All posts by EurWebWriter


Sheri-Sher Discusses How First Female Rap Group Was Born (VIDEO)

215973_10200114426122429_1112792554_nHistory is a funny thing.   They say we need to study it or else we’re all doomed to repeat it.  It is in that vein that EURweb presents to you video of a conversation Ricardo A. Hazell of The Shadow League recently had with pioneering hip-hop artist turned author Sheri Abernathy, also known as Sheri-Sher of the Mercedes Ladies.

To many in the current generation, women in hip-hop only go back as far as Salt-N-Pepa.  Some are so young that they think Lauryn Hill was the Holy Mother of Rap.  But there were those that paved the way for them all but enjoyed none of the fruits of their labors.  We can go deeper into the 80s with Roxanne Shante and before her it was Lady Dee and even further back we find MC Sha-Rock.

The aforementioned Sha-Rock was rocking the parks of the City as a singular rhyme regular and as a member of the Funky Four Plus One, but the Mercedes Ladies have a place in history as the first all-female hip-hop group ever.

Sheri-Sher is a founding member.  She and Hazell spoke about her book Mercedes Ladies, which is based on real-life events but the names have been changed, as well as her own personal trials and tribulations prior to her career, the hard road traveled during it, and the unique insights that she has for other young ladies who are willing to pick up the cold baton that she and her band mates created history with through their own sweat and tears.

Recently she and her group members were inducted into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame at a ceremony that took place at Studio 48 in NYC.   Mercedes Ladies can be purchased at Amazon.

Check out the video as she drops words of wisdom regarding how it all got started back in 1976.

Hip Hop Hall

EUR on the Scene: ‘Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards’ at Studio 48 (VIDEO)

Hip Hop Hall

*On May 19 some of the biggest names in the history of hip-hop music were on hand at Stage 48 in New York City to attend the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards (HHHOF).”

Many of the nominees walked the red carpet and showed love to one another in truly familial fashion.  The event marked the return of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards after a long hiatus.

On hand for the festivities were Biz Markie, Marley Marl, The Mercedes Ladies and many other inductees and honorees such as Ralph McDaniel, who received a lifetime achievement award, and host Roxanne Shante.  Talib Kweli, Brand Nubian, Nine and DJ Hollywood each performed.

There was also a memorial performance for DJ E-Z Rock that featured his former group mate Rob Base and friends. During a recent interview with The Shadow League, “HHHOF” founder JT Thompson told reporters why the show was gone for so long and of his intentions for the future.

“We did our show that many are familiar with, it was in syndication and on BET. But after our show aired, Tupac was killed within the next four days,” says Thompson.  “That sent shockwaves throughout the whole country.  I went back to the community, along with Russell Simmons, to start initiatives to try to bring the hip hop community back together.  Consequently, we had a new deal on the table in 1997 and I got ready to announce it at the Soul Train Awards. Then you had the unfortunate incident that occurred with the Notorious B.I.G.  After what happened, there was no independently produced hip hop on television for the next four or five years.  We lost a lot of money from our initial investment. We tried to get a new deal with UPN, but The Source got that because they had a magazine.  So I told myself the next time we try to come back it’s not just going to be with the award show. We’re going to come back with the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum.”

Thompson also told reporters that he has raised most of the funds needed to open the permanent location for the Hip Hop Hall of Fame, which he says should open in Times Square, NY in fall of 2016.  Below is the complete list of inductees for the 2014 class as well as video of the red carpet.

Red Carpet Video Coverage:

Complete List of Inductees:






Radio DJ/Mix Show:

  •  MR. MAGIC

Graffiti Artist:

  • STAY HIGH 149








Lifetime Achievement Award:



will downing

Will Downing Returns With Smooth New Set: Euphoria Featuring ‘Turn Off The Lights’ (Listen)

will downing

*If you know nothing about vocalist Will Downing then you know nothing about R&B music. Downing’s been a staple of contemporary R&B and jazz for 25 years and his smooth vocal styling has been among the best in the game in that span as well.

In the past he has teamed up with greats such as Rachelle Farrell on “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This” (1994) and Gerald Albright on “Pleasure of the Night” (1998). Now, Downing speaks with EURweb’s Lee Bailey about his most recent offering and about creating grown and sexy music that all responsible listeners can get their groove on to.  The set of eight songs is appropriately titled Euphoria.

“I’m excited about this new project. It’s slightly different from what I’ve been doing over the years. It’s a little bit more musical. I think I’ve injected a little bit more of the jazz element into it. Quite a bit of it was live in studio,” said Downing. “I’m really proud of it. I’ve taken seven songs. Most of which the average fan wouldn’t know.”

Following a trend that many contemporary R&B greats such as Babyface have taken in recent years, Downing’s new album is comprised mostly of remakes. However, there’s nothing rehashed about these selections. Reimagined would be a better term.

