Music Observer

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine Partner with Adidas and PENSOLE to Establish a New High School

Photo: Billboard

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine are looking into aiding LA high schoolers in creating their blueprint to success through a new collaboration with Adidas and PENSOLE, as well as a broadened multi-faceted disciplinary curriculum for LA high schools. 

The “Wood U” workshops, held by Adidas, PENSOLE in partnership with Iovine and Young Academy at USC, helped Inglewood students create sneakers inspired by ambition, power and love. The Iovine and Young Academy was founded in 2013 at the University of Southern California by the Beats co-founders dedicated to college students looking for integrated design, business, and technology degrees. 

Dr. Edwards fostered the students from various “Wood U” design brackets to see for themselves what their shoes looked like – including black Superstar sneakers with green and red tongues developed by this year’s power cohort. It was displayed in LA Adidas stores on February 7th. 

One student from the crowd said, “I felt very proud when I first saw the shoes.” While one stated, “When I first saw the shoes, I was impressed because I didn’t expect them to turn out as good as they were.” 

“We’d put a core value up on the board, and a kid would associate a color with it. And the way he described it, you could kind of see it,” Grammy-nominated rapper and Inglewood local D Smoke told a media outlet recounting his observation with a student associating color with each attribute. 

He continued, “So, if it’s like, let’s say, strength, he would be like, ‘I believe strength is purple.’ And if we’re talking about designing shoes or designing anything, how to utilize colors to make people feel a certain way – he’s so far ahead. I’m 36 years old, and I’m blown away by this kid.”

In the “Wood U” campaign video, the rapper, who teaches at Inglewood High School, his alma mater, named his first EP after it, says, “Imagine if creativity was actually taught. Because up until now, it hasn’t. The old-school mentality doesn’t fit today’s curriculum. Kids can’t explore creative careers today because the system needs to be reimagined.” 

This September, Dre and Iovine will open Regional High School No. 1 with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). 

The new school is expected to be similar to Audubon Middle School. It will offer 120 spots for 9th and 10th graders in the 2022-2023 academic year. Regional High School No. 1 will follow under the Iovine and Young Academy’s rare, innovative approach to design education – via hands-on, real-world training, in addition, offering a cutting-edge college-prep curriculum.

Albums by Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest Archived in Library of Congress

Photo: Getty Images

Today, the National Recording Registry announced that classic 1990s hip-hop LPs by Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest will be archived in the Library of Congress. 

The new full-length additions to the registry are Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Low End Theory, Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor, the Shirelles’ Tonight’s the Night, Terry Riley’s In C, the Ry Cooder-produced Buena Vista Social Club, Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time, Duke Ellington’s Ellington at Newport, and Max Roach’s We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite.

The registry will also archive new individuals songs, including the Four Tops’ “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song,” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” 

Robin Williams’ 2010 appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast also made the list. 

The 2021 batch included songs by Janet Jackson, Nas, and LaBelle.

4O7CeeJay Sends a Message of Hope, Love, and Growth through Music

Music is a powerful medium that transcends limitations, exceeds expectations, and breaks boundaries. It serves not only as a tool for self-expression but is also particularly useful in sending impactful messages across the world. Indeed, it is an effective channel used for many purposes, but in the case of Ceejay Thomas, it stands as an avenue for enabling people to let loose from their self-limiting beliefs and allowing them to become free to chase their dreams. As a passion-driven individual who has spent his years harnessing his potential and carving a success-enabling path towards the summits of the music industry, this power player uses music as an inspiration platform for aspiring hopefuls around the world.

Better known by his stage name, 4O7CeeJay, this multifaceted artist is on his way to dominating the stage with his exceptional command over beats, rhythm, and lyrics. His inspirational journey and remarkable discography have captured the hearts of many listeners worldwide, slowly securing a coveted spot in a highly cutthroat industry. 4O7CeeJay is not only out to transform his visions into actions, but he also aims to become a source of motivation for others through his powerful voice, meaningful lyrics, and sterling melody.

Hailing from the city of world-famous theme parks and warm climate, Orlando, Florida is home to one of the most rapidly rising artists across the music space. Ever since he first played the saxophone at the age of seven, 4O7CeeJay has been taking center stage for his exceptional approach and flawless affinity towards music. Every track he performed speaks volumes of his passion for the craft while demonstrating his authenticity and kindheartedness in every note. Drawing inspiration from legendary figures in his life, such as his late cousin, who inspired him to become an artist, 4O7CeeJay released his first single entitled “LLG,” which is currently streaming on various platforms. 

