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By MESFIN FEKADU

NEW YORK (AP) — After SZA created the drums-drenched, reggae-tinged song “Consideration,” she thought she had finally found the sound of her debut album. But there was one problem: Rihanna heard the song and wanted it.

“And I’m just like, ‘It has a video. I shot a video already to it. It’s coming out on Wednesday. That was going to be the first song to prep the album,’” SZA recalled in a recent interview.

Rihanna kept SZA as a featured artist on the track, which opens her critically acclaimed “Anti” album, released last year. And while SZA said recording with the pop star “was a learning experience, it was just dope” — as for her own project? She felt lost. She cried like a baby. She was devastated. She had never given away something she cared so much about.

“I was crying (and thinking), ‘I’ll never make anything better,’” said SZA, now 28. “And Kendrick (Lamar) was like, ‘Well, this is what separates great people. Because great people make better things than that.’”

SZA proved herself to be great — and also proved her earlier prediction wrong.

The songs that make up “Ctrl,” her major-label debut released in June nominated for five Grammy Awards, have resonated with fans around the world, making SZA both a critical darling and a commercial success. The album is at the forefront of the alternative R&B movement, with SZA earning praise for her vocal delivery and direct lyrics that both female and male fans vibe to.

“My favorite game to play at her shows is finding the tough guy, the straight dude who doesn’t want to show no emotion, and as soon as his song comes on, he loses his mind,” said Terrence “Punch” Henderson, the co-president of independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment, home to SZA and Lamar.

“She’s the voice of this generation right now,” he added. “The words she’s saying is honest and raw (and) she’s speaking for these girls and also these guys.”

SZA

On some of her songs, SZA fires off her lyrics more like a rapper than a singer — switching topics quickly as she talks about having sex, failed relationships, persevering in life and if being herself is enough.

“I’m so ashamed of myself think I need therapy,” she even sings on “Normal Girl.”

The hit “The Weekend” is about sharing a boyfriend and SZA wonders if her body type is enough for her lover on “Garden (Say It Like Dat).” She asks for “another Valium” on “Love Galore,” where she also sings, “Why you bother me when you know you got a woman?” Smoking weed is peppered throughout the album — and on this particular day, a week after Grammy nominations, joy was in the air, along with the smell of marijuana.

“Ctrl,” which has achieved gold status, has launched two platinum singles with “Love Galore” and “The Weekend.” The project was named the No. 1 album of the year by several critics, including Time, Vice, New York Daily News and The Associated Press; it was ranked No. 2 by the New York Times, NPR, Pitchfork and Billboard.

The success makes SZA the belle of the Grammys — she’s the most nominated female act.

“You know what’s crazy? I feel like you’re never as good as people say you are. And you’re never as bad as people say you are. So, it’s like, you just gotta take it like with a grain of salt. Like, it’s an experience. A responsibility more so. I think it’s like a knock on the head. Like, you have a responsibility, you have a purpose, so it’s like, uh, get to work and focus,” she said.

SZA’s nominations include best new artist and best urban contemporary album for “Ctrl.” Three of her songs also earned nominations — the Travis Scott-assisted “Love Galore” (best rap/sung performance); the fan-favorite “The Weekend” (best R&B performance); and album opener “Supermodel” (best R&B song).

 

But music didn’t almost happen for SZA, born Solana Rowe in St. Louis but raised in New Jersey.

“I had no idea. I just really wanted to be a scientist or just, like, do something like a gymnast. …Then I wanted to be in fashion marketing. I really wanted an office, badly. Needed an office. Needed a corner. Needed, like, the wood grain. Needed the good view. Needed the long lunch. Like, I needed all that,” she said. “I just wanted to wear power suits. And like, you know, hair slick, skin immaculate. Like, you know, you always crave what’s the hardest for you to attain.”

“So the music thing I just stumbled on, that was not my plan at all,” she added. “I fought this hard. Like, I fought this whole process so hard. I’m even fighting it now. …But it’s getting easier … I’m accepting. I’m accepting where I am. And this is true direction.”

Punch first met the big-haired SZA in 2011 at a Lamar show in New York. SZA was helping sell merchandise but they didn’t have his size. When she arrived in the lobby of Punch’s hotel to bring him clothes, he overheard the music blasting out of headphones of SZA’s friend.

It was SZA’s song.

