R.I.P. NicK AshForD

Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson that penned elegant, soulful classics for Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye has died at the age of 69 from throat cancer.

Ashford and his wife Valerie Simpson wrote Motown classics Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand (recorded by Ross and You’re All I Need To Get By (made famous by Gaye and Tammi Terrell) and they also wrote pop hits such as I’m Every Woman”, which was a hit for Chaka Khan and, later, Whitney Houston.
They also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps the biggest known hit sung by them was the 1980s hit Solid As A Rock.

R.I.P. Nick Asford one of the greatest songwriters in the music business.

~TB

R.I.P.~NAtE DoGg

LOS ANGELES — Singer Nate Dogg, whose near monotone crooning anchored some of rap’s most seminal songs and helped define the sound of West coast hip-hop, has died at age 41.
Nate Dogg, whose real name was Nathaniel D. Hale, died Tuesday of complications from multiple strokes, said Attorney Mark Geragos.
Nate Dogg wasn’t a rapper, but he was an integral figure in the genre: His deep voice wasn’t particularly melodic, but its tone — at times menacing, at times playful, yet always charming — provided just the right touch on hits including Warren G’s “Regulate,” 50 Cent’s “21 Questions,” Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” and countless others.

While Nate Dogg provided hooks for rappers from coast to coast, the Long Beach, Calif., native is best known for his contributions to the West Coast soundtrack provided by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound and more. Nate Dogg was even part of a “supergroup” featuring Snoop Dogg and Warren G, called 213.
Nate Dogg, who had suffered at least two strokes since 2008, also put out his own solo projects but was best known for his collaborations with others.
Last year, Warren G said Nate Dogg was in therapy but needed help.
“Everybody just gotta keep him in their prayers, ’cause he had two strokes and that’s real dangerous. And a lot of people don’t come back from that,” he said in an interview to HipHollywood. “‘Cause the game needs him, I need him.”
After word of his death spread, tributes poured in on Twitter.
“We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met,” Snoop Dogg tweeted Tuesday night.
Like Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg got his start on Death Row when he was signed to the groundbreaking label by Dr. Dre. Nate Dogg got his start singing in the local church choir. He dropped out of high school to join the Marines but after three years was dishonorably discharged.
He briefly got involved with the drug trade before forming a musical group with Snoop and Warren G. It was Warren G who was credited with giving their music to Dr. Dre.
Nate Dogg made his debut on Dr. Dre’s classic album “The Chronic,” and immediately distinguished himself with a trademarked sound: a low, steady croon that came across as intimidating as the rap verses.
His vocals made him one of the most sought after collaborators for rap songs. Fifty Cent, who tapped Nate Dogg for his 2003 love song “21 Questions,” tweeted Tuesday: “I wrote the chorus to 21 questions I needed nate to sing it for me. He had a way of making everything feel hard.”
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Nate Dogg could be heard on songs ranging from Ludacris’ “Area Codes” to Tupac Shakur’s “All About U” to Eminem’s “Shake That.” Even as times changed, and rappers came and went, he didn’t fall out of fashion.
He faced several legal problems. In 1996, he was acquitted of an armed robbery charge; a jury deadlocked on another and he was not retried. In 2000, Nate Dogg was accused of trying to kidnap an ex-girlfriend, but those charges were dismissed. He pleaded no contest to gun possession and was sentenced to probation.
In January of 2008, he suffered a debilitating stroke but a few months later was arrested for stalking and threatening his estranged wife. He appeared in court in a wheelchair. The charge was dropped a year later.
Nate Dogg spent the last years of his life trying to rebound from his medical problems.
“All dogs go to heaven … RIP NATE DOGG,” tweeted Snoop Dogg.

[MUSIC SWAG & LIFE] R.I.P NATE

~TB

DIFF’RENT STROKES STAR “GARY COLEMAN DIES AT 42”


Sitcom actor and tabloid staple Gary Coleman, 42, died on Friday (May 28) at 12:05 p.m. (Mountain Time), after slipping into critical condition on Thursday following an earlier fall in which he injured his head and suffered a serious brain hemmorhage.

