I had the pleasure of linking up with Maine The Medicine to chop it up about his forthcoming solo album titled “B.U.T.C.H” (Built Under The Culture’s Hands). Fans can expect the LP to drop August 6th on all major platforms.
MJ: Your new album B.U.T.C.H. (Built Under The Culture’s Hands) debuts everywhere August 6th. After listening to the album, I think it’s fair to state this is by far the most superior of album releases. Can you go into detail about the correlation between the title of the album and MAINE as an artist?
Maine: The title B.U.T.C.H is in honor of my father who for the last two years has been through so much, from dialysis to both legs being amputated, and not knowing what his day to day would look like. I know there were times he wanted to give up, but he hung in there and kept fighting. Witnessing that I wanted to show my father the ultimate respect and name the album after him, plus he was the first one to introduce me to Hip-Hop. My first two records he bought for me were Kurtis Blow and New Edition. Between my father and cousins Sudan and Barkin from Queensbridge, and my uncle Stevie, a Latin percussionist who played with Luther Vandross for 20 years… I was raised under music. That’s where ‘built under the culture’s hand’ derives from. To a fault Hip-Hop consumes my entire life from the way I think, dress, and talk. All I ever wanted to do was rap. Even now at the age of 42 all I want to do is rap and let the world hear my music.
MJ: This 22-track LP epitomizes the essence of Hip-Hop and upon release will potentially push the culture to the forefront. Talk about everything that went into creating this album. It’s evident this was a skilled mastery in the making.
Maine: I went into this album with the mindset of curating something personal and special. I wanted to give the fans that gritty Maine with the punches, but also give them a candid look into my life and some of the things I have been going through. Music is truly the best therapy whether your writing or listening to it. I want my album to show great lyricism and storytelling, and to give the younger generation a reason to appreciate our culture; learn from it instead of rebelling against it. I carefully handpicked people who I knew were Hip-Hop fans to express their love for the culture and who or what made them fall in love with it… Although I hate to sound cliché, this album takes you on a journey.
MJ: The production embodies the perfect blend of soulful undertones, gritty mixes, and of course that classic boom bap heavy bass. That arrangement intensifies your clever wordplay and rhyme schemes. Tell us about that emcee and production chemistry.
Maine: Going into the album I knew I wanted a certain feel and vibe to the album. That boom bap and soulful feel has always been my sound. I knew with this being my solo project I had to go back to that sound. I must give a huge shout to my big homie U.G for pushing to do another solo project, “Maine when you gonna work on that project, I’m waiting for you lil bro, I got you.” He started crafting some heat for me and flawlessly fell in line with the sound I wanted. Then he jumped on the “M.A.I.N.E” track and the ball started rolling. Native Seals was also a major influence to push this solo project. My second single “Let Me Love” featuring Ty Soul is one of the many gems I got from Native. Of course, I needed to include production from my 20-year crew I.M.F Catacombs with Willy Sully and Da Leadgeon. They know my style and right off the bat they went in without me having to say anything and created 5 joints on the album. I also was blessed to have production from Father Focus Confusous, Jlstudios, Big City, and Know- it.
MJ: It was difficult to pinpoint album favorites, as each track flawlessly transcends into the next track. However, “MAINE” did stand out for a couple of reasons. In the industry there’s a craze that after a certain age rhyming should be left for resumes so the younger generation can shine. The issue with that is there’s a fair number of young artists who are not ‘built under the culture’s hand’, not willing to learn the history of Hip-Hop, and are not creating music for the purpose of longevity. “MAINE” nails that from beginning to end with in your face, stay in your lane lyrics. Share your insight on that track.
Maine: That track was produced by U.G and features U.G of the legendary Cella Dwellas. He was so invested in that track. I did a hook for it, but he wanted to take it up a notch. So now that track is on steroids especially once he jumped on it. Honestly, I was becoming frustrated with the lack of effort in the verses I here now a days, rapping over the vocals, and following the hottest trend. Once I heard the beat, I just unleashed that frustration. The hook defines me and what I’m about, which is a product of my era who was ‘built under the culture’s hand’… Some of my personal favorite tracks are “Never Fails”, “Dedication”, “I’m Trying”, and “let me love you” just to name a few.