This year, he released his new song called “Hearts in Pain,” where he talks about the pain of losing someone and going through depression, loss, and grief. Through this single, 4O7CeeJay hopes to enable others to feel that they are not alone in the process.

Although 4O7CeeJay managed to climb the summits of the music industry because of his desire to secure a reputable position across a highly competitive trade, at the core of this multi-talented artist’s quest for success is gaining the ability to inspire, raise awareness, and send messages of hope, love, and faith across the world. This dog-eat-dog world has consistently tested the waters for many people, slowly decapitating them from realizing their potential. As a person whose compassion for others rises above all else, 4O7CeeJay seeks to use his platform as a means for others to thrive, grow, and succeed. Today, he stands at the forefront of the industry, slowly leading people to achieve a life filled with greatness.

“Through my musical platform, I want to build a society that is united and determined to grow amidst the insurmountable challenges being thrown against them,” 4O7CeeJay said.

In the coming years, 4O7CeeJay aims to become a billboard chart-topper, surpassing equally talented individuals while setting the bar high across the industry. He also hopes to drive change by inspiring others through his story of love, hope, and growth.

To know more about this rising star, you may visit his Instagram page. Listen to “Hearts in Pain” on Spotify and YouTube.

Tre Lee on Wielding the Power of Music and Using His God-Given Voice to Reach Hearts and Touch Lives

It has long been established that music not only serves as background noise for people’s most mundane tasks and a companion to their most memorable moments. Above anything else, it is also an engine for raising awareness about timely issues, inspiring change, and comforting those struggling in the face of challenges. Many artists, both of the past and today, wield the power of this particular art in different ways. In the case of Floyd Lee III, better known as Tre Lee, he banks on the considerable impact of songs to provide solace and shed light on the fact that God has given people from all walks of life a purpose. 

Originally from Greenville, Mississippi, Tre Lee has always had an affinity toward rhythms and beats. His impressive arsenal of skills and passion for music were both molded and cultivated in an environment rife with a love for the craft. “From my father playing the OJAYS and Temptations in his car to my mother singing in the church choir, I grew up influenced by music,” shared the rising star. 

Tre Lee, who stands at the helm of a nonprofit enterprise called Honesty Brings Healing, has demonstrated an incredible competence at playing with words and putting them into writing from the get-go. This budding household name peppered his paper with love poems during fifth grade, a creative move that quickly progressed and led him to join Freestyle Fridays. It was no surprise then that Tre Lee eventually found his way to the forefront of the music scene. 

Today, Tre Lee is known for songs that have the ability to resonate with countless listeners worldwide. At the heart of his distinctive discography is a degree of vulnerability and transparency rarely found in other singers’ records. However, these characteristic features, which allow him to stand out among a plethora of talented musicians, were not immediately apparent. Before coming across Jay-Z’s album, Blueprint, the promising figure did not ground his pieces in experiences that hit close to home—hearing the 2011 release by the American rapper triggered a change in his approach to music. Not only did he begin making songs rooted in circumstances that he was intimately familiar with, but he also started telling other people’s stories. 

Bound to reach greater heights in the coming years, Tre Lee boasts tracks that can be played in the club on a Saturday night, as well as songs that reverberate within a church on a Sunday morning. Apart from their versatility, his releases are also marked by their top-notch quality and the extent to which they incorporate the blues of Mississippi’s Delta. 

Tre Lee, who is currently collaborating with the acclaimed producer CrackOnaTrack and preparing for the drop of his new album, credits his string of achievements not only to his authenticity and transparency but also to the fact that God is at the center of his musical endeavor. Highly fueled by the desire to reach out to everyone whose hearts seek healing, the Humble Gang Music Group founder hopes to make a difference by utilizing the gift God has given him.

Learn more about Tre Lee by visiting his website

Music Producer Andres Markmann Reveals How to Form a Band in a Pandemic

The distance consolidation of collaborative projects along with new ways of creating content is one of the many outcomes of the “new normal” the pandemic has set for us, even when referring to music. This is how, towards the end of 2019, DPM Band was born and grew throughout the COVID-19 quarantine.

