Navani Knows: Halftime Celebrates Nasty Nas

Since I was 16-years-old, memorizing the lyrics of Illmatic off of my tape player, I’ve had a special affection for Nas. He seems like one of those people that if we ever met we’d click, have deep thought-provoking conversations about life and be instant friends. At least in my head we are. But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that feels a certain respect/admiration for him and his artistry, as many anxiously anticipated the release of his new album titled, Life is Good

Whether you love him or hate him, it’s pretty clear people care about what Nas has to say. He causes controversy and creates a dialogue with every album. No matter how you feel about his catalog, you pay attention because he makes you think about something. People actually continue to purchase his CDs which says something in itself. It makes him an interesting persona. Part of the joy of being a writer for me is learning the stories behind the persona. I am always excited to hear behind-the-scenes tales, like when I talked to DJ Eclipse about his experience with the making of the classic album Illmatic. When you hear those stories it makes you feel one step closer to knowing who that person really is.

To follow in that vein, The Halftime Show decided to celebrate the release of Nas’ 10th studio album in our own special way. In this special edition show the gang gathered up some of the most influential and classic artists to have worked with Nas and took a trip down memory lane of his career, which now spans 20 years. If you missed it, watch below as Large Pro, Faith Newman, and DJ Premier dish about the signing of Nas, producing tracks for Illmatic, and his early shows – all set to a special mix by DJ Eclipse.



Video streaming by Ustream

Life is Good is in stores now

Navani Knows: Counting Down to the Halftime Show 14th Year Anniversary

After covering many of the classic Halftime Anniversary shows as a journalist this year everything comes full circle for me as I am now on board as a member of the show and helping to organize the show itself. It’s been such a great experience! This year the show is taking a break from the usual chaos of having 30 mcs and 4 producers and numerous Deejays all in the house and instead taking a step back to reflect on the ealry years. This edition of the Halftime Anniversary Show will feature highlights of the early years, from 99-01/02 with freestyles from artists like Ghostface, Big L, Eminem, 50 Cent, Redman  and a lot more! Tune in this Wednesday, March 7 @ 10:30- 1 AM on 89.1FM or http://www.ustream.tv/channel/halftimewnyu

Check the Deets:

Navani Knows Starr-Gazin’

Looking back at 2011 and all the things I’ve done, experienced and accomplished what stands out the most are the the great people I’ve met and built with along the way. You just never know when you will bond with someone, whether it’s at a CMJ show or while running amok in the streets of NYC looking for an afterparty – which was the case when I met the homie Chief Justice.

Nothing builds a relationship like trying to hail cabs in NYC together and standing outside the Red Bull Space not getting in. These are moments you just never forget. So when it came time for Chief Justice to film his latest video “Starr-Gazin'” I was honored to be a part of the action. Taking off work was a no-brainer.

This video is off the EP Genesis: The New Beginning, a project he worked with DJ Evil Dee on. You’ll see us all donning couture DMV shirts, paying homage to where Chief is from. The dude is really talented and I respect his grind. You can DL the EP on itunes. Peep the official video below:

Navani Knows: TOOFLY Helps Launch Navani Knows Radio

This whole year I focused on making moves towards another passion of mine: radio. I’ve been interning at various shows and helping out where ever I can (Shout out to Brooklyn Bodega Radio, Rap is Outta Control, The Halftime Show). I ‘ve had the honor to work with some of the greatest people in the NY Radio scene who have graciously taken me under their wing. In some odd turn of events, my year ends with an offer to have my own online radio show via Urban Latino Radio.

I am completely speechless and excited. So, Navani Knows Radio is born, a weekly show that will focus on music and culture. Specifically Hip-Hop music and how it influences art, food, dance, literature and film. Me and my co-host Suley will be probing guests with inciteful questions in an effort to give exposure to great artists outside the mainstream.

This week we set off our first “trial” show dedicated to the Holidays with graffiti queen TOOFLY. The Queens resident has been in the game for 20 years and had many great stories to share about making her way in the male dominated art form. She also dished on holiday traditions in her native Ecuadaor as well as show us her awesome merchandise featured in the NY Daily News Gift Guide. You can catch her today at the Ladies Love Holiday Pop Up Shop.

Suley and I also dished on our fave picks for gift ideas this Christmas that cover everyone from music lovers to the do-gooders. Take a look at our own gift guide after the jump….