“SZA got all embarrassed. She wasn’t going to say anything about singing,” said Punch, who co-wrote four songs on “Ctrl” and is nominated alongside the singer for best R&B song. “I heard her voice and her voice was so distinctive, and then I heard what she was actually saying. I’m like, ‘Yo, she is like a lyricist.’”

That song was one of the first SZA recorded. They kept in touch, she let him listen to more songs and he would give her advice. After two years, she asked Punch to manage her.

“We really talked about it seriously and here we are,” he said.

SZA, who recently won two Soul Train Awards and is nominated for four NAACP Image Awards, is now looking ahead to the Grammys. She plans on bringing her grandmother to the event, to be held in New York City on January 28.

“She’s getting her outfit ready,” SZA said of her grandmother, who lives in St. Louis and is heard giving feisty advice and words of encouragement to SZA, along with the singer’s mother, throughout the “Ctrl” album.

“She’s 90, and this is the one time that the Grammys is near my hometown,” she said. “I’m thankful.”

_____

Online:

https://szactrl.com/

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. smusic

    December 27, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    nice article tanks….

  2. smusic

    December 27, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    tanks for post … very nice

  3. Laquanda

    January 4, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for another great article. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

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The “KILLER” Cave Gentleman’s club ordered to SHUT-DOWN

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I said I wasn’t gonna tell anybody but I just couldn’t keep it to myself!!!

Drug DEALERS AND KILLERS STRIKE YET AGAIN!!!!

One man’s family is receiving some justice tonight after he was gunned down and killed at a local violent club in Jacksonville, The Cave Gentleman’s Club. It happened on December 22, 2017, when 39-year-old Tyrone Lamont Baileywas killed outside of the Cave club. Police say 32-year-old,Jyree Dominic Noel is responsible for Bailey’s death. Jacksonville Police say at approximately 1:57 AM early Friday morning, Dec. 22, the Jacksonville Police Department responded to a report of shots fired at the Cave located at 531 Richlands Highway. When police officers arrived, Bailey was found suffering from a gunshot wound.

News In Onslow learned earlier today, that the Cave Gentleman’s club has been ordered to shut-down by the city of Jacksonville. Insiders say that the Cave has become a danger and a threat to nearby businesses. We’ve learned that the club has been given until January 19, 2018, to close its doors for good. A couple of weeks ago, the “killer” club liquor licenses were suspended by the North Carolina ABC Commission. The suspension came after statements from witnesses and Jacksonville Police investigation following a deadly shooting at the club on December 22, 2017. Police records show the club has a violent history since spring of 2016,

The struggling owner Amy Sylvain immediately went to social media after the suspension to apologize to Bailey’s family.

The former Cave Gentleman’s Club owner, Amy Sylvain

Insiders say the altercation between Bailey and Noel allegedly started inside the club. A local DJ who was reportedly fired from 101.9 Kiss FM, Eric Blackwell also vented on social media about the shooting saying the club had no responsibility for the shooting and business there must continue.

Now, that same DJ, “DJ Blaq” is being accused of the violent club’s history since Spring of 2016, according to one employee.

Erick Blackwell known as “DJ Blaq”

Sylvain confirmed the club’s closing on social media Thursday night. “This Saturday 1/13/18 I invite everyone to come out to our farewell party,” she said in a Facebook post.

Sylvain also posted in a comment referencing the city of Jacksonville and the A.L.E. as “they,” saying she is a danger for the triangle business.

The power couple, Amy Sylvain and Eric Blackwell will no longer be business partners at the Cave. “DJ Blaq” has already announced his new venue but it is unknown if he will be dragging Sylvain with him after his career ended hers.

Amy, why did you let these people do this to your club? So smart but so stupid! Your money, mind, and emotions are in our prayers.

DJ Blaq, why did you take this woman club down? How do you have more security to protect you but not the customers? Sad!

We will keep you updated on this developing shut-down!

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Cave Gentleman’s club “skripper” arrested and charged in homicide investigation

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Everything is going down including SKRIPPERS at the Cave Gentleman’s club!

A Cave Gentleman’s club “skripper” has been charged with intimidating witnesses in a deadly December shooting.

The transexual Naomi Ruth Jasper, 22, of Onslow Drive in Jacksonville was arrested by Jacksonville Police Department on Jan. 9 and charged with common law obstruction of justice and resisting a public officer.

Police say Jasper intimidated witnesses and potential witnesses before police arrived on the scene of a homicide December 22, 2017. After police arrived, Jasper allegedly provided false and misleading information to investigating officers during their investigation.

