Friday Rap-Up: Lenny Lenn, Death Row Records, Shaquille O’Neal and Kanye West

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Lenny Lenn is known for the work he put in as a radio personality for various radio stations across Colorado. His biggest claim to fame is being part of the launch team of the now-defunct Denver hip-hop radio station, U102. Lenny then spent some time working behind the scenes on the Lewis & Floorwax show at 103.5 the Fox 103.5 before moving to stints with KISS FM and MEGA, both were at 95.7 on the FM dial, and then 96.1 the Beat down in Colorado Springs. These days, though, radio is something of the past for Lenn.

“I tried to stick around to see if I could make it somewhere else, but then bills started rolling in, and I had to do what I had to do," Lenn explains. "I could go to another market and have a job in radio, but all my family is here, and I don’t want to leave Colorado.

"So I made the transition into TV land,” adds Lenn, who now works for Comcast Spotlight. “I still have love for radio, and will not rule out the possibility of going back but it would have to be on my terms.”

In the meantime, Lenn is working hard on his music. The rapper/producer is releasing a new project with his brother James Ray as Aires Jackson. The album, 2 Years and a Day, was produced by the brothers along with some other local folks including DJ Psycho.

“This has been something that we have played with for a couple of years, but just didn’t really do anything with it,” Lenn explains. “Then one day we were in the lab, and I told James Ray, ‘Hey let’s call ourselves Aires Jackson -- we're both Aries and our last name is Jackson -- and call the album 2 Years and a Day. Our birthday’s are March 28th and March 29th exactly two years apart. Now some folks look at the way I spelled Aries, but I meant it as a breath of fresh Air. It seems like rap music is the same story told by different folks, so we just are trying to bring some fresh air to the game.”

And they were able to this without choking each other out?

“Well to be honest, we’ve always worked on projects together, so this was really no different,” Lenn points out. “Folks may not know, but James Ray and I always fight. That’s just what brothers do. But at the end of the day, we want the best from ourselves and from each other, which made the project pretty easy to work on. No neck-wringing but a whole lot of bad words were said!”

The album's set to drop July 1, available on iTunes, and Lenny and James Ray will follow it with solo albums and a compilation album, KIN Vol. 2: Title Bout (KIN Vol. 1: It’s Family Affair is now available on iTunes, along with Lenn’s debut, Commercially Underground.) Check out the DJ Psycho-produced single, “Clap Yo hands,” below.

Death Row Records Sold for $24 Million

This week, Death Row Records’ assets and catalogue were auctioned off to the Global Music Group for a cool $24 million. The Tennessee-based indie now owns all of Death Row’s music, including twenty unreleased Tupac tracks. The label went up for auction after founder Suge Knight filed for bankruptcy and judge Vincent Zurzolo ordered the liquidation of Death Row’s assets to alleviate Knight and the label’s debt.

Shaq Gives Kobe the Gas Face

Everyone knows Shaq is a hip-hop head so it wasn’t a surprise when he grabbed the mike to bust a bit at a New York club this week. What came out of his mouth, however, has been talked about all week.

“You know how I be/Last week Kobe couldn't do without me.../I'm a horse/Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting divorced/He said Shaq gave a bitch a mil/I don't do that 'cause my name's Shaquille/I love 'em, I don't leave 'em/I got a vasectomy, now I can't breed 'em."

The fallout hasn’t been too good. Shaq has already lost deputy badges from police departments in Arizona and Virginia, plus Laker fans are hopping mad. But hey, it’s hip-hop, lighten up and enjoy the raps. Check it out below.

Angry Kanye Rips Bonnaroo

Earlier this month, Kanye West performed at Bonnaroo, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. West was set to perform at 2:45 a.m., but didn’t take the stage until 4:30 a.m., and by that time, fans were mad and tired. Excuses ranged from Pearl Jam doing a longer set than scheduled, to West’s stage people taking too long to setup his glamorous stage. But this week, West let fans know what really went down on his blog.

“This Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I've ever had in my life,” Kanye wrote on his blog. “This is the most offended I've ever been... this is the maddest I ever will be. I'm typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!! Call me any name you want.... arrogant, conceited, narcissistic, racist, metro, fag whatever you can think of.... BUT NEVER SAY I DIDN'T GIVE MY ALL!”

"For over a month we went back and forth on whether or not we could even fit my stage at the festival," West continued. "One day they would say yes. We'd send them our specs [and] then they'd say OK. Then they would send specs back that didn't fit the stage. They tried to give me a time slot where it was still light outside. I have a fucking light show dumb ass. It's not called 'Glow in the Dark' for no reason squid brains!”

You can read the rest of the rant at his blog.

New Releases

Three 6 Mafia Last 2 Walk

The funny thing about Three 6 Mafia is that after the act won and Oscar for “Hard Out Here For a Pimp” from the movie “Hustle & Flow,” the industry thought the members were some musical geniuses. But anybody who keeps up with hip-hop knows that Three 6 is just another run-of-the mill Southern hip-hop group that doesn’t offer anything new, which is more than evident on its new album. Just listen to the song, “I’d Rather,” and you’ll hear ignorance at its finest.

RZA Digi Snacks

After the whole Wu-Tang reunion debacle last year, RZA decided to go back into his cave and resurrect his alter-ego, Bobby Digital. Digi Snacks, produced entirely by the RZA with a few guest appearances, is hit or miss with some classic RZA production and rhymes, only to be followed by mediocre beats and poor songwriting. Even so, those who love RZA’s style of hip-hop will not be disappointed at all.

Immortal Technique & Green Lantern The Third World

Known for his revolutionary rhymes, Immortal Technique has connected with DJ Green Lantern for this mixtape/album. The project is what you’d expect from Immortal: head banging beats and lyrics that will make you raise your fist. Chino XL, Crooked I, Ras Kass, and Psycho Realm all lend Immortal a hand on the mike.

-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno

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