“I’ve done a song by an artist name Ray LaMontagne It’s a song called ‘You Can Bring Me Flowers.’ I heard it one day, I was listening to the radio in L.A. The song came on and basically he ripped off the song All Blues. It’s got this great little hook to it. So I said ‘Well, I’m going to take it back’. So, I did an interpretation of this song ‘You Bring Me Flowers’,” said Downing. “I took that song and ‘Will Downing-ized it’ and I also did one by Lou Rawls. No one seemed to have heard this song. It’s a song called ‘If I Was a Magician.’ This song I heard at jazz station WBGL in New Jersey. It’s a fantastic song by Lou Rawls that I thought I could do something with.”

will downing - euphoria album cover

Recreating a song by Grammy Award-winning artist Ray LaMontagne, is only the tip of a very deep creative iceberg for Will.

“I did Teddy Pendergrass ‘Turn Out the Lights’, I do Stevie Wonder’s ‘Too High,’ Hall and Oates ‘She’s Gone’ and also I did one song in Portuguese, which I had never done. There’s eight songs altogether. Seven remakes and one original. The original is a song called ‘Heaven in Your Eyes’. It’s written by myself and a gentleman named Chris “Big Dog” Davis,” he continued. “I listen to a lot of radio and sometimes I just hear songs and they just hit me. If I sing it to myself for the majority of the day then I’m rearranging it in my mind and I’m hearing myself do it.  I feel like I can bring something new to the song. It’s not that I’m trying to beat them, it’s just my interpretation of the song.  When I hear something and it sticks with me I go with it.  The way I’m hearing it in my mind tells me who I’m going to call to work with.”

will downing

Throughout his illustrious career, Downing’s voice has been compared to that of the late crooner Luther Vandross. Will told EURweb that, while he does agree there are some similarities between the two, they are superficial at best.

“That’s been there for many years. I was a fan and I was a student. I think you’re always going to hear that. You’re always going to hear those sensibilities.  The people that I work with sometimes say ‘Hey man. Why don’t we do it like this? You know, like Luther would do?’ So, automatically, the music starts to take those twists and turns.  I have my own sound at this point.  The similarities tend to stop at slight vocal inflections and slight tone inflections.  Musically, he went more or less R&B pop. Me, I’m R&B and some form of jazz. That’s where the fork in the road kind of splits the two of us.”

Chances are, many reading this piece haven’t heard Will Downing on the radio recently. However, that absence from the airwaves isn’t because of a lack of quality, but of the politics inherent to being a veteran in the game.

“This is project number 17 and I have been doing the same thing, the same way for 25 years. People always say ‘Well, I don’t know whether to put you on this category or that category’ and that’s cool in one regard, but I think radio was starting to get to the point where they were saying ‘Well, we’re not going to play your type of R&B because that age demo is fading away.’ So, I can’t go backwards and chase what these kids are doing out there.  That’s not going to help. So, I said ‘Let’s just do a straight up adult record and make it musical. You know, do what we really enjoy doing.”

You can click on the link below to get a taste of a grown and sexy sound that is 25 years in the making. And, oh yes, Will Downing’s latest and greatest, Euphoria, will be will available for purchase at your favorite music store or online retailer (Amazon, iTunes, eBay and others) tomorrow, Tuesday, March 25.

kelly clarkson & will i am

EUR On The Scene: A Question of Homogeny and the American Music Awards (Watch)

Singer Kelly Clarkson and rapper

Singer Kelly Clarkson and rapper

A while back I was invited down to B.B. King’s in Time Square to cover the American Music Awards annual press conference held to announce the nominees.

The announcements were made by Kelly Clarkson, and Lance Bass. As I scanned the list I was immediately struck by the fact that this year’s rendition has two of the three noms for Favorite Album, Soul/R&B were taken by Caucasian Americans, Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake.

It struck me as odd for a myriad of reasons-the primary reason being this may have been the first time that ever occurred.  The duo can also be found in the Pop/Rock category as well.  I also noticed Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were  nominated for their album “The Heist.” Producer Larry Klein as well as Lance Bass-who will be broadcasting live from the carpet this year-and performer were gracious enough to field my question as to what these noms have to say about cultural homegeny in modern music.

As you would expect, there were three different viewpoints. Spoiler alert: completely jumps the proverbial shark on this question. Totally danced around it. Perhaps he thought it was a “Gotcha” question?

Watch the video below.

Watch the American Music Awards, hosted by Pitbull, Sunday (Nov. 24) at 8|7c on ABC

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

10 NBA Players With Next-Level Talent

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

*Scouting and evaluating NBA talent is a very difficult challenge to be certain, but it is one that many analysts, prognosticators and bloggers relish around this time of year.

