Rick Ross Disses Birdman, Eminem Defends New Album, Bhad Bhabie Is Urban? | Everyday Struggle

On today’s #EverydayStruggle, DJ Whoo Kid joined DJ Akademiks and Nadeska to talk about Rick Ross dissing Birdman again, Eminem defending his album, Bhad Bhabie wilding out, and much more

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The Lakers Might Call on Kendrick Lamar to Help Improve Their Team

On Monday night at the Staples Center, the Lakers will face the Warriors and there will be a special halftime show commemorating Kobe Bryant. The team plans to retire both jerseys he wore, No. 8 and No. 24, respectively. Since his retirement in April 2016, the Lakers have revitalized the team with a young core; among them are Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and others.

Rob Pelinka, the general manager for the Lakers, is one of the most important people in Kobe’s career. He spent 18 years as his agent before becoming the Lakers GM, and really, one of Kobe’s closest friends. Now, with Bryant away from the purple and gold, Pelinka is finding new ways to spark inspiration within the team, motivating them to reach the caliber and chemistry of past Laker squads.

It starts with talking with a few renaissance men who strive to change the world every day. In an interview with USA Today, Pelinka shared his idea of “Genius Talks.” He brings the team to people who are the absolute best in their industry in order to create an inspired culture within the Laker brand.

The first was Elon Musk, and they visited his SpaceX lab in nearby Hawthorne in October. Pelinka said:

“It was like going to the set of Ironman; just unbelievable. The players were just amazed. It was the coolest thing. One of the guys said (to Musk), 'Well we play against other teams, so how do you study your competition, or what's your way of staying No. 1?' And he said, 'My competition is irrelevant to me. If what I'm doing, I do excellently, then it doesn't matter.' And so you pick up little things like that.”

The next was Jeffrey Katzenberg, who co-founded Dreamworks and was the head of Disney studios from 1984 to 1994. The Hollywood mogul told them, according to Pelinka:

“'You know, when I was making the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, I had a mantra in my head, and it was exceed expectations.'” He said, ‘I wanted to sit in the back of the theater when the kids were watching, and I wanted them to be jumping out of their seat. I wanted to exceed their expectations.’”

A person who will undoubtedly inspire the Lakers is Kendrick Lamar, and it sounds like Pelinka may lock in the TDE rapper for an upcoming session of “Genius Talks.” Lamar's had an incredible year with the release of Damn and his seven Grammy nominations

Pelinka further explains that “Genius Talks” is meant to tap into the team's various interests to make them better people and better basketball players.

“Magic and I wanted to identify geniuses in their space. Our core belief is that more developed men make better basketball players. I think Magic, if you look at how diversified he is with his interests. Kobe, the guy studies everything under the sun. I'm reading a biography right now on Leonardo da Vinci, and he has the ultimate curiosity of all things. If he's painting a hummingbird, he wants to like take its tongue and see what it looks like so he can paint it. So geniuses in life, right, can inspire us on how to be better.”

“So once a month, we try to do that, and the reason that it, to me, is important, is it shows the way we're really trying to do things differently, and it gets back to what I said at the beginning: Support and service. How can we bring things to the guys to make them better human beings and better Lakers basketball players?”

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Jeezy’s New Album ‘Pressure’ Will Feature a Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole Collab

Jeezy has a lot of talented friends, and it looks like the whole crew will be making cameos on his upcoming album Pressure.

The 13-track record has almost as many guest appearances as it does songs. Get ready for drop-ins by Diddy, 2 Chainz, Tory Lanez, Rick Ross, Kodak Black, Trey Songz and more. Then of course, there’s an eagerly awaited collaboration with Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole called “American Dream.” 

Jury’s still out on how big Cole and Kendrick’s contributions are, but we’re definitely on team #fullverseplease. 

Fans have been keeping their fingers crossed for a Cole/Kendrick joint album for like… ever, but this summer TDE co-president Terrence “Punch” Henderson​ crushed our dreams, tweeting that the record would “probably never” happen. Ouch. That being said, “American Dream” may be fans’ next-best-thing.

Pressure drops December 15 on Def Jam, but you can already listen to two tracks from the LP: “Bottles Up with Diddy and “Cold Summer with Tee Grizzley.

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Watch Kendrick Lamar Perform “DNA” and “Humble” to Open 2017 VMAs

Kendrick Lamar made the jump from critical darling to household name in 2017, and it was only right that he got to punctuate that rise by kicking off the 2017 VMAs.

Bundled in a winter coat and rocking a red durag, Kendrick kicked in the door to start the show, opening the VMAs with two cuts from Damn, “DNA” and “Humble.” It was quite the spectacle, with stuntmen climbing up a burning rope ladder in the background while Kendrick continued spitting bars.

The rise of Kendrick's star was matched by the amount of nominations he received, with his eight VMA nominations leading the pack heading into the evening. But his focus wasn't a selfish one, and a point of focus for the rap star was on his TDE label mate, SZA, who he believed should be named Best New Artist.

“I watched her slave over and over to make a masterpiece that not only represents her, but represents women all over the world,” he said of her new album, Ctrl. “Something that we all can feel. It touched so many different spaces and connected with so many people. There’s nothing much more I can say — she needs to win.”