MJ: Take this time to share with fans and listeners anything else they can expect from “B.U.T.C.H”
Maine: Aw man I want the fans to know I put so much thought, effort, and heart into this project. I want them to see how much I have grown as an artist, and that I will continue to push myself to be creative and not become stagnant. I’m also coming out with a solo EP produced by my catacombs team, an I.M.F EP is also in the works, a Mercy Gang album, Maine and Ty Soul EP, CBC 2, and a couple of other projects are in the works… I’m 42 I need to keep making music while I can because tomorrow is not promised. I want to give a special s/o and respect to the artists featured on the album including U.G, Suspect, Elz Sinatra, Ren Thomas, my B.O.B brothers Holla Da Scholar and Mercy, Will Sully, Paulie, Da Leadgeon, Lambo Lo, Ty soul, Amanda Rogan, Jay Preston, Dan Schultz, James Ebron, Vision, Bomber The Monsta, and DJ TMB. It was truly an honor to work with all these amazing artists.
Here’s a sneak peek into what’s to come. Watch the official video for “Live From The Catacomb” off the forthcoming “B.U.T.C.H” album.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Commands Huge $180M U.S. Opening, $330M Globally
The Marvel Studios sequel hunted down the biggest November launch of all time at the domestic box office. Elsewhere, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar contender ‘The Fabelmans’ opened to strong numbers in New York and Los Angeles.
The superhero sequel opened to a huge $180 million at the domestic box office to hunt down the biggest November opening of all time and the second-biggest launch of 2022 so far behind fellow Marvel Studios’ pic Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187.4 million). And it easily wrested the weekend crown from DC superhero pic Black Adam, now in its fourth weekend.
Overseas, the Marvel and Disney tentpole debuted to $150 million for a global start of $330 million (that’s as much as DC’s Black Adam earned in its first three weeks). Europe was strong overall, led by the U.K. ($15 million) and followed by France ($13.7 million). Among all markets, Mexico placed third with $12.8 million, followed by South Korea ($8.9 million) and Brazil ($7.1 million). Wakanda Forever also opened scored the highest opening in history In Nigeria, where the film’s African premiere was held.
While Wakanda Forever didn’t match the $202 million domestic debut of Coogler’s Black Panther in 2018, it is still doing formidable business and ranks No. 13 on the all-time list of domestic launches (releases from Disney and Marvel now account for all but one of the 13), according to Comscore. The sequel’s arrival on the marquee couldn’t have been more welcome after a tough fall for theater owners.
Heading into the weekend, Wakanda Forever was tracking to debut in the $175 million range. Until now, the biggest November opening belonged to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($158 million).
Black Panther 2, playing in 4,396 theaters domestically, earned $84 million on Friday alone, one of the biggest opening days of all time and all but tying with fellow Marvel Studios title Avengers: Age of Ultron for No. 9 on the list, not adjusted for inflation. Friday’s haul included $28 million in Thursday evening previews. (Friday was Veteran’s Day.)
Coogler’s film received an A CinemaScore from audiences and strong exits on PostTrak. One difference: the first Black Panther earned a coveted A+. It played to an ethnically diverse audience, led by Black moviegoers (34 percent) and followed by Caucasians (31 percent), Latinos (21 percent) and Asian/Other (14 percent), according to PostTrak. It also played more evenly gender-wise than most superhero films, with females making up 45 percent of the audience.
In 2018, Black Panther was the first Hollywood studio tentpole to feature a predominantly Black cast and transformed into a cultural phenomenon on its way to earning more than $1.34 billion at the worldwide box office.
The sequel endured tragedy when Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular role of T’Challa/Black Panther in the 2018 film, died of colon cancer in August 2020. Wakanda Forever’s cast includes Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Florence Kasumba and Martin Freeman, as well as Marvel newcomer Tenoch Huerta as Namor and Dominique Thorne as the hero Riri Williams.
Wakanda Forever opened less than 11 percent behind the 2018 film.
“It’s an outstanding result. The first film represented such a major cultural milestone that its performance would have been challenging to follow even under normal circumstances,” says box office analyst Shawn Robbins. “This performance from a sequel almost five years later speaks to the trust audiences have in Ryan Coogler, Marvel and the entire creative team to continue the story in a respectful way after Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing. It’s an opportunity for everyone to say goodbye to him together as the franchise moves forward with his legacy at the heart of it.”
Among superhero movies released in the pandemic era, Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home opened to $260.1 million in December 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness followed in May with $187.4 million, while Thor: Love and Thunder scored $144.2 million in July. In March 2022, DC and Warner Bros.’ The Batman flew to $134 million in its launch. More recently, DC’s Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson in his first live-action superhero role, opened to a more subdued $67 million domestically.
