Swizz Beatz to Produce Amazon Studios’ Verzuz-Inspired Documentary Film “Gifted & Black”

Swizz Beatz is celebrating the gifted and talented…

The 43-year-old half-Puerto Rican recording artist, music producer and entrepreneur is set to produce Amazon Studios’ feature-length documentary Gifted & Black for Prime Video.

Swizz BeatzThe project, which hails from Amazon Studios, Hillman Grad Productions and Good Trouble Studios, will be directed by James Adolphus.

Lena Waithe will produce under her Hillman Grad Productions alongside Swizz Beatz and Timbaland.

Inspired by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s music phenomenon VerzuzGifted & Black explores the traditions of Black music to connect, going from the plantation to the Pulitzer Prize. Set against the backdrop of the pandemic and the recent racial reckoning, Gifted & Black frames those traditions in the context of the collective resiliency fundamental to the Black experience.

While tracking the exponential growth of Swizz and Timabland’s Triller-owned Verzuz music enterprise from its onset, the documentary interweaves the roots of Black music, embedding in Black communities and with Black musical artists, through poignant interviews, gripping vérité and magnetic archival footage, offering insights into how Black music continues to be an uplifting and uniting salvation that endures through uncertain times.

“I’m grateful to Swizz and Tim for trusting us with something so historic,” said Waithe on behalf of Hillman Grad Productions. “Verzuz is more than just two artists going song-for-song. It’s a testament to the power of Black people. It’s the joyful celebration of legacy that we all needed. With this documentary, we’re excited to take audiences behind the scenes of this global phenomenon, while also paying tribute to the artists that shaped us. We could not be more grateful to Amazon for seeing the vision, and this film wouldn’t be possible without our amazing filmmakers, James Adolphus and Ben Selkow. They have flown to every city, interviewed every artist, and continue to capture history as it happens. We can’t wait for the world to see how this whole thing comes together.”

“When we first started this mission the entire world had hit rock bottom. People were going through so much and Tim and I felt we should do something to help folks escape,” Swizz Beatz added, “The rest is history, we made the magical call to Hillman Grad because we only wanted people to see the best of the best.”

“Swizz and I are excited to show the world everything that took place behind scenes during the process, while celebrating the artists that helped us build Verzuz,” said Timbaland. “Thank you to our entire team, Hillman Grad, James Adolphus, Ben Selkow, Amazon, Triller, and everyone involved. Verzuz came from our love of culture and our love of music and the fact that it has become the force it is today is way beyond anything Swizz or I could’ve imagined.”

“The launch of Verzuz reminded us of the multigenerational excitement for music ‘battles,’ which gave us the escape we all craved in 2020,” said Matt Newman, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios. “We are thrilled to work with Hillman Grad, Good Trouble, Swizz Beatz, and Timbaland to give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the building of the Verzuz franchise.”

Cardi B Launches Line of Vodka-Infused Whipped Cream, “Whipshots”

Cardi B is officially whipping up a new business venture…

The 29-year-old half-Dominican American rap superstar has launched Whipshots, her line of vodka-infused whipped cream.

Whipshots by Cardi B Whipshots by Cardi and Starco brands are available on Whipshots.com in 500-can-per-day Whip Drops, and the three launch flavors — vanilla, caramel and mocha — have been selling out in under four minutes daily since December 1.

“I’m not really a hardcore liquor-drinking person. And I like things that are sexy and tasty. It’s going to be a party in every can,” Cardi B tells Billboard.

On December 4, Cardi B debuted Whipshots with a sweets-themed party at Pharrell and David Grutman’s The Goodtime Hotel in Miami.

Parading into the party with an entourage of music heavyweights including Offset, Mary J. Bilge and Timbaland, record producer Tainy, actor Winston Duke and football player Dale Moss, she popped a few cans, removing the plastic wrap with her teeth and shot the cream into the mouths of party guests. It was served in cones, cocktails and on desserts throughout the event, with chief mixology officer and Las Vegas bartender Rob Floyd putting some flair in the cocktail making.

The Whipshots suggested application is to “enjoy on cocktails, desserts, lovers or solo as a shot.” But Cardi says her current favorite way is on eggnog — just in time for the holidays.