You can watch his performance from the 2017 VMAs up top.

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J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s Joint Album Will Probably Never Come Out

Don’t hold your breath for that rumored J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar album. Terrence “Punch” Henderson said the collaboration isn’t likely to drop. Ever.

On Friday night, a Twitter user asked the TDE co-president about the highly anticipated project’s expected release date. Unfortunately, Punch shattered many fans’ hopes with a two-word response: “probably never.”

Rumors of a K. Dot and Cole collaborative project have been circulating for years. They drew excitement again when they remixed each other's songs: Cole took “Alright,” and Kendrick took “A Tale of Two Citiez” for Black Friday in November 2015. Nearly a full year later, during a December 2016 interview on The Breakfast Club, TDE artist Ab-Soul confirmed the album was in fact real, but he refused to go into detail.

“I can’t speak on that. I wish I could,” Soul said before revealing he submitted a verse for the project. “I’m saying these guys move like the Mob. You never know with these guys. I just hope they use my verse. They just need to use my verse.”

Charlamagne The God asked for further confirmation: “But there is a Kendrick-Cole album?”

“They got it. They got something in the works,” Soul responded. “They’ve been working on that motherfucker for a while.”

Shortly after the interview, The Fader reached out to Soul for more information about the album. The 30-year-old, however, neither confirmed nor denied the project’s existence, simply writing: “It's a myth” *joker smile*.”

So is the Kendrick-Cole project sitting in a vault? Was it ever completed? Did they even begin recording? As of now, it all remains a big ol' mystery. And judging by Punch's recent tweet, it'll probably stay that way. 

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Kendrick Lamar Buys a Life-Changing Wheel-Chair Accessible Van for One of His Fans

Kendrick Lamar gave one of his biggest fans a huge and heartwarming gift.

During the Dallas stop of the Damn Tour, Kendrick took the time to catch up with a quadriplegic woman named Jennifer Phillips, who has used a wheelchair ever since a 2007 car accident that caused a spinal cord injury. And although she has gone on to receive her college degree, take ski trips, and attend many concerts (eight of which were Kendrick shows), she said the only thing holding her back was her van. So, in 2016, Phillips started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a modified vehicle that would make traveling much easier. The page is no longer active, thanks to Kendrick’s generosity.

That’s right, Kendrick purchased the fan a new van. 

Phillips announced the gift on social media, along with a photo of the autographed Damn jacket Kendrick gave her. His note read: “Thank you for always supporting me. Your [sic] a inspiration for me. You are strong and positive. Your[sic] kind and beautiful. For all the years of inspiring me, the least I can do is make sure your comfortable driving the city. A gift from me to you. Your[sic] always appreciated! — K. Lamar.”

Phillips also received a customized Dallas Mavericks jersey with “Duckworth” on the back. She opened up about the experience on Instagram.

“If you know me or even just look in my Instagram profile for two minutes then you know I am a huge Kendrick Lamar and TDE fan/supporter for YEARS. I've been to every show Kendrick has had in Dallas,” she wrote. “[…]I was a big fan of music and concerts before my injury but I never supported and loved a label like theirs before. Of course they have great music but they are also great people […]I never supported them for any benefits like this lol. Their music and shows were enough for me. But this is amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all and always will. Thank God for you Kendrick and I will continue to pray for you. And like I said, next time I'm driving myself to your show lol. Thanks to the whole team!”

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TDE Drops New Isaiah Rashad ‘The Sun’s Tirade’ Merch

TDE has shared new merch for Isaiah Rashad, who released his debut studio album The Sun's Tirade last September and is coming off an impressive collaboration with SZA from her own studio debut, Ctrl.

The new drop includes a pink hoodie with the cover art for The Sun's Tirade emblazoned on the front and the album title inscribed on the left arm. There's also a grey T-shirt that features both of those designs, but on the front and back of the shirt, respectively.

Check out the selections below and visit TDE's official online shop to pick them up, as well as items from Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and other members of the label. Rashad has a handful of festival dates lined up this summer, including Pitchfork and Panorama.

Image via TDE
Image via TDE
Image via TDE
Image via TDE

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Kendrick Lamar Reveals ‘Damn’ Almost Had a Different Title, Says He Wrote TDE Rules That Went Viral

Kendrick Lamar was up early hitting the Los Angeles radio circuit. Trickling down this morning were two interviews, one with Power 106 on The Cruz Show and one on Real 92.3 on Big Boy's Neighborhood, featuring Kendrick opening up about a number of topics. No, forreal.

Around 8:09 of the above video with Power 106, the discussion of Kendrick being “the next 'Pac” comes up, which Kendrick calls “a whole lotta weight” before saying, “Being the next 'Pac, that's something way out of my control. I want to be who I am. All I can do is take the game and the ideas and the sparks and the knowledge that he's passed on, apply them to myself and who I am, and further it for the next kid who wants to be on that stage and actually speak for something and stand for something.”