I am so excited to be embarking on this new journey in the New Year. Thanks to all of you that have supported me along the way. Tune in for the Navani Knows Show 2012 Launch on January 6th (Three Kings Day) on Urban Latino Radio from 6-8pm.

Continue reading

Navani Knows “The Kaos Effect”


I met Atlanta based emcee Señor Kaos (not to be confused with the word old) at a Brooklyn Bodega CMJ Event”We got the Jazz”. To be honest, I wasn’t fmailiar with his music until that night. I was a little skeptical, being he was from Atlanta, but his name intrigued me. Besides,  anyone that Fresh Daily and Sucio Smash cosign is worth investigating.

So investigate I did. I sat with the Dominicao/African-American rapper to hear what we can expect from his debut album “The Kaos Effect”, who he looked up to growing up in Atlanta, and the ever growing boom bap scene in ATL (yes,  I was surprised by this too).

Check out what Senor Kaos had to say in my interview on Brooklyn Bodega. Then check out his album, The Kaos Effect. It  might make a good stocking stuffer for your boom-bap loving friends.

Photo via Diwang Valdez

Navani Knows: Idle Warship Show = Dopeness

I have been a fan of the duo that is Idle Warship for a few years now, since learning about them in the myspace days. I am glad to see them still making waves and garnering much more attention these days. They are having a show in BK that you don’t want to miss! Hosted by the big homie The Company Man, this is sure to be a good time – and not just because it includes open bar (tho that def doesn’t hurt). Check the info below:

IDLE WARSHIP (Talib Kweli & Res) LIVE FROM SOUTHPAW

Featuring Performances by:
Jah-C & Jaison Spain (Final Hip Hop Performance)
Kyle Rapps
Illustrate
Special Guest: The Band Called Fuse
Hosted by: The Company Man
Music & Afterparty provided by: Dj Meka (2DopeBoyz)
Doors at 8pm/ Show at 9pm
Get Tickets here

Navani Knows the 2011 Latin Grammys Recap!


Latinos from far and wide came together last night in Las Vegas to participate in the 12th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. Besides music icons the green carpet was adorned with Latino actors and entertainers from across the globe donning their glam looks and best Spanish accents. I was even super impressed to see Latinos from America like Adrienne Bailon, Demi Lovato and Zoe Saldana speaking in their native tongue – which was a first for me in all my years as a journalist in this market. what I really want to cover are my highlights – which come down to two names: Shakira and Calle 13.

The night started off with a bang as controversial duo Calle 13 opened the ceremony performing their hit ‘Latinoamerica’, alongside the great Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela. The song celebrates the values of Latinos across the Western Hemisphere, who can’t be bought or sold. The powerful performance led to the first standing ovation of the night and it turned out to be a harbinger of things to come as Calle 13 dominated the evening, winning 9 awards, including a clean sweep of the 3 most important ones, Album of the Year, and for ‘Latinoamerica’, Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

9 is huge! It should’ve just been called the Calle 13 awards because they were on stage the whole show. Which was fine with me. If you follow my blog I don’t need to express my sentiments for the group and what they stand for. You can see it even in the shirt Rene wore which read  “Por la educacion publica (for public education)” emblazoned in big letters. Can you see why I heart him?

Another person I was happy to see honored last night was Colombiana Shakira, who was named person of the year. Shakira gave a live performance of “Devoción” from her 2010 album Sale El Sol. I actually like this sound better than her usual pop tart stuff. Later she performed “Antes De La Seis” . Shakira was also awarded Female Pop Vocal Album, for the Spanish-language ‘Sale El Sol’. The person of the year award was presented by fellow Colombiana Sofia Vergara, who fun fact: was also Shaki’s neighbor in Baranquilla. The  heartfelt acceptance speech that followed turned out to be the most emotional part of the evening where she said:

“This is without a doubt one of the most important moments of my life, and perhaps the nicest recognition that I have ever received. I’m honored to share it with you. Last night I had a beautiful night to remember, sharing with my friends and colleagues who I respect and admire. My dad even sang. It was a night I will never forget, seeing artists and colleagues singing my songs is an honor I don’t deserve. I dedicate this award to my colleagues, who with music cure all ills and give meaning to everything,”

I love to see awesome people that stand for something and use their power and art for empowerment/ social awareness get recognized. That is what this year’s awards did for once. Gold Star to them! For the full list of winners and more highlights (yes, I’m sure you heard about the Romeo and Usher performance, Marc Anthony and Pitbull etc.) check out the Latin Grammy official website.