Legendary soul singer Charles Bradley has died at the age of 68 following a yearlong battle with cancer.
The tragic news comes about a year after the energetic performer, who was often compared to James Brown, announced he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Though he eventually returned to the stage following several treatments, Bradley was forced to cancel his remaining fall 2017 dates after learning the cancer had spread to his liver.
“I love all of you out there that made my dreams come true,” he said in a statement released earlier this month. “When I come back, I’ll come back strong, with God’s love. With God’s will, I’ll be back soon.” He’ll be taking time off for recovery and treatment.”
Bradley began his music career in the late 1970s, but remained under the radar until he was in his 60s. According to Rolling Stone, he finally caught his big break when Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth saw his Brown impersonation and connected him with producer Tom Brenneck. Shortly after, Bradley would release his debut studio album No Time for Dreaming (2011), which was followed by Victim of Love (2013) and Changes (2016). The latter project received wide critical acclaim, with most of the praise going toward the title track, which was a soulful cover of the Back Sabbath ballad.
Following the news of Bradley’s death, many artists, industry figures, and fans went to social media to pay their respects. His death comes less than a year after the passing of another Daptone soul legend, Sharon Jones.
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The rapper's publicist released a statement on his death, citing complications stemming from his lifelong battle with sickle cell anemia.
It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep. Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family's privacy at this time.
Several prominent members of the Queens hip-hop community took to social media to share the news—and their condolences—on Tuesday afternoon, with Nas and his younger brother Jungle sharing posts on Instagram within minutes of one another.
A post shared by Nasir Jones (@nas) on Jun 20, 2017 at 10:33am PDT
A post shared by Jungleqb (@jungleqb) on Jun 20, 2017 at 10:42am PDT
Best known by the average fan as one half of the group responsible for the classic rap record, “Shook Ones Pt. II,” Prodigy was part of countless New York posse cuts and a key figure in the “golden age” of rap in the mid-90s. Thanks to the strength of beloved albums like The Infamous and Hell on Earth, Mobb Deep was at the forefront of New York hip-hop during its most prominent era, standing alongside giants like Nas, the Notorious B.I.G., Wu Tang Clan, and others.
As part of the city's vanguard, Prodigy was a key figure in the East Coast vs. West Coast battle that overtook hip-hop for the better part of a decade. Along with his partner Havoc, he joined Capone-N-Noreaga and Tragedy Khadafi in the West Coast diss track, “L.A. L.A.,” released just shortly before 2Pac was released from prison. Prodigy's battle with sickle cell anemia later became public knowledge after it was brought up by 2Pac multiple times during their war of words, most notably on “Hit 'Em Up.”
The rapper was forced into a brief hiatus from music due to a stint in prison relating to a gun-possession charge. He would go on to release an autobiography, My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy, before immersing himself in hip-hop once again. More recently, he was responsible for writing a prison cookbook titled Commissary Kitchen, in which he shared his path to staying healthy while being behind bars. The book has since been banned in all prisons within the state of California.
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For every innocent life loss as a result of gun violence or excessive force by the police there is a RIP hashtag. These social media markers are meant to raise awareness about injustices around the world and galvanize people to speak out, but they also signify death.
Before people like Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Korryn Gaines, Mike Brown, and countless others were slain victims, they were brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, fathers, mothers, and cherished friends. Through a new docuseries dubbed Before the Hashtag, Complex Networks sheds light on the real lives of people who have had the misfortune of becoming a RIP hashtag.
Episode one centers on Sean Bell, a 23-year-old man from Queens, NY who was shot and killed on his wedding day by five undercover officers back in 2006. The case grabbed national headlines due to the fact that it involved 50 rounds being fired at Bell and his two friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, who were all unarmed.
Now, more than 10 years after the tragic incident, Guzman and Bell’s fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell, sat down with Complex to share intimate details about who Sean was and why their fight for justice will never stop. With today, May 18th, marking what would have been Bell’s 34th birthday, this is a perfect time to celebrate his life.
Check out the full video above for the true story of Sean Bell… Before the Hashtag.
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Edward Crawford—the man best known for being photographed while hurling a canister of tear gas during the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri sparked by Darren Wilson’s killing of Michael Brown in 2014—was found dead in his car on Thursday. Crawford was scheduled to meet with his attorney Jerryl Christmas that day to discuss a plea deal tied to the charge he was given for “interfering” with police during the protests in Ferguson. Crawford is the third prominent protester involved in the events in Ferguson to die within the last three years, and his death comes under similarly controversial circumstances.
Deadre Joshua was discovered shot and burned in his own car in November 2014. News of Joshua’s killing came in conjunction with headlines revealing that a grand jury declined to convict Wilson for killing Brown.
In September 2016, police declared the death of fellow Ferguson activist Darren Seals a homicide after his corpse was found in a burning vehicle. Seals was reportedly shot before his body was found.
Crawford, whose death comes just shy of his 28th birthday, was one of hundreds of Ferguson protesters charged by St. Louis County for assault and interfering with a police officer in the wake of protests surrounding Brown’s killing. The now-iconic photo of Crawford lobbing a teargas canister won the the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography in 2015. The aforementioned charges stem from a belief Crawford was throwing the canister back at police officers, but Crawford repeatedly maintained he was throwing the canister away so it wouldn’t affect nearby children.
