On the heels of its inaugural “Culture Vultures” digital cover, CASSIUS — the latest brand from iONE Digital (formerly Interactive One) and the definitive digital destination for urban millennials – has announced its June 2017 cover: The First Supper.
‘The First Supper,’ a graphic illustration featuring 30 of the most talked-about, controversial figures in pop culture and American history, is divided into four covers featuring distinct groups of ‘Unapologetics’-cultural disruptors as they are known in the CASSIUS world. The series features critical essays penned by CASSIUS top editors and on video, extended conversation about the covers’ ultimate message and the sheer power of its many subjects.
The June cover is in keeping with CASSIUS’ mission to cut through today’s headlines with stories and critical commentary that are relevant to millennials and directly address the global impact of Black culture. Each month, CASSIUS will create original covers underscoring their unique point of view on themes such as power, identity, and race. Video content will accompany each cover.
“This month, we wanted to nod to ‘The Unapologetics’ of then and now,” says CASSIUS creator Kierna Mayo, SVP, Content and Brands at iONE Digital. “We determined that people throughout time who change the world and never apologize for it, fall into fascinating sub-categories worthy of exploration. Deciding which ‘disciples’ should have a seat at the ‘First Supper’ table was hotly debated in our office. The truth is, the world is filled with ‘Unapologetics’ -fearless individuals who push us to think differently and for everyone depicted, there was also the case for someone else. We hope our audience has the same endless discussion we did. Who really moves culture forward?”
The June cover art was illustrated by Mark Hammermeister.
At a time when mainstream media is dominated by political theater and extreme narratives, CASSIUS provides readers with a rare lens that positions Black culture as central to the world’s key issues.
Cadillac and The Coca-Cola Company are the proud launch partners of CASSIUS.
Yunel Cruz is a singer and songwriter from New York City who burst onto the scene with his Billboard charting bachata hit “Mi Dominicanita,” in 2010. Born Jofre Cruz, he went on to sign to Universal Music Latin Entertainment‘s Machete Music imprint home to Don Omar and other notable latin artists.
After the release of his Something Different EP in 2010, Cruz went on to land four more records on the Billboard tropical songs chart including two No. 1’s with “Ay Amiga” and “No Vuelve.” Most recently he released his first bilingual record featuring R&B star Ne-Yo and reggaeton artist J. Alvarez;garnering millions of Spotify streams and views along the way.
Back in his hometown of NYC while prepping for his performance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for Soulfrito Fest 2017 alongside some of the hottest names in urban and latin music; SFPL‘s own Arlene Danna chatted with the rising bilingual crooner about his career, love for music, working with Ne-Yo and much more.
Audiences first became acquainted with you back in 2010 with the release of your bachata hit “Mi Dominicanita.” Since you’ve landed on the Billboard charts several times including snagging two No.1’s. How has your life changed since you released your first EP Something Different?
Wow, it’s changed a lot. I think that, you know it’s been a journey that you embark on and you don’t really truly know what to expect. When we released that first single, at least for me I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know the acceptance was going to be so huge. It started off in New York, then the Dominican Republic and then it just went crazy. With that first single I got to travel to places I would have never imagined. I went to Ecuador and other parts of South America. Here in the United States we went to Utah, San Diego, L.A.. So it’s crazy. My life has changed a ton. I got to move from the Northeast in Boston and now I reside in Miami. It’s been a long journey and one that I’ve enjoyed a lot but my life has definitely changed in every way.
Your latest single “Sin Miedo” features reggaetonero J. Alvarez and R&B singer Ne-Yo. How did that collaboration come about?
The collaboration came about because I had the record. I was working with my producer Lenny Medina. He’s worked with Romeo Santos and Enrique Iglesias. We had the record and the minute I heard “Sin Miedo” I loved it. The beat is crazy, and I went you know what let’s reach out and get this fire. We reached out to Ne-Yo and he sent me his verse and it was amazing. When Ne-Yo recorded his part it was beautiful, but it made the song kind of long. So I was trying to figure out what we were going to do with the record. Afterwards I was like you know what let’s put a reggaetonero on it since it would be my first record that’s both english and spanish. Before all the singles that we released were bachata singles. People don’t know that I do R&B, that I do Hip-Hop, that I do all kinds of music. You know I grew up in New York but it’s like a lot of people don’t know that I have all those other genres in me. So I was like you know what let’s reach out to J. Alvarez. We’re good friends and he’s an amazing artist who I respect a lot. He works independently and I respect that. When I started I was an independent artist as well. Now I’m actually signed to Universal. Been with them for a few years but I respect him very much. We we’re going to reach out to Maluma, but at the time he just finished doing a record with Shakira and Ricky Martin so he couldn’t jump on a third single at the time because the release time wasn’t going to work. So J. Alvarez said I’m on it, he recorded the verse it was fire and there it was, that was the record.
So you immediately had Ne-Yo in mind when you heard the record?
