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Trapped In the Closet: Hiding In Hip-Hop (Part 1)

‘How We Do’ rapper The Game may not be mostly remembered for insightfulness and thought-provoking statements, but his sentiments on closeted homosexual rappers in the industry did cause a firestorm this week. Blazing the blog-o-sphere, discussions on Game’s ‘insight’ (or maybe just plain sight) had tongues wagging. Agree or disagree, his disposition doesn’t delve into the unknown – just the unspoken.

Traipse the political terrene and anyone not living under a rock has seen the last couple of years spawn unprecedented progress in gay rights period, let alone in the Pop musical landscape. Lady Gaga, Jessie J, Ricky Martin, and Adam Lambert are just a few of the openly bi or gay stars who are pushing an envelope (arguably) signed and sealed by Melissa Etheridge, George Michael, and Boy George before them. But while Pop is busy pushing an envelope, hip hop maybe busy hiding it, sweeping it under the taboo throw rug. For while the male-dominated industry has embraced ‘openly’ bisexual rapstress Nicki Minaj, that embrace may border more on fantasy than respect. This, of course, would open up the argument that women who openly flaunt alternative lifestyles are more easily accepted than men.

Regardless, in a land where hyper-masculinity is often used to denote (and sometimes disguise) one’s ‘true’ hip hop identity, those who do not succumb to the stereotype are often branded ‘gay’. There are few R&B male singers who are relevant that haven’t had the title accompany their name at one period of time. So, we’ve already asked you:

‘Will Hip Hop ever accept an openly gay/bi male rapper or singer”. And we, as ever, appreciated your feedback. But now, let’s twist it. That Grape Juice wants to know:

Why, when other genres are beginning to embrace being ‘out’, does Hip-Hop not?

‘Would you still support your favorite rapper/singer if he or she came out of the closet’?


Click here to WATCH Part 2 of Trapped In the Closet: Hiding In Hip-Hop
on That Grape Juice TV!

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The Results Are In. Rap’s Reigning Emperor Is…

You voted in your thousands, all in support of who you believed deserved the title of Rap’s Reigning Emperor.

In a list which included the likes of both The Game and Kanye West,  Rappers of both sexes were included to pay homage to the plethora of both male and female Rappers whose artisty has both shaped and influenced the way the world sees Rap/Hip Hop music to day.

Now, find out who YOU decided was most deserving of this title below…


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The King Of Rap Is…

With Lil Wayne‘s upcoming LP set to shift a mind blowing 850,000 units this week, Jay Z and Kanye West‘s ‘Watch The Throne‘ now one of the year’s fastest selling releases and The Game‘s ‘R.E.D. Nation‘ currently #1 on this weeks Billboard 200, it would appear  Hip Hop music is once again being warmly embraced by the masses.

Ever eager to discover what’s on your mind, we here at That Grape Juice HQ want to know…

Who do YOU feel is Rap’s Reigning Emperor?

Get voting below!


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There’s Something About Kreayshawn

Anybody who has found their way to YouTube in recent weeks would have found her impossible to miss.

Now a featured visual on the video sharing site, she has now generated a total of 61, 103 subscribers and a whopping 14 million views for her first video for the now viral hit ‘Gucci Gucci’.

Rising from the artistically rich San Francisco Bay, she has become one of the world’s fastest rising stars.

Armed with a   braggadociously ‘based’ sound and an almost uniform like Retro Hood-Glam swagger, her name and annoyingly  catchy sound have now become subject to polarized opinion.

Some love her, and others love her less but one thing all can agree on is the fact that she now become inescapable to anyone paying close attention to Pop Culture’s ever changing climate.

So exactly what is it about Kreayshawn that has everyone buzzing?


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Teairra Mari: Product vs. Promotion

Teairra Mari’s story went from fairy tale to forgotten tale in less than 12 months. Once upon a time heralded the ‘princess of the Roc’, 2005 saw Mari making her way onto the charts with ‘Make Her Feel Good’ – the thumping summer grown woman anthem. The then 17-year-old sang the commanding lyrics with a ‘Miss Thang’ conviction that would even make Monica proud. But even with all the promise and supposed support from then-mentor Jay-Z, Mari slowly found herself fading behind the chart success of wicked label-sister Rihanna. The latter, who was capitalizing off the then declining Caribbean craze sweeping the charts (see: Sean Paul, Elephant Man, etc), saw instant out-of-the-box success – interestingly with less visible support from shared mentor Jay-Z.