Much like Joshua and Seals, Crawford was shot in a vehicle. However, the cause of his death is under investigation after initially being ruled a suicide. According to police reports obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Crawford was in the rear seat of a car occupied by two women.
“The women told police that Crawford had started talking about how distraught he was over 'personal matters,'” wrote Post-Dispatch reporter Kim Bell. “They heard him rummaging for something in the backseat, and the next thing they knew he shot himself in the head.”
Crawford’s father has gone on the record and said he doesn’t believe the police account of his son’s death. It should be noted that this is the same police force that was the subject of a 2015 Department of Justice report noting that 67 percent of African-Americans in Ferguson accounted for 93 percent of the city’s arrests made from 2012 through 2014. The report went on to add that the disproportionate number of tickets, arrests, and use of force stemmed from what was deemed “unlawful bias” and not black people committing more crimes.
— MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) May 5, 2017
— deray mckesson (@deray) May 5, 2017
— Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) May 5, 2017
It’s unclear where Crawford’s body was found. He leaves behind four children. Community leaders and those associated with the Black Lives Matter movement publicly expressed their condolences upon hearing of Edwards’ death.
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The Los Angeles Clippers just cannot catch a break. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Blake Griffin will miss the remainder of the playoffs with a toe injury. Griffin came up hobbling late in the second quarter after finishing a fastbreak layup during Game 3 of the Clippers' first-round series against the Utah Jazz. As Blake made his way to the locker room to undergo further tests, he took out his frustration on a chair.
Without Griffin, the Clippers were able to steal away a road victory on Friday, due in large part to Chris Paul who nearly racked up a triple-double with 34 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. While Paul's otherworldly performance was pivotal in Game 3, it's hard to imagine that he can keep up that level of play for the rest of the playoffs without some help on offense from Blake.
Whether it's an unfortunate injury to Griffin or Paul that sidelines them for the rest of the playoffs or an utter collapse, like they had against the Houston Rockets two years ago, one can't help but wonder if the Clippers franchise is cursed. And Twitter sure seems to think that's the case.
It's probably too early to speculate, but have we seen the last of Griffin in a Clippers uniform?
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Chances are, if you’re an active electronic music producer, you know about Cymatics. The sample/preset company made huge waves last year with their packs, and essentially monopolized the market with their innovation, quality, and stellar marketing. After a huge 2016, Cymatics has already made their mark in 2017 with their most recent pack: Helix.
Known for their heavier packs, such as Animals and Terror Drums, Cymatics was considered to be leaning towards more of a “bass music” sample company. With more melodic packs such as Vibes and Future Bass for Serum seeing some success, the Cymatics team has now completely thrown away the stigma that their sounds are only good for bass music. Inspired by melodic heavyweights such as Porter Robinson, Illenium, and Flume, Helix for Serum is one of the best melodic packs I have come across in a while.
With 150 presets in the pack, any producer has more than enough needed to write and finish several songs, while keeping the sound design unique throughout. Included in the pack are Arps, Basses, Chords, Keys, Leads, Sequencers, Plucks, Pads, and even Vocal patches similar to the largest pop hits of the summer.
The patches are all individually unique, and really showcase what Serum can accomplish. The noise oscillator is often used as an additional layer to the sound; from creating atmosphere, being used as an additional oscillator, and so much more. The sound designers that worked on this pack truly outdid themselves to create a quality product. All patches are equipped with anywhere from 1-4 labelled macros, allowing the user to manipulate the sound with a turn of a knob.
Included in the bonuses are 100 MIDI files that Cymatics outsourced to a professional pianist to write, which I used to test the majority of the patches.
All of the arps included are quite literally press and play. Taking advantage of custom LFOs in Serum, users can hold the note of the root of their chord (or tonic of the key), and add instant atmosphere and interest to the instrumentation.
Each bass sounds great straight out of Serum, with little to no post processing needed to take full advantage of the sounds. With several Reese basses included (for those who like a darker, melancholic vibe), an 808, and even a patch mimicking one of my favourite current artists ‘AWAY’ (the patch in specific is “THEY”), you will definitely be hearing these basses in several future productions.
Whenever I open up a preset pack, I usually ignore all titles and think of these four sections as one. I do this, because each section of these patches can be used in conjunction of each other, and be used as additional layers to add to the patches, creating more interesting tonalities and a more powerful sonic arrangement. Each of these presets are incredibly well designed, lush, and powerful on their own. They’re all phenomenal to use anywhere in your songs arrangement – in drops, breaks, intros, and outros. My only gripe with these sections – the majority of these patches are very CPU intensive. The sounds are seriously pushing Serum to its limits, and it shows in the quality of the sounds. I found myself getting click, pops, and audio drops while layering sounds, and it became frustrating for me. I’m producing on a fairly powerful machine, and rarely see extreme CPU spikes. This is a very, very, small deterrent from the pack as there are several ways to combat this, but it has to be said as a warning to those without the most powerful machines. TL;DR – the sounds in these four sections are EXTREMELY good, but can take a toll on your machines.