“This is eggnog right here,” Cardi says. “The vanilla one I’ve been eating for a week. We are going to have different flavors next year.”

Starco Brands CEO Ross Sklar says that Cardi was the perfect partner for Whipshots because her fun, playful personality perfectly matches the ethos of the product. Sklar believes they have created the perfect trifecta: highly appealing flavors, plus creative direction and celebrity/influencer strategy.

“We commercialize products and technologies that are meant to be behavior changing,” he says.

And while other companies have tried to release similar products over the years, what makes this one unique is it 10 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), does not require refrigeration and is non-dairy, made of oat milk and coconut milk, different sugars, flavorings and distilled vodka. Sklar says it is ideal for espresso martinis, or with vodka and soda water, spray on a dollop and mix it in to give a creamy texture. It even works with rum and coke.

“We look at all the sectors that we play in spirits, and food was really lacking innovation,” Sklar says. “We saw this tried in like 2005 and it didn’t work because the product life had issues. From a technology standpoint, and from a formulary vantage point, it’s very hard because the alcohol depresses the foam. You really have to balance it until you find a sort of utopia. And then dialing in packaging, the back end and the automation and supply. It’s a huge enigma to solve. We’ve been working on it for just over four years. It’s an innovation in the celebratory category.”

And then, just add Cardi.

“You’ve got to find somebody that has a personality that is transparent, super fun, super playful. Someone who doesn’t mind being flirty, but above all, is herself. The product delivers and the personality delivers … That authenticity delivers credibility,” Sklar says.

Outside of the daily Whip Drops, Whipshots will hit stores early next year and is priced at $5.99 for 50 mL, $13.99 for 200 mL and $19.99 for 375 mL bottles, respectively.

Bad Bunny Named One of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of 2021 (TIME100)

Bad Bunny is having the TIME of his life…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican superstar has been named one of the Most Influential People of 2021 by TIME.

Bad Bunny

This week, the magazine revealed its annual TIME100, featuring “extraordinary leaders from around the world working to build a better future, from entertainers striving to make Hollywood more inclusive to activists fighting for sustainability and human rights. … They are disrupters, fixers, doers, iconoclasts, problem solvers — people who in a year of crisis have leaped into the fray,” said Edward FelsenthalTIME CEO and editor in chief, in a press statement.

J Balvin was selected as the guest contributor to write about Bad Bunny. The two global reggaeton stars were introduced to each other in 2016 by DJ Luian at one of Balvin’s concerts in Puerto Rico. The rest, as they say, is history.

“When I saw him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s another weirdo like me. I’m not the only one now.’ We immediately went to the studio and cut a song, ‘Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola.’ It blew up,” Balvin wrote in his essay. “He’s a phenomenon when it comes to music, but it didn’t happen overnight; he was working at the supermarket back then, and had to struggle too. We’ve since worked together on an album, Oasis, and the Super Bowl halftime show.”

The Colombian artist describes Bad Bunny’s career evolving from a “little monster” to “Godzilla,” who has reached superstar status and has connected with fans through his “amazing lyrics,” creation of his brand, advocacy for self-expression, and freedom.

“He’s an artist, period. A true artist,” he wrote. “Now he’s at his peak, taking Latin culture to another level. The records he’s broken are amazing. He’s different. Special. People wait for someone to die to say, ‘Oh, he was a legend.’ But I’m telling Benito now: You are one of the greatest artists in Latin music history.”

But Bad Bunny isn’t the only Latinx person to make this year’s list.

Olimpia CoralMelo Cruz, a women’s-rights activist from the Mexican city of Puebla, is a survivor of revenge porn—sexual content that is shared without the consent of those featured within it. She turned her experience into action, and in April 2021, Mexico passed Olimpia’sLaw, federally prohibiting the sharing of such content without the subject’s permission.

Swizz Beatz and fellow hip-hop icon Timbaland have been named for creating the hip-hop phenomenon and game-changing hip-hop battle series, Verzuz.

In a business world still dominated by men, a Brazilian woman, Luiza Trajano, has managed to make Magazine Luiza a massive success. She is the only Brazilian to appear on this year’s list.