The actor, whose congenital kidney disease halted his childhood growth at an early age, had suffered a series of health setbacks in recent years. He was admitted to the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo on Wednesday after hitting his head in an unexplained fall and had reportedly slipped into critical condition by the next day. On Friday, doctors announced that he was unconscious and on life support in a coma due to an intracranial hemorrhage, which results from a broken or ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding inside the skull.

“Family members and close friends were at his side when life support was terminated,” read a hospital statement on the actor, according to People magazine. “Family members express their appreciation and gratitude for the support and prayers that have been expressed for Gary and for them.”

Born in Zion, Illinois, on February 8, 1968, Coleman was adopted as an infant by a local couple. He was diagnosed with an autoimmune dysfunction called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a congenital kidney disease that stunted his growth (he was 4’8″) and required two kidney transplants as well as daily dialysis.

Coleman began modeling at age 5, after writing a pitch letter to a local Montgomery Ward store in an effort to get work, which also resulted in gigs for McDonald’s and Hallmark. Discovered by a talent scout for sitcom legend Noman Lear, who cast him in a never-produced revival of “The Little Rascals,” Coleman began his acting career in 1974 with brief appearances on “Medical Center,” followed by roles in the sitcoms “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times.”

He landed the part of a lifetime as Arnold Jackson in the 1978 sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes,” in which he played the apple-cheeked, adorable adopted black son of a wealthy white Manhattan family. Coleman won over America during the show’s eight-year run with his charming innocence and signature wisecracking catchphrase, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?” aimed at his older brother, played by fellow troubled teen actor Todd Bridges. At the height of the show’s popularity, the child star was making almost $100,000 an episode.

Coleman failed to capitalize on the success of the “Strokes,” and his career petered out via roles in dud movies such as “On the Right Track” and 1983’s “Jimmy the Kid.” He continued to get sporadic TV work on shows ranging from “227” to “Martin” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” but spent much of the past two decades appearing in B-movie schlock such as “The Curse of Monkey Island,” “The Flunky,” “Church Ball” and last year’s mockumentary “Midgets vs. Mascots.”

As his professional career faded, Coleman became famous for being famous, suing his parents for misappropriation of his trust fund, claiming that they drained his $18 million in career earnings from him, leaving him penniless as an adult. He pleaded no contest in 1999 to disturbing the peace after punching a female autograph seeker in California, just a year after allegedly striking a pedestrian with his truck following an argument outside a Salt Lake City bowling alley.

In addition to announcing a 2000 run for a U.S. Senate seat from California as part of the HECK (Homelessness, Education, Crime and Killers) platform, he ran for governor in the state in 2003, where he finished eighth, barely edging out pseudo-celebs including porn star Mary Cary, melon-smashing comedian Gallagher and famous-for-being-famous pinup Angelyne.

Later in life, he was forced to work as a security guard on a movie set in 2008 when acting gigs dried up. He got married that year to then-22-year-old Shannon Price, though the union was rocky, landing the couple on the syndicated “Divorce Court” show. He was hospitalized in Los Angeles for undisclosed reasons in January, then again in February after suffering a seizure on the set of the TV show “The Insider.”

I grew up watching Gary Coleman and he was so very funny on camera. He was a little genus and he brought a lot of joy into peoples lives with his humor and jokes.

RIP Gary Coleman
~TB

RAPPER GURU OF GANG STARR DIES AT 43 OF CANCER


Groundbreaking U.S. rapper and Gang Starr co-founder Guru died Monday night, a month after the cancer-stricken artist collapsed and went into a coma, MTV reported.

The 43-year-old rapper, whose real name is Keith Elam, had been suffering from cancer for over a year. The report quoted a statement from Guru’s camp that inferred the cause was complications from cancer.

“According to [producer] Solar, Guru suffered from the malicious illness for over a year and after numerous special treatments under the supervision of medical specialists failed, the legendary MC succumbed to the disease. Guru always tried to keep this harrowing diagnosis in private but in early 2010 he had to admit himself to hospital due to serious effects caused by the disease.”

Guru formed the group with DJ Premier in 1985, and they put out six albums, including the well-received “Daily Operation” and “Moment of Truth.”

R.I.P. GURU

~TB