This weekend’s other high-profile opening is Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical tale and Oscar contender The Fabelmans, which is getting a slow platform release, much as a specialty film does, in order to build word of mouth.
The Universal and Amblin Entertainment movie, opening in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, scored a strong location average of $40,000, one of the best of the year behind Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Banshees of Inisherin. Fabelmans received an A CinemaScore and boasts a 95 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“With The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg has crafted one of his most personal stories yet, an incredible universal coming-of-age story that clearly resonated with audiences this weekend,” said Jim Orr, president of domestic theatrical distribution for Universal Pictures.
Back on the top 10 chart, Black Adam — as expected — took a big hit as Black Panther opened. The Dwayne Johnson pic placed second with $8.6 million for a domestic tally of $151.1 million. Overseas, it cleared the $200 million to finish Sunday with a worldwide total of $352.2 million.
Universal’s romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise continued to hold well, falling only 29 percent to $6.1 million for a domestic cume of $56.5 million and $150 million worldwide.
Sony’s family pic Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile fell just 5 percent to $3.2 million for a muted domestic tally of $40.8 million and $75.6 million worldwide.
Paramount’s blockbuster horror entry Smile rounded out the top five in North America with $2.3 million as it hit $210 million worldwide.
Among Oscar contenders, Banshees placed No. 7 with $1.7 million from 960 locations for a domestic total of $5.6 million.
MGM and UAR’s Till, coming in No. 9, saw its domestic total hit $8 million over the weekend.
Ye Unable to Sell ‘White Lives Matter’ Merch Due to Existing Trademark
Owned by Black radio hosts Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward of Civic Cipher.
They said they hoped that “best-case scenario”, the phrase would drop out of use over the coming months, although they feared it had “staying power”.
The trademark was filed on the day West wore a T-shirt at his surprise Paris Fashion Week show with an image of Pope John Paul II on the front and the phrase written on the back. The garment caused several members of the audience to walk out of the show and sparked widespread criticism around the globe. However, the initial purchaser of the trademark, a listener of the pair’s radio show who wishes to remain anonymous, transferred it to Ja and Ward’s company, Civic Cipher LLC, weeks later.
By purchasing the trademark, they hoped to prevent anyone from potentially profiting off the term, which has been categorised as a hate slogan by the Anti-Defamation League. The phrase has been used by white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The trademark prevents anyone from selling any garments or other items bearing the phrase, meaning West will not be able to release the item shown in Paris.
The incident, and several anti-Semitic comments made by West in interviews in the weeks afterwards, have led to several high-profile brands, including adidas and Balenciaga, cutting ties with the rapper.
Edurk Black Pablo And His Many Industry Hats Are Taking Over
CEO of Awol GCode Promotions Edurk Black Pablo is taking over the scene with his label and as an entrepreneur, rapper, singer, producer, and musician. Based out of Alabama, his label currently has four signed artists and is expanding nationally and internationally.
Pablo’s acclaimed career set off in 1996 as a member of Dayton Family signed to a major deal with Relativity Records. The charting single “F.B.I.” peaked on Billboard 200 at #45. He then went on to collaborate with industry mixers and Hip Hop legends including Master P. ‘Down South Hustlers’ and 36 Mafia’s ‘Chapter II- World Domination’ reigned as 2 Gold albums. Soon after Pablo toured with Insane Clown Posse for a 50-state tour.
“I’ve been to prison, lost everything I had, lost my parents within a week apart, lost my brother, and ongoing life’s struggles forces you to keep pushing on. That’s what I do and intend to continue doing.”
As a solo artist, Pablo released his latest single/video “Tear Me Down” which has been creating a global frenzy. The track featuring T.Rell and Ziggy Zig Zag ranks at #60 on Top Independent Charts and #161 on Top Global Charts. Not giving himself any time to breathe, Pablo is also in the studio with multiplatinum producer Faided Beatz cooking up some new music, set to begin a summer tour with Gucci Mane’s artist Enchanting, and in the works to film The Dayton Family documentary Dope Dayton Ave.” Stay tuned for a heated summer and connect with Edurk Black Pablo below. “Big things are coming. I’m blessed and keep letting God drive the car.”
Connect with Edurk Black Pablo
Facebook: Edurk Black Pablo
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