Estelle: She may be a born-and-raised West London girl, but we’d venture that Estelle Swaray is right at home in the energy of New York, her newly adopted city. The Homeschool/Atlantic recording artist has announced early details of her massively anticipated new album. “ALL OF ME” – which follows the Grammy Award-winning singer’s 2008 US debut, “SHINE”. The new album is heralded by two critically acclaimed singles, “Fall In Love (Feat. Nas),” and “Break My Heart (Feat. Rick Ross),” which are both available now at the British hip-hop/soul sensation’s own official website, www.estellemusic.com.
“SHINE” – which marked the premiere release from Grammy Award-winner John Legend’s Homeschool Records label, in partnership with Atlantic Records – was without question one of 2008’s most compelling releases. Executive Produced by Legend and Atlantic Records Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman, the album proved Estelle’s global breakthrough, fuelled in part by the phenomenal hit single, “American Boy (Feat. Kanye West).”
In addition to hitting #1 in the UK, “American Boy” topped the European Airplay Chart, along with airplay charts in the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, and Ireland. In the US, “American Boy” has been certified double platinum by the RIAA for digital sales exceeding 2 million. And in 2009, the track earned Estelle her first-ever Grammy Award, among many other prestigious honors.
Estelle will be performing at Atlantic City’s House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk on Dec. 21.
2Chainz: 2Chainz is a product of the competitive Atlanta scene that spawned his first group, the duo Playaz Circle (in which he was known as Tity Boi). They made their mark back in ’07 with the rap-R&B-pop crossover hit “Duffle Bag Boy” featuring Lil’ Wayne on the hook, on the DTP (Disturbing Tha Peace)/Def Jam label. College Park native Tity Boi was a lifelong friend of Chris Bridges, aka DTP CEO/Def Jam recording artist Ludacris. But the time would come when 2Chainz would fly from the DTP nest to make it on his own.
His first step toward independence was the 2007 mixtape, “Me Against The World.” Proving that he could stand on his own, he vowed to “turn up” in 2009. He did exactly that with the double-disc mixtape “All Ice On Me,” followed by his two-part “Trapavelli” series. Both had cameos from the likes of fellow underground kings Bun B and Gucci Mane, as well as his 2009 street hit “Stupid” and the surprise 2010 radio smash “Boo.”
Proving that he could write street anthems with crossover appeal, he capitalized on his notoriety with the back-to-back mixtape releases of “Codeine Withdrawal” in 2010, and “Codeine Cowboy” in 2011. (The graphic 25-minute Codeine Cowboy documentary film has logged over 276,000 YouTube views to date: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3Lvc9eYMOE). By now, the 2Chainz buzz had reached a fever pitch with the likes of Busta Rhymes, Young Jeezy and Pusha T jumping at the chance to join what he likes to call his “campaign.” 2Chainz will be at TLA, 334 South Street on Dec. 10.
The Roots: The Grammy Award-winning hip hop/neo soul band which hails from Philadelphia was formed in 1987 by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are known for a jazzy, eclectic approach to hip hop which includes live instrumentals. Malik B., Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, and Josh Abrams were added to the band, originally called The Square Roots. Anyone from Philadelphia knows very well the popular Roots Picnic held every Summer, The Roots are a ‘Philly Fixture’ in this town musically and must be experienced LIVE!
Since their first independent album release, the band has released 10 studio albums, two EPs, two collaboration albums and have collaborated with a wide range of artists from different genres. The Roots have served as the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” since its premiere in 2009. The Roots’ work has been repeatedly met with critical acclaim. About.com ranked them #7 on its list of the 25 Best Rap Groups of All-Time, describing them as “Hip-hop’s first legitimate band.”
The Roots will be performing at Atlantic City’s House of Blues, 801 Boardwalk on Dec. 21.
Kevin Hart: Philadelphia’s own Kevin Hart started his career by winning several amateur comedy competitions at clubs throughout the New England area, and he got his first real break in 2001 when he was cast by Judd Apatow for a recurring role on the TV series “Undeclared.” The series only lasted one season, but it was enough for him to get his name out and land other roles in movies like “Paper Soldiers,” “Scary Movie 3,” and “Along Came Polly.” His comedic fame began to really grow with the release of his first real stand-up album “I’m a Grown Little Man” in 2009. This was followed by “Seriously Funny” in 2010, and most recently “Laugh at My Pain” in 2011, which was arguably his most successful stand-up act in his career so far.
PHOTO: Kevin Hart
Kevin married Torrie Hart in 2003 and has a daughter, Heaven Leigh Hart, and a son, Hendrix Hart, with her. The couple split after eight years of marriage in 2011, but he has still found a way to find the humor in his life experiences and work it into his stand-up. His relationship with his father was rough in his childhood because he was in and out of jail, so he and his older brother were raised by their single mother.
With his career only growing, Kevin has landed big time gigs like hosting the 2012 MTV Music Awards and the 2011 BET Awards. He’s also had several nominations for BET and Teen Choice Awards and also has won a BET Award for Best Actor in his own “Laugh at My Pain” in 2012.
Kevin appears at the Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street on Dec. 20.