DPM Band is an electronic duo that consists of Andres Markman, composer and music producer, and singer and also composer Diego Poupin. They studied together at a music academy when they were 12 years old in their home country of Chile but later grew apart. Three decades later, Andres from New York and Diego from London met again and merged into this project that overcame distance and united talent by being carried out entirely in a remote setting.

Andres is a well-known music producer with more than 15 years of experience in the music industry. He has participated in popular commercial jingles, film soundtracks, and has produced important musicalization of events and television programs. For this and many other reasons, he belongs to the artist catalog of Onmi Music Publishing and EMI Music.

Reflecting on his success with DPM Band, Andres says, “Music is networking, perseverance, and networking.” Under this premise, Andres and Diego have decided to venture with the development of this electronic music project with the combination of many rhythms such as progressive electronic rock, minimal, and dubstep, where they collaborate and produce new music trends. Due to the success and positive impact, they are already preparing a short film to explain in detail how to form a band during a pandemic, overcoming obstacles, and making meaningful contributions to achieve recognition in the world of music. “Where the Angels Speak” is this band’s recent release and shared with the public on the Music DPM website.

“Reoccur “Cutthroat Mode Releases “Believe” “Guidance,” Always Us and “Fallen”

After a decade of putting out music, it has been a major accomplishment to continue to strive for greatness. After the music industry took a big hit pandemic-style, this left the hip-hop lane completely open for artists to release as much music the consumers can gain from. Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon is where you can find the latest releases from Cutthroat Mode. Releasing 100 songs in 100 days has been their biggest position as a group. Typically, every month on the twenty-third, Cutthroat Mode releases either a single, an album, or an EP.

Let’s take it to the latest release, which is Cutthroat Mode and Nams’s “Believe.” The song itself is smooth, chill, and has a much laid-back vibe. The lyrics start off with “Yeah, top of the morning/Let’s get it going/I’m fully focused/I’m in motion/I know I’m chosen.”

Nams, who continues to represent despite the passing of Juice Bio, has also been putting out music like “No More” and “Focused.” Nams’s lyrics, flow, and the real words are quoted on every record  and continues to keep the listeners motivated.

“Guidance” was also one of the latest releases from Cutthroat Mode. The record starts off with a slow melody that brings us to a level of solidarity. The lyricist for this track starts off “This sh*t keep hating me/The voices in my head keep targeting me.” This song reflects everyone’s daily experiences and is just a real-life record.

The album Always Us was a thriller with tracks like “Activated” featuring RBO Stunna and Nams’s “Lemon” and “Risk It All” feauring. Phat Boyy and Young Go.

The song “Fallen” has listeners in a different mood from “Always Us.”  Musik took his grind to a whole other level with this one. This tempo, soul, and melody reguaranteed us back to the essence of dope music. The Lyrics start with “I’m all out got no more I’m falling softly need something to believe.”

As we continue to receive music content from the group, we will continue to tap in every month on the twenty-third for a new release.

Take a listen to “Fallen” on Apple Music. Follow Cutthroat Mode on Twitter for more updates on their music. Download and purchase the album “Believe Me” on Songwhip. Watch “Guidance” the video on YouTube.

Somalia Delivers Music Video for Hit in the Making, “Light Blue”

Rising talent and notable independent R&B musician Somalia has done it once again. She delivers quality music and top-level performance in her latest music video for her original track “Light Blue.” The music video premiered last April 30, 2021 and continues to make rounds online as hip hop and R&B fans start to catch wind of the Atlanta-based artist. 

The song “Light Blue” is part of Somalia’s mid-pandemic EP release, Never Enough Time, which, she shared, is some of her “best and most inspired work to date.” The music video features Director Van Dinh and producer Rachel Ostapower under the production company Eboshi Platinum LLC. Also part of the project is the production powerhouse duo known as Dope Norteria, an Atlanta-based music production company that has worked with some of the best artists in the area. 

Originally, Somalia is from Jersey City, New Jersey, but she moved to Georgia and landed eventually in Atlanta, where she would grow and thrive immensely as an artist. She started singing at a young age, jumping on every opportunity to perform and share her talent with the world. Somalia’s sound is a fusion of her various inspirations growing up—R&B, jazz, neo-soul, and hip-hop music. She grew up listening to artists like Brandy, Anita Baker, Missy Elliott, Minnie Riperton, and Jill Scott.

Somalia studied music and Comparative Women’s Studies at Spelman College, then later traveled to London to deepen her study of music and songwriting at the Goldsmith’s University of London. Her extensive technical knowledge of the songwriting process and highly inspired approach to performing come together in a powerful show of craftsmanship that captures crowds at every turn. 