The sequencers really surprised me. Normally in packs with sequencers, the sounds are next to unusable – either because they’re extremely abstract, or just don’t sound good. Cymatics has done the exact opposite. Each sequencer sounds phenomenal on their own, and can be used as songstarters as a place to take inspiration from. Inside of the Sequencer section are patches that include chord progressions and melodies, basslines, basslines and chords, and even an entire Marshmello inspired progression bassline and melody (The patch is Marsh in my Mello, thank me later). These are all incredible sequencers, and will be great to use as melodic inspiration.
Plucks are among my favourite sounds to use in any part of an arrangement; from chords, to toplines, and even basslines, plucks can be applied anywhere in a song. Each pluck is very lush and thick, providing the feel of analogue warmth. The vocals are exactly what you would expect – the key to every 2016 summer hit. With clear inspiration from the likes of Major Lazer, Justin Bieber, and DJ Snake, these vocals can be used either as a quick melodic placeholder for you to use pre-vocal chopping, or even on their own as a lead. The sounds are great, and the use of the noise oscillator inside Serum is a great way to incorporate vocals and beef them up inside a synth.
Yes, there are bonuses. In true Cymatics style, included are Ableton, Logic, and FL Studio project files, using only sounds from the pack. The idea behind these is not to RIP the tracks and release them as your own (cough Popcoorn cough), but to learn from them. Reverse engineer what the songwriters have done, learn which presets work where, and learn techniques you otherwise would not have known about on your own. I adore the idea of including these – I used to hunt for FLPs and artist masterclasses to learn from, and found the majority of my current techniques from doing so. As mentioned earlier, there are MIDI files included, which will definitely help your understanding of writing strong chords. The acapellas are all recorded well and catchy, and the guitar loops are definitely a nice touch to add human feeling to your songs.
To conclude, Cymatics has done a phenomenal job with this pack, truly pushing the envelope for “melodic” music packs. I definitely do recommend this pack to whoever can afford it (the price is a little steep at $127 USD, though it is warranted due to how much they include and giveaway). 2017 will be bigger than last year for the company, and I’m looking forward to the sounds they release in the future!
Learn more about the pack and Cymatics here!
If you look on Facebook this morning – hell, the Internet – all you see is an outpouring of love for the iconic artist David Bowie. The man redefined musicality over the course of his career, and his legacy is one that will not soon be forgotten.
Music icons around the world mourn his loss, paying tribute to him in their own personal ways.
— Giorgio Moroder (@giorgiomoroder) January 11, 2016
A proper legend passes @DavidBowieReal – celebrate his endless contributions RIP.
— John Digweed (@DJJohnDigweed) January 11, 2016
Glad to have somehow touched the life of David Bowie, sad to see him go. Wish I could have met him.
— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) January 11, 2016
A timeless icon has left us. David Bowie you will be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/s1oeqp9Wqm
— Tim Bergling (@Avicii) January 11, 2016
Brian Eno speaking on Bowie's death is amazing pic.twitter.com/GlY4wy75Ks
— Brandon Stosuy (@brandonstosuy) January 11, 2016
RIP David Bowie
— Hardwell (@HARDWELL) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 11, 2016
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) January 11, 2016
RIP Mr Stardust https://t.co/jWTOQ9tzRa
— Beats Antique (@BeatsAntique) January 11, 2016
'75 – '80 right now #DavidBowie
— Zane Lowe (@zanelowe) January 11, 2016
— Paul van Dyk (@PAULVANDYK) January 11, 2016
— Pete Tong mbe (@petetong) January 11, 2016
— Astralwerks (@Astralwerks) January 11, 2016
— Pasquale Rotella (@PasqualeRotella) January 11, 2016
— Fedde Le Grand (@feddelegrand) January 11, 2016
— S I C K INDIVIDUALS (@SICKINDIVIDUALS) January 11, 2016
— Rukes (@rukes) January 11, 2016
— moby XⓋX (@thelittleidiot) November 18, 2015
Listen here: Deadmau5 closes his Soundcloud
Breaking news from “way too early this morning” – Deadmau5 has decided to close down his soundcloud account. Some (not all) of the tracks will be available on his website, but not all of those will be available for free streaming. It’s a deeply depressing move for those who us soundcloud as a streaming service or for keeping updated on all the artists’ new releases.
While he didn’t state any reason for the shutdown, unquestionably this is a business move that was done to increase the revenue$. Subscribers to his live site pay a monthly fee to listen, so that’s just simple math. But will that work? For die hard fans, this is unlikely to happen because they will already have bought the songs. For blogs, it adds another unnecessary step to the tedious process of finding new releases. Most blogs posts (including ours) are from Soundcloud or Youtube, so the trend has been for more artists (and not less) to put tracks on soundcloud. Piracy on soundcloud is possible of course, but that wasn’t mentioned.
What do you think?
I’m sad. I’ve subscribed to Joel’s soundcloud since day 1. RIP #fuckmylife …