As both singer’s second singles from their debut albums failed to make much noise on charts, it seemed both were headed down the road to obscurity. That is, until 2006 saw a revamped Rihanna – more sex appeal, bigger budgets, stronger support. On the other hand, those who waited for a remixed Mari…waited.

…and waited. Mari finally reappeared in the late 2000s with the single ‘Hunt 4 U’, which failed to capture much attention the charts. Since then, Mari has become the mixtape queen; releasing song after song with no real response. Even when things appeared to look up after she scored high profile rapper assistance with singles ‘Cause a Scene’ (featuring Flo-rida) and ‘Sponsor’ (featuring Soulja Boy), Mari still failed to manage anything more than a briefly bated buzz.

Regardless of taste, one has to admit that all three singles from Mari’s unreleased sophomore album were quite commercially viable. Even in a musical landscape dominated by electro-Pop, the disregard of Mari’s music is surprising given the number of releases (visuals and audio) the singer has amassed over the last 2 years. However, this week Mari may have found her prince charming in label-head, producer Rico Love after word spread about the singer’s recent record label relocation to Love’s imprint ‘Division 1’ (Universal motown). Alas, we will all have to stay tuned to find out how that story ends.

So, That Grape Juice wants you to weigh in: Teairra Mari – Product vs. Promotion?

Is her product just not commercial enough for success (given the musical climate)? Or have Mari’s musical endeavors suffered marketing mishaps? Does she actually have a chance this go round?

Your thoughts?

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Lip Syncing: A Necessary Evil?

Some swear against it. Some swear by it and there isn’t a Music Award Show that goes by without viewers bringing it up.


‘The technical term for matching lip movements with sung or spoken vocals.’

Ever a hot topic on the lips of many a music enthusiast, we here at That Grape Juice HQ want to know….

Is Lip Synching a necessary evil?…

Read more below…


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TMI: Is Twitter Ruining The ‘Pop Star’?

Think back.  Before Youtube allowed you to ‘broadcast yourself’ and ‘friending’ or ‘following’ were household terms.  Even before Myspace and the endless kaleidoscope of social networking and social media outlets at our fingertips (blogs, social bookmarking) became the norm, the divide between the celebrity and the commoner was almost un-crossable.  Besides the occasional sweepstakes won and chance meeting on the street, the interaction between the celebrity and commoner was often left to professional encounters (paid public appearances, concerts, and the like).

However, with the advent and subsequent popularization of social networking, websites like (what was) Myspace and Facebook have helped blur that line, making celebrities all-the-more accessible to their adoring fans.  And time has shown that no outlet has better proven the beclouding of the barrier than Twitter.  Easily the most popular social networking site amongst celebs, the site is a testament to celebrity ‘outreach’, demoting celebs from their ‘demi-god’ statuses and, to great degree, humanizing them.  Giving glimpses into what once were mysterious private lives.

On a note separate from fan interactions, Twitter’s ability to give the un- or under- promoted artist a chance to take matters into his or her own hands, separate from record labels or official websites, has also proven itself to be a benefit.

But, every good thing comes with a price and it is no exception.

Twitter has shown us the good, bad, and ugly of many of our favorite celebrities.  Ask Rihanna, 50 Cent, Keri Hilson, Trina and other Urban pop stars and they’ll tell you the power of the almighty tweet – and the backlash it can ensue when an altercation arises or a joke goes too far.  And then there’s poster-child for Tweet-misuse, Chris Brown.   Rarely have two weeks gone by this year without having a negative headline and the keywords ‘Twitter’ or ‘tweet’ somewhere near his name.  From e-altercations with fans and other celebs alike, Brown has become the reigning representative of what happens ‘when tweets go wrong’.

So it begs the question:  While the benefits of marketing and PR are endless on the social media front, does Twitter cause the demystification of the “celebrity” – thereby making them unappealing?

In simpler terms, That Grape Juice wants to know…

T.M.I.(Too much information?): is Twitter ruining the Pop star?

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