We all know the players that are top shelf as far as the NBA brand is concerned, but every season there are a group of young players who sit just on the outside of NBA notoriety.

For now they are on the outside, peeking longingly through the portal of respectability. But a season will come in which their names will reign over the Sportcenter, Youtube and social media airwaves as one of the very best.

For some, that newfound fame will last for the rest of their careers, while others will only be flashes in the pan-fading from the All-Star limelight all too soon. For the 10 players on this list, I predict that day of recognition will be in the upcoming year. All posses tremendous talent and upside. Each is either a young player who may have differed to veterans in the past, or who was late acclimating themselves to the league. They each have the requisite talent to be among the league’s elite at their respective positions but have only scratched the surface of their potential.

With the new season comes the possibility for a shuffle of the deck of possibilities. I am not saying that every player on this list is of the same caliber, but they are all on the verge of taking their games to a level beyond what they are universally known to play. I must also acknowledge that there are far more than 10 of these types of players in the National Basketball Association. These are the ones that I believe will be the most successful this season.


Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance Sports Writer for RantSports based in New York City. You may follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.

ricardo hazell

Ricardo Hazell

Director Eric Branco, actor Stephen Hill

EUR on the Scene: Ocktober Music and Film Festival

Star Davis of UCAN magazine, Emelyn Stuart of Stuart Films

Star Davis of UCAN magazine, Emelyn Stuart of Stuart Films

Saturday October 18th marked the closing of the 5th Annual Ocktober Music and Film Festival in New York City.

This year marked the first time the film component was added to the festival and it did not disappointed as many works from the most talented and as-yet unexposed creators in America were exposed to the masses at Harlem MIST Studios.

Crafted with the help of Emelyn Stuart of Stuart Films and  Celebrity A&R Anthony Jones, the Ocktober Music and Film Festival was a resounding hit as dignitaries like Dr. Ben Chavis, DJ Kool Herc and club music icon Colonel Abrams were all on hand to enjoy the quality content of some of the best and brightest creators of media you may never have heard of yet but whose notoriety is most certainly on the rise.  Mr. Jones also stepped in as master of ceremonies during the closing night festivities as some of the hottest new names in music showed their wares to music and film executives alike. The evening featured a Q&A panel featuring A&Rs and music industry executives Kalvin Stevens, J Hatch, Michline Medina, Lance Pope, Donavan McLeod, Lady Life and rapper/label owner Mikey Jay.

Ocktober Music and Film Festival award winners were: “Full Circle” for Best Feature Film, “A Saturday is a Terrible Thing to Waste” for Best Short Film, “For Colored Boys” won for Best Web Series. Best Music Video went to “New Coons” featuring Ohene Cornelius. The Audience Award went to “Stay Cold, Stay Hungry”.

Director Stacey Muhammad accepts award for Best Web Series

Director Stacey Muhammad accepts award for Best Web Series

I had the chance to speak with actor Stephen Hill and director Eric Branco regarding the creative process surrounding this award-winning offering.

“The premise behind it is two lost souls collide,” said Hill.  “It’s about two down and out people who get together and meet. It’s really about their relationship,” added Branco.

“They need each other from an emotional standpoint. They just need somebody who is going to be there for them.  It’s something we have been working on for a while and I’m glad we have finally gotten it together and it’s finally done and we’re able to show it. We’re getting positive reactions,” he continued.

“We’ve seen it on a bigger screen several times now,” said Stephen Hill. “Just three weeks ago we won Best Feature Award at the Coney Island Film Festival.  It was good to screen at MIST. Number one, because it’s in Harlem. It’s right around the corner from my house. It’s really nice to screen something in your neighborhood.  Their facilities were beautiful as well.  This particular film? Just for the record, a lot of people slept on us. So, we’re extremely grateful to the Ocktober Music and Film Festival for giving us the opportunity to screen right in my neighborhood.”

Director Eric Branco, actor Stephen Hill

Director Eric Branco, actor Stephen Hill

“Stay Cold, Stay Hungry” is still making rounds and is slated to show in other film festivals. I was unable to get any definitive word as to when this offering will be released nationally.

In addition, Thomas K. Phillips’ debut offering “The North Star”, which was the opening night offering, is based on the true story of Big Ben Jones and Moses Hopkins-two runaway slaves who escaped a Virginia plantation and made their way to Buckingham, Pennsylvania. It is not a typical slavery film in that, while the horrors of slavery cannot be sugar-coated, this film displays the fighting spirit of escaped Africans, as well as the lengths to which abolitionists of the day were willing to go to undermine the institution of slavery.

A full review on that film is come in the near future. If you missed it this year you may wish to keep the Ocktober Music and Film Festival in mind for your autumn entertainment slate next year.