Friday Rap-Up: 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Nas

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50 Cent suing Taco Bell

Last month a letter from Taco Bell addressed to 50 Cent went out to various media outlets asking 50 to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent, to help promote their menu and “Why Pay More” ad campaign. But ironically, the letter never went directly to 50, real name Curtis Jackson, and now he’s suing Taco Bell for using his name without permission in their publicity stunt.

According to Reuters, the lawsuit reads that "without seeking or obtaining Jackson's authorization, defendant Taco Bell made him the star and focus of its nation-wide advertising campaign by using his name, persona and trademark to promote Taco Bell's business and products. As Taco Bell intended, many customers believed that 50 Cent had agreed to endorse Taco Bell's products. Indeed, postings on numerous Internet blogs castigated 50 Cent for 'selling out' by his apparent endorsement of Taco Bell."

Looks like 50 might have a winning hand here. We’ll see how it shakes out.

Dr. Dre confirms new album dropping this year

It’s been a long nine years since we got an album from Dr. Dre, but it looks like that drought might end this year. In an interview with USA Today he confirmed appearances from Jay-Z, Nas, and Lil Wayne and said that he finally feels comfortable to share it with the masses.

“I’m just now, over the last couple months, starting to feel that it’s going to be right and it’s something I can be proud of, and everybody is going to love it,” Dr. Dre told USA Today. “In a perfect world, I’m shooting for a November or December release.”

And don’t expect anything much after that, except maybe a producer credit here and there. “I just make the music feel the way I want it to feel and I don’t put it out until I’m totally happy with it. Then it does what it does...I’m going to put this record out, promote it, and then become a hermit,” Dre said. “I’m going to stay in the studio and produce. All I want to do is sit in the studio with that person for a year and try to create another masterpiece.”

And as previous project have proven, anything Dre does is worth the wait.

Nas Protests Fox News, Calls Them Racist

If you haven’t heard or seen the video for “Sly Fox” from Nas, go do that now. Following the stir the song caused, Nas joined MoveOn.Org and ColorForChange.org in a protest at Fox News Headquarters in New York. “Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news,” Nas said at the protest. “This should outrage every American that Fox uses hateful language to talk about the person that may be the first black president.”

Nas is referring to incidents such as the one where Fox displayed a graphic labeling Michelle Obama, the wife of the Democratic presidential candidate, "Obama's baby mama." Two other Fox personalities apologized for referring to an affectionate on-stage fist bump shared by the couple as a "terrorist fist jab" and, in another case, for joking about an Obama assassination. In response Fox News said, "Fox News believes in all protesters exercising their right to free speech including Nas who has an album to promote."

Nas says that Bill O’Reilly still refuses to have him on the O’Reilly Factor.

New Releases

Nas Untitled

The new album from Nas was originally supposed to be called “N*gger”, but due to pressure from his label, the album is untitled but the message is still there. Whether it’s breaking down the connotations and different uses for the word (“N.I.G.G.E.R.”), the condemnation of the media (“Sly Fox”), or the food that people eat in the hood (“Fried Chicken”), Nas was still able to say what he wanted to say on the album. This is Nas’s most revolutionary and insightful album of his career. It’s one you don’t want to sleep on.

Skillz Million Dollar Backpack

Known for ghostwriting for a handful of well-known rappers, Skillz is one of the most lyrical entertaining emcees to grab a mic. Some of his best lines are found on tracks like “Sick”, “Yeah Ya Know It”, and “Hold Tight” and he gets help from Black Thought, Common, Talib Kweli, and Freeway throughout the album. The album proves that Skillz is one of the best writers rapping in the industry.

Reks Grey Hairs

Reks is a Boston emcee who has been putting it down since 2001 through various mixtapes and independent releases. But his new album, “Grey Hairs” appears to be his coming out party. With appearances from Termanology, Lil Fame (of M.O.P.), Consequence, Skyzoo, Krumb Snatcha, Big Shug and his first single produced by DJ Premier, Reks is making a statement. He’s not too shabby on the mic either. Make sure you check “All in One (5 Mics)”, “The One” and “How Can it Be” for proof of his lyrical prowess.

-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno

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