Yes, it just sounded like Ne-Yo to me as soon as I heard it. He’s one of the artists that I grew up admiring a ton. R&B artists are Ne-Yo and Usher for me but he’s one of my top favorite artists that I grew up emulating. For me it was an honor to grow up and actually work with him. You know it’s kind of crazy because when you start making music you don’t know where you’re going to be tomorrow. You just make music with love and from the heart. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that I one day I would be recording and working with one of my idols. So that to me was incredible and what made it even more special was how humble and great of a person he is. It’s unreal. We sat down and spent time together. He’s just a unbelieveable soul, so it’s cool.
You guys shot the video in L.A. how was that experience?
I thought it was cool. I wanted L.A. because I wanted a different feel. I had shot “Ay Amiga” in Miami and I wanted a different look and feel to it. It was off the chain. I love the vibe in L.A. I wanted to bring that to the video. It’s kind of crazy because we had a different theme in mind. We kind of wanted to do like a racing thing and then when I read the script I was like okay this is like Fast and Furious no we’re not going to do that. So we went with the party scene and it was dope. Everything worked out.
“Sin Miedo” manages to fuse together multiple genres. It isn’t just bachata, or reggaeton, or pop. How would you describe it?
I would describe “Sin Miedo” as a bilingual latin american song. It’s a dope fusion. If you speak spanish you can vibe to it, if you like english music you can vibe to it. It’s a big fusion of different flavors and that’s what makes it dope. I love the record and people have been responding well to it. If you see the streaming numbers 1.7 million so far, and people on YouTube supporting it; it’s beautiful.
Is this the sound audiences should be expecting on your forthcoming debut Divina Voluntad?
For sure. That’s definitely the sound. I’m working very hard to change the sound of what people are accustomed to hearing from me, you know that romantic side. People are going to be shocked with the new records. I have a couple of other special collaborations that people are going to really dig and enjoy.
Are you able to give us any hints on who you’ve been collaborating with?
We have a couple really big collabs that I can’t say now, but I will make sure I get it to you first. It’s going to be cool. I think people are going to dig the new Yunel and the direction that we’re going. I’m looking forward to you guys hearing the new music.
You wrote your first song at age 9 so it’s safe to say that music has always been your passion. Are there any influences in your life that have pushed you in that direction?
Yes, I’ve been writing my whole life. I think so. When I was younger I started writing because of my Mom. She told me that if I wanted something fun to do that opens your mind just write your emotions. That’s where it came from to write music. I’ve worked with really big artists and songwriters as well and for me I just find I have a passion for writing my own stuff and what I feel. Then to get to perform those songs and to get the support from people it’s pretty cool. You create something from your heart and people vibe with it, it’s one of the coolest feelings ever.
Besides singing do you have any other musical talents?
I play a little guitar, I used to play the trombone when I was younger. I haven’t played it in a long time. Music is my thing so I try to touch different instruments and enjoy the time when I’m in the studio and just play around with them too.
You’ll be performing at Soulfrito Fest 2017 alongside some of the biggest in urban and latin music like Rick Ross and Zion y Lennox. How have you been preparing for your performance?
I’ve been just getting myself ready by figuring out the show. On my end it’s a little more complex because it’s not a show that’s set like this is the set that we’re doing. It’s a change and it’s going to be the first time people are going to see me doing my bilingual thing. Singing in both english and spanish on stage it’s going to be pretty cool for me and I’m just really excited. New York is home so it’s going to be a good time.
You can catch Yunel performing Friday June 9th atSoulfrito Fest 2017 at the Barclays Center alongside Rick Ross, Zion y Lennox, Ivy Queen, Young M.A., Fetty Wap, Cardi B, and more!
KSR Group‘s singer/songwriter/musician and producer JOSH X releases his anticipated 10-song new mixtape, Amour.
Said to be one of Stevie Wonder‘s latest protege’s, the artist currently has the #21 R&B song in the country on the Billboard charts with his smash single, “Heaven On My Mind” featuring Cardi B. X also collaborated and co-wrote the song, “Ready to Go” with multi-platinum super producer Swizz Beatz for Fox‘s hit show EMPIRE and PEPSI (a global tv commercial). He has also worked with the likes of Jadakiss, Lil’ Wayne, Swizz Beatz and Cardi B. just to name a few.
The album I Am Josh X is scheduled to be released this Summer.
Also, Josh is currently on a 15-city promotional tour in support of “Heaven On My Mind”, cities include; New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Milwaukee, Houston, Detroit, and Miami. Later this month, Josh will embark on a Haiti national tour with Haiti’s own, Sandro Martelly, son of Haiti’s former President.
This past weekend, Lil’ Kim had a blast performing at the Hip-Hop and Soul concert in PA. Now, the veteran artist drops some news about what she’s been crafting up.
Currently, Kim is working on her fifth studio album in which her first single is soon to be released. The “Crush On You” artist was at the concert this past weekend where she talked about working on her new album and possibly doing another “Ladies Night” anthem.
Queen Bee is also preparing for the launch of her very own fashion line and she partnered with La Scala (@LaScalausa) a fashion boutique located in Englewood NJ that currently carries exclusive brands like Moschino, Versace, Phillip Plein and will be the first boutique to carry her fashion line.