The night of December 22, 2017, is when Tyrone Lamont Bailey was killed and that’s when police say Jasper allegedly committed the crime.

Jyree Dominic Noel, 32, is the man that is charged with killing Bailey. He was arrested on December 22, 2017, and charged with an open count of murder; first-degree kidnapping; felony malicious conduct by prisoner; resisting a public officer; assault on a government official or employee; altering, stealing or destroying criminal evidence; felony possession of marijuana; and two counts of felony trafficking cocaine.

Jasper’s first court appearance was scheduled for today. She appeared before District Court Judge James Moore where she was then assigned Steven Laird as her court-appointed attorney. Jasper’s next court date is scheduled for Jan 31.

Jasper bonded out of the Onslow County Jail hours after her arrest Tuesday on a $10,000 bond. The relationship Jasper have with Noel is unknown.

Jacksonville Police said they are unable to release additional information regarding this ongoing and open investigations. Detectives are actively following up on any and all leads in the case.

Here are Jasper’s arrest warrant:

Jasper is an employee at the Cave Gentleman’s club but the status of her employment is unknown at this time.

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BREAKING NEWS: The Cave Strip Club Alcohol license SUSPENDED, violent crimes since 2016!!

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DRUG DEALERS AND KILLERS STRIKE YETTTTT AGAIN!!!

One local DJ will have to find another source of income to “feed his family” after the North Carolina ABC Commission suspended the permits of the Cave Gentlemen Club in Jacksonville Friday.

The suspension came after statements from witnesses and Jacksonville Police investigation following a deadly shooting at the club on December 22, 2017.

The Cave Gentlemen Club has a history of violent activity since spring of 2016, according to police.

There have been reports of shots fired, fights, gambling, and drugs at the club. The business has been permitted since 2001 but the lack of security and rules from the club because of the violent history and recent shooting, the permits were pulled IMMEDIATELY.

The owner of the Cave Gentlemen Club Amy Sylvain said in a Facebook post-Friday, “I apoigize to the family of Mr Bailey and the situation that has happened there wasn’t an altercation in the bar to give us any sign of anything bad was going to happen we are trying really hard to get to the root of the situation Mrs. Stafford.”

After the night of the deadly shooting of Tyrone BaileyDecember 22, 2017, Sylvain did not address the shooting, yet waited until her permits pulled from the State of North Carolina Friday to care for Bailey and his family.

“We appreciate our partnership with the ABC Commission and the state’s Alcohol Law Enforcement,” Jacksonville Police Chief, Mike Yaniero said. “The Jacksonville Police Department is committed to working with our partners to prevent violence,” he continued.

Eric Blackwell known as “Dj Blaq” is the club’s promoter. He also took to Facebook to vent about the suspended permits although his “money” allegedly doesn’t come from the bar.

“Couple things…
First thing, theres no liquor at the Afterparty anyway so that’s definitely still happenin saturday and on New years. Second thing, things WILL be handled. Mark my words. Third thing, I wonder why the news doesnt make a story when a club OPENS the same way they do when somethin bad happens. Fourth thing, odd that they waited til midafternoon on friday of NYE weekend to do that sht. Certainly a hell of a coincidence huh. Fifth and final thing. Im so shocked to see so many people share that bad news so damn fast and aint never shared not one flyer. smh. thats Ms Amy BUSINESS man. thats how she feed her family and people was sooooooo excited to spread that. Im not worried about me. I got several sources of income besides this club stuff but this all she got. How do you CELEBRATE that? smh. People never cease to amaze me.”

After the December 22, 2017 shooting at the Cave Gentlemen Club, “DJ Blaq” made it known that what happened wasn’t none of “their” business and that “On the other hand, business has to continue and familes need to be fed so with the utmost humility and respect I am going to say that we are open tonight and Red Nixon party is still on for tonight,” he said in a Facebook post December 22 afternoon.

News In Onslow published a poll asking the community if they think “The Cave Strip Club should be shut-down” and 54% said “YES” and 46% said “NO.”

It looks like Amy Sylvain and her family will be pulling a chair up to “DJ Blaq’s”  and his family table to “eat” since she will no longer be making a living off the club’s bar.

Friday, the suspension became immediate and remains in effect until the Office of Administrative Hearings hears the case.

The action is authorized under N.C. General Statute 150B-3(c), which states: “The proceedings shall be promptly commenced and determined.”

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