEntertainment.comEVENT: Sat October 24, 2015the "Uplifting Minds II" Free Entertainment Conference at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, CA host by KDAY 93.5FM.EVENT: Sat April 16, 2016 the "Uplifting Minds II" Free Entertainment Conference arrives in Baltimore at Security Square Mall. www.UpliftingMinds2.com.)

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