Lil’ Kim rocked some special pieces from her fashion lineup while performing at the show. Also, she and Love & Hip Hop NY‘s Cardi B played catch up backstage. Cardi will also be featured on Lil’ Kim’s upcoming project.
“I had so much fun this past weekend and I was wearing one of my favorite outfits of this year! Bodysuit by Moschino, Jacket by Moschino, Shoes by Philip Plein, Choker by Moschino”,said an excited Lil Kim.
CFDA NYFW: Men’s Ambassador Fabolous, closed out NYFW with first ever runway show and pop-up. The Grammy-nominated artist unveiled his line, Blood’s Thicker Summertime Shootout 2 SS17 followed by a one-night-only pop-up shop where press, special guests, loyal fans, and shoppers were able to purchase pieces seen on the runway, immediately after.
He celebrated with fans, inviting them to watch the show, bringing the outside in through giant glass windows. Attendees were surprised with special guest walkers including, Fabolous’ children Taina and Johan – who kicked off the show and closers singer Trey Songz, rapper Dave East, Love & Hip Hop Star Cardi B., and model Bernice Burgos. The events were produced by Brittney Escovedo‘s Beyond 8, at the legendary Vinnie’s located in Brooklyn. The ‘Summertime Shootout 2’ show and shop were styled with canvases of pop art by artist LaVan Wright, giving consumers a gallery-like shopping experience.
Hailing from Brooklyn and Love & Hip Hop New York‘s own Swiftondemand has created an anthem for those chasing their money. His new single “Check Me My Check” was created for all the hard working people out there that have had issues collecting a check after providing their services. In two weeks after releasing his video “Cut Me My Check,” it hit over 16,000 views on youtube.
Swift Star was raised in the infamous Flatbush neighborhood but it was East New York’s surroundings that made him. A true hustla to the game, Swift began to execute his plan to dominate the music industry and leave an impression as a producer/artist. The Jamaican-born talent is here to create music that relates to his fans.
He and his new artist Cardi B made waves with her Gangsta B*tch Music Vol. 1′ Mixtape & GBMV2. The two are not only making music in the studio, they making music in the sheets. Swift currently has a hit single out called “LvyeBounce” which amassed 145,813 views on WorldStar in two days of its release. He is set to release a mixtape titled On Demand February 19, 2017.
Fans who missed The Underestimated Tour with Cardi B and friends, now have the opportunity to download the anticipated album. The UnderestimatedTour Album is a collaboration between KSR Group artists Cardi B, Hood Celebrityy, SwiftOnDemand, Cashflow Harlem, and Josh X.
The release was available exclusively to tour attendees and is now available to the masses. It features all genres of music including reggae via Hood Celebritty, Hip Hop through Cashflow Harlem, urban dance via SwiftOnDemand (with his viral hit “LYVE BOUNCE”), R&B by way of Josh X and the voice of rawness from Cardi B. Josh X’s “Heaven on my Mind” featuring Cardi is currently in rotation on Hot 97, Power 105.1 and more.
Cardi B, whose single is currently #49 on urban radio says:
“I wanted to make a song that would make girls dance, twerk and at the same time encourage them to go get that shmoney.”
The comment was in regards to her single “What a girl Likes.” KSR Group proves their team is the new wave in music entertainment.
Red Cafe resurfaces with a remix to “She A Bad One” featuring E-40 with the one and only Cardi B. Off of his Dope God mixtape released back in March, the verse from Cardi reinvigorates the record making it perfect for all the ladies concerned with getting commas.
Fresh off releasing her first official single, “What A Girl Likes” Cardi B is gearing up for her The Underestimated Tour which kicks off tomorrow in Orlando.
Listen to the Cardi B assisted remix to “She A Bad One” featuring E-40 below. You can get more information on The Underestimated Tour dates here.
Cardi B’s official single “What A Girl Likes” is from the forthcoming UnderEstimated EP. The EP will be available on iTunes and all digital outlets on Friday, July 18th and includes music from KSR Group label mates, Josh Exantus, SwiftonDemand, Cash Flow Harlem and Hood Celebrityy.
The song was written by Cardi and produced by Jwhite DID IT for the KSR Group.
Cardi B says:
“I wanted to give my ladies an anthem that would motivate them to “turn up” as well as to get that bread.”
During the Month of July Cardi B is on the road headlining her first national tour in support of the ‘UnderEstimated’ upcoming EP. The all age-friendly 11 city tour is hosted by comedian Just Vlad and includes performers; SwiftonDemand, Josh X and Cash Flow Harlem. For tour cities and dates go to UnderEstimatedTours.com.
Having appeared on national TV shows such as Cocktails with Khloe’, The Doctors and several FOX affiliates, Cardi B’s name is one that will not be forgotten anytime soon. Her debut mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music released on March 7, 2016 available on Datpiff and Itunes was received with great accolades with over 14,000,000 streams from Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play collectively, and over 250,000 downloads (200k free downloads and 50k purchased) to date.