That gift is evident in her latest music video for “Light Blue,” which has reached 3,000 streams on YouTube and is still growing. The video features Somalia spinning around strobes and lights, seemingly changing appearance at every turn. “The concept points to the many looks representing the different sides of women,” shared Somalia. “Be it fun, sophisticated, sexy, or anything else.”

Over the years, Somalia has evolved as an artist and graced many stages in her music career, performing at over 180 shows, festivals, and theaters for crowds as big as 3,000 people. The artist has performed in events with The Atlanta Beltline, The Atlanta Taste of Soul Festival, The National Black Arts Festival, Six Flags Over Georgia, The New Georgia Project, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and NAMI. Somalia has also written extensively and released two albums in the last three years—one entitled “Journey,” which she released in 2018, and another called “Never Enough Time,” launched in the middle of the pandemic. “Light Blue” is part of her second EP, alongside songs like “No Filter,” “All I Want Is You,” “Front Door,” and many others.

“Light Blue” is Somalia’s third track to have a music video. Earlier, she released a music video for her song “Mimosa,” which has now gathered over 10,000 views. Somalia hopes to keep creating music that will capture people’s hearts and entertain thousands of people worldwide. She continues to shoot for the stars as she works hard to join R&B icons soon. 

Learn more about Somalia by visiting her website and following her on Spotify, Instagram, and YouTube.

Taylor Swift Was So Disappointed and Called Out U.S. Census for Excluding Transgender

The newly-awarded ‘Artist of the Decade’ by American Music Awards, Taylor Swift,  is always an increasingly brave vocal pop star and avid-supporter of the LGBTQ community, expressed her sentiments and demands for an explanation during the Friday (June 26) Stonewall Day live stream to commemorate the day and speak out against trans exclusion which really caught her very upset.

 Being politically outspoken, helped ignite the gay rights movement. 

“The Stonewall Inn has been such a symbol in the face of rebellion,” Swift said in her message. “I was lucky enough to get to perform at the Stonewall Inn last summer when my friend Jesse Tyler Ferguson invited me to crash his set,” she continued, calling back to her surprise intimate set on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

With her powerful speech, it made her fans feel something nostalgic and looking forward for more solutions and breaking the gender stigma in the society “[It was] a really good step forward with the Supreme Court ruling… but we still have so far to go with the LGBTQ community,” she said, referring to the recent ruling that prevents employers from discriminating against LGBTQ employees. “I got my census the other day and there were two choices: male and female. And that erasure was so upsetting to me.”

It is really evident from Swift’s music video, ‘You Need to Calm Down’ how she advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community and how vocal she is when her homies are bullied and denounced in the society. 

Swift was upset and called out the absence of census options for trans and nonbinary citizens “a really brutal way of dismissing them” and wrapped up by saying this November, “We need to make sure we elect people who care about all communities.”

“When you don’t collect information on a group of people that means you have every excuse in the world not to support them. When you don’t collect data on a community, that’s a really brutal way of dismissing them. Obviously we all need to exercise our right to vote this year and check our absentee ballot policy in our states and we need to make sure we elect people who care about all communities”

In her message, she emphasized the importance of inclusion and the society and no entity should be left behind. Swift strongly pointed out that we are on this together and we must use our voice for the good of many people. 

Pride Live’s Stonewall Day is raising funds for LGBTQ organizations impacted by COVID-19 that serve trans and LGBTQ people of color including Trans LifeLine, Brave Space Alliance, TransLatin@ Coalition and The Ally Coalition. Text REBEL to 243725 or visit http://give.onecause.com/rebel to donate.

Rising Artist OWKZ on Releasing Thirty Music Videos a Year Into His Debut

Everyone aspires for greatness and envisions the best kind of life when they grow up. For many, the dream is to thrive in a career where they are in complete control of what they do. Kendahl Blakely is no different from the thousands of individuals who want to become their own boss, and he is currently living the dream through his music career under the stage name OWKZ.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, but raised in Las Vegas, OWKZ is one of the latest names to join the colorful roster of the music industry, and he has been making a significant impact on the west coast music scene. Since breaking out as one of the latest names in the hip-hop genre, OWKZ has consistently released quality tracks. Despite having been in the game for over a year, the rising artist has already released over thirty music videos on YouTube, with his latest song, “M.I.A.,” getting dropped over a day ago. 