Elisa Loncón Antileo is a Mapuche linguist and indigenous rights activist in Chile. In 2021, Loncón was elected as one of the representatives of the Mapuche people for the Chilean Constitutional Convention. Following in the inauguration of the body, Loncón was elected President of the Constitutional Convention.

A staunch believer in the science of climate change, GM CEO Mary Barra spearheaded General Motors’ (GM) commitment to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

In a sea of despair, a Cuban doctor is a ray of hope. Dairon Elisondo Rojas, who is seeking asylum in the US, provides lifesaving care to fellow migrants in the Matamoros makeshift camp.

The knowledge possessed by Mónica Ramírez‘s giant heart is just what makes her the breath of fresh air needed in a civil rights attorney. Her work through organizations like Justice for Migrant Women is only a fraction of proof of how hard she fights for the migrant worker.

Swizz Beatz to Receive ASCAP Voice of the Culture Award

Swizz Beatz is a voice of the future

The 42-year-old half Puerto Rican recording artist, music producer and entrepreneur will receive the ASCAP Voice of the Culture award alongside Timbaland and D-Nice to kick off the 2021 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on June 22.

Swizz Beatz

Following the presentation, the music creators will take part in a 2021 ASCAP Experience conversation, “Voices of the Culture: How Swizz Beatz, Timbaland & D-Nice United the World Through Music,” at 12:00 pm ET/ 9:00 am PT.

The virtual conversation will explore how Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s virtual music battle series Verzuz and D-Nice’s Club Quarantine became tools for uplift within the Black music community and touchstones of empowerment during the pandemic.

To join the conversation, participants can RSVP at www.ascapexperience.com/schedule. They can also submit a question for the three creators before June 10.

Verzuz has featured such epic matchups as Gladys Knight vs. Patti LaBelle, Erykah Badu vs. Jill Scott, Earth, Wind & Fire vs. The Isley Brothers, and Snoop Dogg vs. DMX.

Club Quarantine attracted a virtual community of millions to Instagram Live for sets of funk, disco, hip-hop and R&B.

In addition to launching these popular events, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland and D-Nice are accomplished music creators in their own right.

Grammy-winning songwriter-producer Swizz Beatz has been in the music and business worlds since he was 16. He began DJing and working at his uncle’s company, Ruff Ryders Entertainment, while still in high school. Within a short time, Swizz produced the company’s first hit, by DMX. More success followed as a producer and artist. As a producer, Swizz has worked with a diverse array of artists, including Jay-Z, Madonna, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Metallica.

The 2021 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards is a virtual celebration that takes place on social media from June 22-24. The event recognizes songwriters, composers and publishers behind the most performed R&B/hip-hop, rap and gospel songs of the past year. Friends and fans can join the online festivities as ASCAP shares photos, videos, acceptance speeches and more from some of its top songwriters and publishers, posted with the hashtag #ASCAPAwards to @ASCAPUrban on Instagram and @ASCAP on Twitter and Instagram.

The ASCAP Experience takes place twice a month on Wednesdays through the end of 2021. Songwriters, composers and music business professionals can join the ASCAP Experience community for access to conversations with songwriters and producers from across the musical spectrum, plus panels with top industry executives, song feedback, networking opportunities and more. The virtual sessions are free to attend and take place on a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Instagram and on the ASCAP Experience website.

Swizz Beatz to Face Off Against Timbaland in Verzuz Battle This Memorial Day Weekend

Swizz Beatz is preparing for a showdown…

This Memorial Day weekend, the 42-year-old half Puerto Rican recording artist, music producer and entrepreneur and his Verzuz co-creator Timbaland  will show off their producing skills as they face off in a battle once again for their hit web series.

Swizz Beatz

The pair first dueled onstage in 2018 at the Hot 97 Summer Jam in East Rutherford, N.J., as part of a producer clash battle — long before Verzuz premiered virtually in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post shared on the official Verzuz Instagram on Tuesday (May 25), the showdown was announced. “Did y’all guess who the rematch was going to be!? @THEREALSWIZZZ vs @TIMBALAND THIS SUNDAY ‼️ LIVE from @LIVMIAMI  Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend with our new #VERZUZLive .”