“There can only be one 'Pac,” Kendrick added. He also later mentioned that 2Pac's “I Get Around” is his favorite '90s jam, which same. Speaking of throwbacks, they asked an interesting question about the last album that Kendrick downloaded illegally (which was Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, on Napster), and for those of you wondering what Kendrick's first job was, here you go: he did a whole two weeks working security.

At the top of the interview (around 3:45), Kendrick revealed that he was the one that wrote those hilariously viral TDE studio rules, which, obviously. Apparently it spawned from the good kid, m.A.A.d. city days, with random people walking through the studio and fucking things up. Gotta keep those visitors in check!

While this was being uploaded to the internets, Kendrick was speaking to Big Boy, and mentioned a truly interesting thing: Damn was almost titled What Happens On Earth Stays On Earth, which is kind of cold but also, admittedly, kind of a long title.

Kendrick also got asked if he considers himself the “G.O.A.T” on the mic, and he kept it a buck.


#KendrickLamar says he’s the goat.. Facts or Fiction?

A post shared by DJ Akademiks (@akadmiks) on Jun 28, 2017 at 11:33pm PDT

His answer makes perfect sense: “I got to. What's the point of doing it if you don't want to be the best at what you're doing?”

Wise words from K.Dot.

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Watch 2 Chainz Flex on Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA” Beat in New Freestyle

Quiet as kept, 2 Chainz has been one of the rap game's best and most prolific artists over the last half decade. After shedding the Tity Boi moniker and starting fresh under his current name, the gaudy, fun-loving Georgia native quickly became one of the most beloved rappers in the business.

But it's not just his persona and his nature as a person that endears him to fans—this dude can rap. And he proved it once again with a freestyle over Kendrick Lamar's “DNA,” coasting on the beat for a solid two-and-a-half minutes while in-studio with the LA Leakers crew.

2 Chainz doesn't just float on one of the year's top instrumentals, he even mimics the rhyme scheme employed by Kendrick for roughly the first minute of the freestyle, splicing in rapid-fire bars and putting his own spin on the Damn track. He eventually relents, but even as he strays from the original style of “DNA,” he finds time to add his own hook to promote his upcoming albumPretty Girls Like Trap Music. 

Watching the video, you can tell 2 Chainz has been thinking about and listening to “DNA” a lot since it dropped. “Shout-out to Kendrick,” he said as he finished up, “he like the illest one doing it in the game, salute TDE.”

Pretty Girls Like Trap Music is set to be an experience only 2 Chainz can deliver. What other rapper in the game is offering an accompanying VR experience with strippers as part of their album? He's a true renaissance man.

You can watch the full video of the 2 Chainz freestyle up top, and sleep on Pretty Girls Like Trap Music at your own risk. 

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5 Things We Learned About SZA on ‘Everyday Struggle’

Ever since the singer linked up with the TDE crew, SZA has produced a steady stream dope music. She proved herself as a capable feature artist alongside the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock, but more importantly she shined as the lead artist on several projects, including 2014's eclectic, soulful EP, Z. Several solid years of momentum have us waiting impatiently on SZA's Ctrl, her debut studio album dropping on June 9.

The 26-year-old singer was kind enough to spend some time with the Everyday Struggle crew before Ctrl drops, and we learned a good deal about her during the free-flowing conversation. Here's what we took away from our interview with her, and you can watch the full episode above.

SZA is ready to come out of her shell

During the formative stage of her career, SZA self-admitted she was shy, which is not the most common trait in people who perform for a living. But after earning reps in the industry and coming into her own as an artist, it seems like the old, shy SZA is going to be a thing of the past.

“I was editing myself,” she said of her past reservations. “But now I've given up on that.”

SZA doesn't like to write for other artists

A lot of singers below the mega-star level make a ton of their money writing and producing for other artists. Get a songwriting credit on a hit song, and you're set to rake in the royalty checks for the foreseeable future.

But SZA admitted she's not totally comfortable writing music for anyone else, even if it's in her repertoire. “I don't like to,” she said. “I can't write someone else's truth. I've just started writing, I've only written for like Rihanna and Beyonce.”

SZA thinks the industry is too concerned with branding

Getting labeled a certain type of artist is increasingly useless in 2017, with hip-hop giants routinely crossing over into singing and R&B. SZA finds branding yourself in a particular way—as an artist or just in general—is way too big of a focus.

“We know a lot of Americans that are only brands. I only know what connects with people. I just have to be me,” she said. “Am I art? Am I branding myself? That's too much—I'd rather focus on the details.”

“Ctrl” is about the illusion of control

If you were wondering what the new album's focus would be, SZA elaborated on the title, telling Everyday Struggle what the meaning is behind the name.

“It's about analog and being at a time where we were brought information more slowly,” she said. “Control is a concept, you think about getting away from analog, control is an illusion, you try and force it.”

SZA believes artists have to focus on themselves

As she prepares to drop her debut album, SZA talked a lot about the creative process behind Ctrl. Though she claims you don't throw away all the musical inspiration that brought you here, she realized at a certain point an artist's work has to come predominantly from within.

“When you first make an album, you only have your favorite albums from your favorite artists,” she said. “And you don't come close to touching them. How do I satisfy myself sonically?”

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