OWKZ takes great pride in his work. “That’s what you call dedication,” he said proudly. While most people would quickly dismiss him as one of those cocky rising stars, OWKZ’s work rate cannot be overlooked. His debut album, The Birth of Zo, packs seventeen tracks and features big names like Skilla Baby and Skinny T FOD and is currently available on every major music streaming platform. 

When asked about his drive, the artist replied with this, “I always wanted to be my own boss and call my own shots. I always wanted to own my business and build assets to create generational wealth.” OWKZ has also cited his mother as his inspiration. Growing up as a child, he would watch as his mother struggled to make ends meet. The image of his mother breaking her back to provide for the family was reason enough to propel the rising artist to pursue a career in music. “I wanted to find a positive and creative way to escape poverty.”

As an artist, OWKZ dedicates most of his works to hard-working people. With so many people striving to change their situations despite their messed-up predicaments, the artist understands them perfectly and emulates their spirit. Even more impressive is the joy he gets when he is working hard. 

Since making his resolve, OWKZ developed a mindset to always plan his next step, giving him the work ethic that lets him stand out from other rising artists. “There aren’t too many artists working like me,” he said. “I stay consistent, and I release good music.” OWKZ takes pride in his craft and work ethics. While most artists create one good track and bask in their fleeting success, OWKZ is already in the studio, working on his following material. The artist tries to set himself as an example for other children in the situation he has been in.

OWKZ may just be the new kid on the block, but he has already exhibited professionalism. With the road wide open in front of him, he strives to find success in one of the most competitive industries today. Eventually, the artist plans on using his success and owning several businesses and assets. OWKZ has his eyes on real estate with the idea of raising a family not too far away. 

Get more updates on OWKZ’s latest tracks by following him on Instagram and Twitter

Leikyn Bravo, an Inspirational and Passion-Fueled Musician Set to Make Waves With Her Debut as a Solo Artist

Discovering one’s passion is the easy part, but if there is anything that adulthood teaches anyone, it is the fact that it does not take a lot to fall out of love with what they once held dear. In particular, countless artists have ended up losing interest in their craft due to several reasons. For some, developing a fascination for something else extinguished their desire to make a name for themselves in the industry, while for others, it is during the process of materializing their dreams that they lost sight of themselves. In the case of Leikyn Bravo, trying to conform to other people’s definition of success led to her first big fall out with music. Today, she brings with her an inspiring story that resonates with millions of aspirants worldwide as she carves a path toward the summit of the music scene.

Leikyn Bravo is a multi-talented figure who graduated with a Bachelor’s in Songwriting from the renowned Berklee College of Music. Ever since she was young, Leikyn Bravo has always had a deep-seated love for music. Growing up, there was nothing else she wanted to do more than have her voice be heard, and her songs touch hearts. “For as long as I can remember, there has always been a song in my heart and a tune on my lips. This remained true until I hit my early twenties,” shares the multifaceted personality. The efforts she expended to change her music and image in the hopes of satisfying others and meeting their conception of success led her astray. Fortunately, with the support of her friends and family, this rising star managed to reignite her passion for music and get back in the game. 

Currently leaving a mark worldwide, this skillful singer, versatile songwriter, actress, and all-around musician has shared live music in forty-five countries across six continents. Not only has she fronted and toured with the EDM band Sounds Limitless and danced the samba, but she has also drummed with the Brazilian batucada Grooversity, graced a Broadway Chicago stage, and launched songs that have found a place in an official IMDb movie. Armed with an impressive portfolio and an arsenal of skills, she is ready to take center stage as a solo artist.

Set to debut this year, Leikyn Bravo will hit the ground running with her album titled “Songs You’ll Never Hear.” Years in the making, this compilation is a glimpse into her journey and will shed light on the numerous obstacles she had to overcome to make it in the industry, including having doors slammed in her face and losing and finding her love for music. 

Apart from cementing her name as an artist to watch out for, Leikyn Bravo hopes to prove the naysayers wrong with her upcoming debut. Highly driven to counter their claims that she is nothing more than a pretty girl with a pretty voice, this inspiring icon aims to show the world that she is in the game to win it. Above anything else, she also wishes to send across the message that success is a goal that a person can define for themselves and achieve in the long run so long as they are determined and committed. 

Learn more about Leikyn Bravo by visiting her website