Beatz, né Kasseem Dean, 42, commented the post, “Let’s go then .” Timbaland, born Timothy Mosley, 49, wrote, “Alrite [sic] now .”

With Timbaland’s extensive history of producing megahits for fan-favorites including JAY-Z, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott, Kanye West, Aaliyah, Cher and Madonna, Beatz — who has produced for Eve, Diddy, Lil’ Wayne, The Weeknd, Drake, the late DMX, among many more — is in for a tough rematch.

Since its inception, Verzuz has featured friendly competitions between Monica and Brandy, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, Alicia Keys and John Legend, and the late DMX, who faced off against Snoop Dogg in July. DMX, né Earl Simmons, died on April 9.

Tune in on Sunday (May 30) at 8 p.m. ET to catch the Verzuz battle between Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, streaming on Instagram Live via the VerzuzTV account or Triller. It will also air on TV via FITE.

https://twitter.com/verzuzonline/status/1397184322537345026

Whindersson Nunes Takes Home One of the Top Prizes at YouTube Streamy Awards

It’s a stream come true for Whindersson Nunes.

The 2020 YouTube Streamy Awards, honoring the best of online entertainment, have been revealed, with the 25-year-old Brazilian comedian, singer, and YouTuber taking home one of the top prizes.

Whindersson Nunes

Nunes, whose YouTube channel whinderssonnunes ranks among the most subscribed in Brazil, was named the International winner during its virtual ceremony.

Swizz Beatz took home the Live Series award.

The 42-year-old part-Puerto Rican artist, producer and DJ and Timbaland won the prize for Verzuz, their weekly, real-time, virtual DJ battles.

Lele Pons didn’t go home empty-handed.

The 24-year-old Venezuelan internet celebrity, YouTuber, actress and singer won the Documentary award for digital series The Secret Life of Lele Pons.

The Streamy Award in the Sports category went to Ryan García, who continues to rise to acclaim beyond the ring.

The 22-year-old Mexican American professional boxer most recently starred in Bad Bunny‘s “Yo Visto Así” music video.

The 2020 YouTube Streamy Awards are executive produced by dick clark productions and Streamy Awards founders, Drew Baldwin and Joshua Cohen.

Here’s the winners list for the 2020 Streamy Awards:

OVERALL AWARDS
Creator of the Year MrBeast
Show of the Year Instant Influencer • James Charles
International Whindersson Nunes (Brazil)

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Breakout Creator Charli D’Amelio
Collaboration David Dobrik and Justin Bieber – SURPRISING PEOPLE WITH JUSTIN BIEBER!!
Crossover Will Smith
First Person Emma Chamberlain
Live Streamer NICKMERCS

SHOW AWARDS
Indie Series Chris and Jack
Live Series Verzuz
Live Special MrBeast’s $250,000 Influencer Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament
Podcast On Purpose with Jay Shetty ‎
Scripted Series A Heist with Markiplier • Markiplier
Unscripted Series UNHhhh • WOWPresents

SUBJECT AWARDS
Animated Jaiden Animations
Beauty James Charles
Comedy Sarah Cooper
Commentary ContraPoints
Dance BFunk
Documentary The Secret Life of Lele Pons
Fashion and Style Wisdom Kaye
Food Tabitha Brown
Gaming Dream
Health and Wellness Chloe Ting
Kids and Family Ryan’s World
Learning and Education Mark Rober
Lifestyle Larray
News HasanAbi
Sports Ryan García
Technology Marques Brownlee

CRAFT AWARDS
Cinematography Peter McKinnon – Peter McKinnon
Editing Hayden Hillier-Smith – Logan Paul
Visual and Special Effects Aaron Benitez – Aaron’s Animals
Writing CalebCity – CalebCity

Camila Cabello Among the Winners at Inaugural The Lockdown Awards

Camila Cabello has the chemistry on lock with Shawn Mendes

The 23-year-old Cuban & Mexican singer and her boyfriend-singer Mendes’ performance during the One World: Together at Home broadcast won one of the awards at the inaugural LiveXLive Presents: The Lockdown Awards.

