Seasoned BK-based artist/CEO City The Great Talks with MJ about his new single “Day One”, upcoming album ‘The Wordsmith’, making history with Hip Hop legend Special Ed, and more. Listen to “Day One” and check out the full interview below.
MJ: Before we jump into “Day One” let everyone know who you are and where you’re from.
City the Great: Thanks for having me. I am City the Great from East NY, Brooklyn.
MJ: You’re an artist under Hip Hop legend Special Ed. How did that come to fruition? Are there any challenges regarding age and mindset? Or is this a step towards bridging the generational gap in Hip Hop?
City the Great: Actually, my homeboy is Ed’s 1st cousin and he told me for the longest that he would connect us. Of course, at the time I didn’t believe he was Ed’s cousin. One day he came to the studio with me and took the song I wrote and recorded that day and said he was going to play it for Ed while at Funkmaster Flex’s birthday bash at BB Kings in Manhattan. Long story short he did and gave me Ed’s number…he wanted to speak with me, and the rest is history. There are really no challenges in age and mindset in working with Ed. He’s been a great mentor and I have learned a lot about the game from him. He stays up to date on the business and the culture. He also has great faith in my grind and creations. I would say without a doubt, we are in the works of bridging the generational gap in Hip Hop.
MJ: Let’s get to “Day One” which is taken from your upcoming album ‘The Wordsmith.’ The track has a cinematic anthem vibe with a hook catchy enough for the clubs and streets. It’s evident you have a knack for drawing audiences in. Talk about “Day One” from the motivation behind it to your expectation of the track.
City The Great: The story about the creation of this one is an interesting one…I was sitting on this beat for a while by Molly The Kid. I was conversating with my Certified Nation Entertainment comrade Itsonlywrite just talking about all the people that we worked with and knew throughout this journey that were kind of in and out. We laughed about how funny it is that when things weren’t going upward, they split or didn’t support, and now that we are moving, they all want to claim they’re day ones. That sparked my mind on expressing that on wax. I think what really made the song pop was my engineer King Bash jumping in and harmonizing on the hook. My expectation for Day One is to appeal to all audiences giving them that commercial feel yet true to the cultural vibe.
MJ: What can you tell us about your upcoming album and what can listeners anticipate from it?
City The Great: People are going to get a rollercoaster ride. I have been working on this project for the past 2 years piece by piece to ensure I capture the best feel in my testimony of being a wordsmith. This project will be very balanced with the right number of features and it’s going to display something for everyone that will be nostalgic.
MJ: Besides having the backing, support, and genius of Special Ed, what is your signature move, if you will, that differentiates you from other artists in the industry?
City The Great: I think what differentiates me and other artists in the industry is the soul that I pour into my craft which identifies my true being…A person being themself is the perfect form of originality. There’s a certain energy I give listeners and audiences and I have my own sound where you know it’s me and that element is never lost no matter what type of song it is that I am on. Not only that but I keep that element alive with versatility, you just never know which angle I am going to come on a track but you will always know it’s me.
MJ: Aside from the new album release prep, what other endeavors are you working on?
City The Great: I am currently working on growing my company Certified Nation Entertainment, educating, and assisting artists with their careers. I’m also working on multiple collaborative projects including a mixtape coming soon with my DJ, DJ Bad Tha Problem (proceeding the album release). I am working on a Certified Nation Entertainment collab project with the team of artists Jae Law aka Hindrix, Pengame Classic, Chambs Taylor, Jacqui Grace, and of course Itsonlywrite. There’s also a collaborative project with Chambs Taylor titled ‘CD’ (Collateral Damage). You can catch freestyle videos I will be releasing weekly as well as working with my management team Samantha Leavell of Certified Nation and legendary Kool Rock Ski on an event, For The Culture By The Culture. I can’t leave out 2022’s Annual Hip Hop & R&B Cookout in East BK…The list goes on and on.
MJ: Wrapping up, let everyone know how they can connect with you.
City The Great: Thank you I can be found on any platform as City the Great but one of the easiest ways to link with me all in one place is on my website CertifiedNationEntertainment.com.
Connect with City The Great
‘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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