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I worked my whole life for this…🔑” -DJ Khaled on his Epic Records partnership.

On the heels of what has been a year of massive mainstream saturation…DJ Khaled called us to give us the good news that he’s brought his We The Best label over to Epic Records and will be releasing his 9th solo album, Major Key, there as well. So as both label head and artist, Khaled will be partnering with Epic’ chief LA Reid, no stranger to cross-pollination of fame himself. It’s a reunion of sorts, since LA Reid gave Khaled his first major distribution deal for We The Best while heading Def Jam in 2008. As Khaled and I discussed in the cover story of SneakerNews Volume Three, We The Best is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary…at the same time as Khaled is reveling in being Snapchat’s 6-million-follower man, and becoming a fixture on everything from Beats1 (We The Best radio show) to Jimmy Kimmel Live. As for the leak about an upcoming collabo featuring Jay-Z and Future? Khaled promises that’s just one of the big treats he has in store.

Read Khaled’s every hyperbolic statement about the new deal…and watch his short “energy” vlog…
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This really should have happened ages ago. Beyonce has effectively been the definition of that “gym life” since…pre-pubescence, so for her to not have a line of leggings and sports bras is pretty much a gaping hole in American capitalism. But all’s well, the queen will still make an absolute killing when her Ivy Park “athleisure” (as if we need a tag word to give women a reason wear spandex while doing errands on a Sunday) hits the market in April. The mid-priced ($30 to $200) line will be available at Beyonce’s Ivy Park site, Nordstrom’s, Topshop (Beyonce partnered w/ Topshop’s founder Sir Phillip Green on the line), and Net-a-Sporter. Finally all of the young women (and men) uploading their own versions of Bey’s “Formation” video (some, very inappropriate) will at least be able to do so in Beyonce-sanctioned stretch pants : )

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This is the most excited I’ve been about a new song in a really really long time. More excited than I was before Kanye’s Yeezy Season 3 and The Life Of Pablo unveiling. More excited than I was for What a Time To Be Alive to finish downloading. More excited than I was waiting for Kendrick’s Grammy set to start (although, in the end, that set blew me away). I just feel like I’ve been waiting (and more importantly, waiting in the dark) for proof of life from Jai Paul for so long.

Finally, there is new music!

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is certainly reaping the rewards of his hard and excellent work…after writing the award-winning “Between The World and Me,” a gut-wrenching book about racism in America, Coates was not only given a MacArthur “genius” grant (which is basically a lump of cash to ensure you have the freedom to pursue your creative goals without worry for the rent), but he also got the chance to live out a childhood dream…to revive Marvel’s first black superhero series from the 1970’s, Black Panther. Coates writes about how comic books influenced his thinking and his work, and gave his former workplace, The Atlantic, a sneak peek at what the new Black Panther, as drawn by Brian Stelfreeze.

Some of the best days of my life were spent poring over the back issues of The Uncanny X-Men and The Amazing Spider-Man. As a child of the crack-riddled West Baltimore of the 1980s, I found the tales of comic books to be an escape, another reality where, very often, the weak and mocked could transform their fallibility into fantastic power. That is the premise behind the wimpy Steve Rogers mutating into Captain America, behind the nerdy Bruce Banner needing only to grow angry to make his enemies take flight, behind the bespectacled Peter Parker being transfigured by a banal spider bite into something more.

See more of the preview of Marvel’s Black Panther revival, and watch a video of Coates…
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13-hours

13 Hours: The Secret Soliders of Benghazi..I mean…it can’t actually get worse than this, right? Michael Bay and assorted Hollywood slopchops deciding that they’re the right folks to turn the 2012 terrorist attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya (that left 2 American diplomats and 2 CIA agents dead) into their own personal chest-thumping Zero Dark Transformers moment. Woo-Ah!

But Bay isn’t Kathryn Bigelow (although he does somewhat remind me of another Hollywood megalomanic, Bigelow’s former husband James Cameron). Michael Bay is the man who made last year’s important cultural contribution…the movie Ouija. Yes. Based on the board game for paranoid schizophrenics. Along with all the Transformers, Purges, Bad Boys (those were actually pretty good), and The Rock (again, a retro favorite but in hindsight, cheesy).