Camila Cabello & Shawn Mendes

The awards show is meant to honor “the best of the best who created and entertained the world amidst the pandemic.” 

Cabello and Mendes’ performance of “What a Wonderful World” during the all-star telethon organized by Global Citizen took home the award for Digital Chemistry, Favorite Duet.

Cardi B didn’t have to actually perform to earn her prize.

The 28-year-old half-Dominican American rap superstar won the Musicians Not Playing Music prize for her DIY Hair Mask.

Swizz Beatz was named the winner for launching a can’t miss series of music moments…

The 42-year-old part-Puerto Rican artist, producer and DJ and Timbaland took home the The New New, Favorite New Music Series for Verzuz, their weekly, real-time, virtual DJ battles.

Chrissie Fit and her fellow Barden Bellas took home the Way-Off Broadway, Favorite Musical Reunion prize.

The 36-year-old Cuban American actress/singer and her Pitch Perfect cast mates won after reuniting to perform “Love on Top.”

Trey Songz hosted The Lockdown Awards, which included performances by Ally Brooke, Avenue Beat, Wiz Khalifa, Lauv and Conan Gray, Icona Pop and Sofi Tukker, Joss Stone, Johnny Orlando and Monsta X.

Winners were determined by fan voting at livexlive.com/TheLockdownAwards, as well as through Twitter submissions starting October 6.

“The inaugural Lockdown Awards is in the books,” said Garrett English, chief creative officer, LiveXLive, in a statement. “This was an evening celebrating artists, fans, and the enduring power of music.”

YouTube partnered with LiveXLive to distribute and promote the show across multiple YouTube channels.

Here’s a complete list of winners:

MVP Award: DJ D-Nice
Favorite Quaranteam: BTS
Digital Chemistry, Favorite Duet: Camila Cabello & Shawn Mendes – “What a Wonderful World,” Global Citizen One World: Together at Home
The Room Where It Happens, Favorite Home Performance: Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff – “Brand New Funk”
A Quarantine Ditty, Favorite Quarantine Song: Charlie Puth – “Untitled Quarantine Song”
All the Feels, Favorite Song for the Soul: Restless Road & Kane Brown – “Take Me Home,” Pandora Live
Musicians Not Playing Music: Cardi B – DIY Hair Mask
I Heart that Song, Favorite Cover: MGK & Travis Barker – “Misery Business”
Mind = Blown, Favorite Use of Tech: Katy Perry – Tomorrowland Around the World
No Stage, No Problem, Favorite Outdoor Performance: Andrea Bocelli – “Amazing Grace,” Music for Hope
Room With a View, Favorite Creative Direction: Keith Urban – “Higher Love,” Global Citizen One World: Together at Home
Sights & Sounds, Most Like a Music Video: 24kGoldn with Yungblud – “City of Angels,” The Yungblud Show
Stronger Together, Favorite Group/All-Star Performance: Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, John Legend, Lady Gaga, & Lang Lang – “The Prayer,” Global Citizen One World: Together at Home
The New New, Favorite New Music Series: Timbaland & Swizz Beatz – Verzuz
The Best Fest, Favorite Virtual Festival: Lollapalooza 2020
Way-Off Broadway, Favorite Musical Reunion: Pitch Perfect Cast / The Barden Bellas – “Love on Top,” Universal Pictures
Zoom Tune, Zoom Performance: SuperM – “With You,” Global Citizen One World: Together at Home

Tainy Releases New Single “Nada,” Featuring Lauren Jauregui & C. Tangana

Tainyis taking it old-escuela

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican hit-making producer and songwriter captures the essence of the reggaetón he was raised on “Nada,” the just-released single off his forthcoming debut solo EP The Kids That Grew Up On Reggaeton: Neon Tapes.

Tainy

Featuring Lauren Jaureguiand C. Tangana, “Nada” crosses language and genre barriers with Jauregui’s soulful pop vocals filtering Spanish and English lyrics and C. Tangana’s electronically-tinged trap verses. 

The song has a sexual flare to it, as both singers reject the notion of marriage but bemoan that they’re giving each other “nada” or nothing with their undefined yet playful relationship. 

