Hip-hop stars like Fonzworth Bentley, Papoose, Red Café, DJ Cassidy and Ron Browz filled New York’s Mount Morris Park Saturday at the Third Annual 135th St. Agency BBQ & Fish Fry in celebration of Harlem Week.
While DJ S&S spun the tracks, rapper Newz of The Inc. told Sister 2 Sister he’s been working hard on his debut album, Hunting Season, with his crew Block Gang and producer Chink Santana. He also gleaned some insight on having a successful relationship by watching boss Irv Gotti’s family drama play out on VH1’s reality show “Gotti’s Way."
“I learned to do the total opposite from [Irv’s relationship with wife Deb Lorenzo], nah mean?” Newz said. “A lot of ladies be coming down on my guy for [being publicly unfaithful] but, you know, he really just keepin’ it a hun’ed with his wife — tellin’ her the truth, which most men don’t do.”
After his project on Jive Records stalled in 2007, fellow Brooklyn MC Papoose said he is now happily independent and confident that his penchant for wordplay can compete on today’s ringtone-heavy charts.
“If you look at it, all of the greats was lyricists—Biggie Smalls, 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, you know, need I say more? Rakim, G. Rap—they all was lyricists,” Papoose explained. “It gives you longevity, as opposed to when you just a one-hit wonder.”
Pap said his wife Remy Ma has been working on her craft as well, even while serving an eight-year sentence for first-degree assault. “She been lettin’ me hear some material. She’s whoa. Her mind is somewhere else right now. I feel sorry for artists when she come out,” he said.
Later, we pulled Bentley away from his hosting duties to talk about spirituality, education, living in a post-Obama world, and his official music debut, CoolOutrageousLoversOfUniquelyRawStyle. For the self-proclaimed leader of the “gentleman’s movement,” everything is connected.
“You know, I think it would be great to hear my song on the radio, but that is not my goal. My goal is to speak into the hearts and to connect it to as many people as I possibly can,” Bentley said. “I wanna make sure that I’m a part of that scepter: when Moses raised it up, when Egypt was coming after the Israelites and when the covering of the cloud moved behind them and the angels moved in front of them and that Red Sea parted; I’m part of that.”
– Donya Blaze