Judging from this fantastically cringe-worthy red-band trailer…Jim Halpert AND Roy Anderson from “The Office” (actors Jim Krasinski and David Denman) are two of the real life Navy Seals who rushed to the embassy after it was attacked, along with a few other B-level mall-heartthrobs, like “Pornstache” from “OITNB” (actor Pablo Schreiber, brother of Liev).

Just watch it, after the jump, and count the Michael Bay movie-franchise mashups…
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Tyler Thomas BirdsIView

Miss Info: As the days gets shorter and colder and darker here in New York City…the perfect antidote for the seasonal blues is this new EP ‘BirdsIView’ from 23-year old Los Angeles singer/rapper Tyler Thomas. Thomas has been on his independent grind for the past few years, catching the attention of industry insiders with “Whiskey on the Rocks” back in 2012 and his 2013 Higher Learning EP…but now, under the executive-production direction of Grammy-winning squad The Stereotypes, Thomas is primed for the big-time.


This week, Thomas dropped a video for the very PCH-drive-ready “Make Me Go” (above)…But so far, my favorite track has been the grittier “Lincoln Ave.”

Watch Tyler’s “Lincoln Ave” video and download his ‘Birds I View’ EP…
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Amy Schumer, arguably the hottest comic in the game right now, gets her first chance to host Saturday Night Live tonight…but music fans will be even more excited about musical guest, The Weeknd. (Check out Amy and The Weeknd’s SNL promos) The cruciferous-haired singer has the number 1-song in the country with “The Hills,” and in advance of his performance, he dropped the new remixes featuring Nicki Minaj and Eminem. Talk about the one-two punch.

Check out “The Hills” Remixes featuring Nicki and Eminem after the jump…
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drakecover

Our friends at the FADER are pulling out all the stops for their 100th issue. The first cover-story reveal is Drake, possibly his best-looking portrait (I mean, there have been some odd ones over the years), and an interesting look into arguably the biggest “rap” star during one of his most active periods. The story opens up with Serena Williams fans blaming him for her U.S. Open loss, moves onto Drake’s action-packed summer of Meek beef and Future bromance…and gives some insight into the imminent ‘Views From The 6′ album which still has no set release date.

The FADER also reminds us that this is Drake’s first in-depth interview since he quit the media in 2014 amidst the backlash of his refreshingly abrasive Rolling Stone feature.
Along with incredible detail and observation from writer Leon Neyfakh, there are also some beautiful photos by Mark Peckmezian that show a different side of hip hop’s most meme-ingful star.
Really well done.

More on Drake in the FADER’s 100th issue, after the jump….

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I’ve tried repeatedly to watch “American Horror Story”…believing that I would like it because I love film noir as a genre, I love creepy old-timey vamp, and I grew up on deviant pop culture like “Twin Peaks,” and John Waters films. But “AHS” always ends up boring me by trying too hard to shock. The a-plus actresses, as county fair freaks or witches…eh. It’s vintage horror given the “Glee” gloss-over (obviously, from the same show creator). It usually looks really good though, I’ll give it that. And I think casting Lady Gaga this season as a mysterious hotel proprietress makes perfect sense. We’re not off to the greatest start with this trailer though…Stanley Kubrick is raging from the grave.

Lady Gaga: AHS

Watch the full “American Horror Story: Hotel” trailer…and “The Shining” comparison…after the jump

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Netflix's The Beasts of No Nation (Idris Elba)

I’m halfway through the excellent and mindblowing historical series, ‘Narcos’…tracing the rise of Colombian coke emperor Pablo Escobar…and already adding another Netflix production to my must-watch list.

Upcoming Netflix Original, ‘The Beasts of No Nation’, follows the path of a young boy who is forced to become a child soldier in an African civil war. While the subject alone is reason enough to pay attention, the production also pairs Idris Elba (whose James Bond struggle, I already wrote about at length) with director Cary Fukunaga (who made ‘Fight Girl’, and the critically-acclaimed first season of ‘True Detective’). Apparently, Elba almost fell off a cliff and Fukunaga caught malaria during filming.
I’m almost scared to watch this film when it is released in October, because if it’s even a tiny peek at the horrors of Africa’s wars and genocides…then it will still be completely heartbreaking.

Watch the trailer of ‘Beasts of No Nation’, after the jump
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