The Elliot Muscat/The Garden-directed music video is set in Miami, Fla. where Tainy launched his NEON16 studio, showing the city’s raw, yet vibrant landscapes from green palm trees cascading over a vintage red Mercedes Benz that the former Fifth Harmony member rests on to turquoise-colored houses where Tainy kicks back with the guys. 

The Kids That Grew Up On Reggaeton: Neon Tapes marks Tainy’s first solo venture after working with the likes of Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Anuel AA, Ozuna and more Latin popstars in his accelerating successful career, spanning 47 Hot Latin Songs entries and a No. 1 producer ranking last year on Billboard‘s Latin Producers chart (dated July 20). 

“Nada” marks a pivotal cross-cultural moment in Tainy’s reggaetón speciality, democratizing the Latin urban genre for both mainstream American and Latin artists. “You can’t go too drastic when you’re creating records for the Latin market; it’s about expanding what their ear is used to,” Tainy told Billboard in an interview last month. “The American market has more liberty. Hearing the essence of reggaetón from [his production team] Luny Tunes, but listening to different chords from The Neptunes or how big and full Timbaland‘s percussion sounds [are] and adding those pop and electronic elements [influences my work].”

Anthony Signs Exclusive Production Partnership with ITV America

La La Anthony is looking to bring new content to television…

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican actress and reality television star has signed an exclusive production partnership with reality producer ITV America.

La La Anthony

The deal would allow Anthony to create and produce projects in the urban, music and pop culture space via her LaLaLand label, under the ITV America banner.

Anthony is already developing a hip-hop docuseries that takes an inside look at the business side of New York City’s hip-hop scene with Timbaland and Leftfield Entertainment/ITVA prodco Leftfield Pictures. They also are in development on several other projects that include documentaries and scripted series, as well as true-crime and live-event series.

“I’m beyond excited to be partnering with Leftfield and ITV America,” Anthony said. “I have a long history of working with David George, and I truly feel this company will help bring my ideas to life.”

Added Leftfield Entertainment CEO David George: “I’ve known La La a long time, as a friend and colleague, and she is one of the hardest-working, most driven and connected people in our business. We’re thrilled to be deepening our relationship with La La and to take her inspiring voice and entrepreneurial fierceness to multiple genres and platforms.”

Anthony’s TV credits include the hit Starz series Power, BET’s The New Edition Story and A&E’s Unforgettable. Her film credits include Think Like a Man, Think Like a Man Too, Baggage Claim, Chi-Raq and the upcoming Earnest Dickerson film Double Play. Anthony is also a twice-published, New York Times best-selling author and recently made her Broadway producing debut with the Tony-nominated play Eclipsed, which featured Broadway’s first all-female, all-black cast.

Anthony Teaming with Timbaland to Develop a Hip-Hop Docuseries

La La Anthony is shining a light on the hip-hop industry…

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican actress, author and producer is teaming up with and Grammy-winning producer Timbaland and Leftfield Pictures to develop a hip-hop docuseries.

La La Anthony

The project will focus on Jeff Janvier and Session Cruz’s Face Time Agency, the industry’s premiere casting agency for booking music video and hip-hop fashion models, with clients including Drake, Kanye West and Robin Thicke.

Set inside the New York City nightlife scene – where clubs have become the new boardrooms – the series exposes the cutthroat entrepreneurial side of hip-hop, with models, DJs and social media stars “hustling” to break through as fashion, music and media moguls.

“La La and Timbaland are perfect examples of what can be achieved when talent, determination and creativity collide with entrepreneurship,” said Leftfield Entertainment CEO David George. “We’re thrilled to be in business with these two entertainment innovators to create a series that uncovers a unique, rarified faction of hip hop and provides a true soundtrack for the unpredictable journey toward fame and fortune.”

Anthony will executive produce the project, with Timbaland serving as exec music producer.

“I’m thrilled to be executive producing a project that offers a true insider’s look into the business side of hip hop, especially one that explores the lives of fascinating women who have used hip hop as their platform to become successful entrepreneurs in fashion, music and more,” said Anthony.