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Promotion And Prevention In Mental Health; And Awareness Using Modeling And Photography

Promotion And Prevention In Mental Health; And Awareness Using Modeling And Photography
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Philadelphia Front Page News-Magazine and Media Key 307 Magazine Fashion and Beauty Collection

Van Stone's Philly Funk Radio Scope

Van Stone's Philly Funk Radio Scope

Music Legends With Lamont Nelson

Music Legends With Lamont Nelson

Photography and Poetry with Joel Perlish

Photography and Poetry with Joel Perlish




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Friday, April 29, 2016

Watch Nicky Jam Reimagine 'Hasta El Amancer' at Billboard Latin Music Awards/ Donald Trump Loses Aaron Carter Endorsement

Watch Nicky Jam Reimagine 'Hasta El Amancer' at Billboard Latin Music Awards/
Donald Trump Loses Aaron Carter Endorsement


Nicky Jam performs on stage during the 2016 Billboard Latin Music 
Awards at the BankUnited Center in Miami on April 28, 2016.

Aaron Carter

Donald Trump has lost one of his celebrity endorsements.
Two months following musician Aaron Carter's reveal that the GOP candidate would have his vote in the 2016 election, the 28-year-old is withdrawing his support.

His reasoning? "I have decided I will not be voting for Donald Trump. I've seen a lot and to ME. it's just something I can't take part in. Too many reasons," Carter tweeted Friday afternoon.
On Feb. 27, Carter revealed his support of Trump in a tweet: "@realDonaldTrump Does America want to have a president who FOLLOWS or someone who leads? I vote For @realdonaldtrump."
Shortly following his announced allegiance to the Republican frontrunner, the singer defended his decision to fans who did not agree with him politically. "That's ok. Losing fans gaining fans all good so what happens when Donald becomes president relax people," was one of his many tweeted replies to a number of fans who unfollowed or showed their disdain for his support of the businessman.

Celebrities who have previously declared their endorsement of Trump include Jon Voight, Kid Rock, Stephen Baldwin and Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Prince Paid Off 'Funky Drummer' Clyde Stubblefield's Medical Bills

Prince Paid Off 'Funky Drummer' Clyde Stubblefield's Medical Bills


Prince photographed in the 1990s.

In the wake of his untimely death, Prince's secret philanthropy is coming to light. 

After getting diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago, legendary drummer and James Brown collaborator Clyde Stubblefield had $90,000 worth of hospital bills.

Stubblefield's wife Jody Hannon received an unexpected call while Stubblefield was undergoing chemotherapy for bladder cancer: Prince's people were on the line, and they wanted to know how much Stubblefield needed in order to pay off his massive medical bills. True to his buttoned-up, discreet nature, Prince requested that his donation -- a whopping $80,000 to help pay for Stubblefield's treatment -- be kept a secret from the press.

Clyde Stubblefield performs on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on March 29, 2011.Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

A contact from Prince's former charity Love 4 One Another told the Wisconsin State Journal that Stubblefield was one of Prince's "drumming idols." Stubblefield is best known for his drum break in James Brown's "Funky Drummer"; his drum beat is now a cornerstone of hip-hop and the most sampled beat in the genre, from LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" to Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" and "Bring the Noise."

To Stubblefield, Prince's uniqueness went far beyond his sensual lyricism and purple ensembles. "He was very different. To help people, number one, that makes you different right there," Stubblefield told Madison, Wisconsin's News 3.

Though Stubblefield once had the opportunity to play in Prince's studio, the two never crossed paths, which made Prince's large donation all the more baffling for Stubblefield. "I still don't understand why," Stubblefield said.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monica Lewinsky Reacts To Beyonce's 'Lemonade': 'Let Me Know If It's Safe For Me To Listen'

Monica Lewinsky Reacts To Beyonce's 'Lemonade': 'Let Me Know If It's Safe For Me To Listen'

Beyonce in a still from the Lemonade visual album.
As Beyonce's Lemonade spilled all over timelines following Saturday's (April 23) HBO presentation and the consecutive release of her sixth studio effort on Tidal (it was subsequently released on iTunes), social media was buzzing with GIFs and shocked face emojis over the singer's references to side-chicks, alluding to marital strife in her relationship with Jay Z.

Enter ex-White House intern Monica Lewinsky -- who landed in controversy in the mid-90s when former President Bill Clinton admitted to having an "inappropriate relationship" with her -- grabbed headlines when she took to Twitter to respond to Bey's latest offering.

 "hey, will someone let me know if it's safe for me to listen to #LEMONADE? -- #sarcasmfilter," she joked on Twitter (April 24).

 The sarcastic tweet wouldn't be the first time Lewinsky has addressed matters pertaining to Bey. In a 2014 interview with Vanity Fair, Lewinsky addressed Bey's "Partition" lyrics, where she rap-sung, "Now my mascara running, red lipstick smudged/ Oh he so horny, he want to fuck/ He popped all my buttons, and he ripped my blouse/ He Monica Lewinsky'd all on my gown."

 "Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re verbing," Lewinsky said at the time, "I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d.'"

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beyonce's 'Lemonade' Release: Tidal Has Streaming Exclusive 'In Perpetuity,' Purchase Exclusive Ends at 10 P.M.

Beyonce's 'Lemonade' Release: Tidal Has Streaming Exclusive 'In Perpetuity,' Purchase Exclusive Ends at 10 P.M.

Beyonce in a still from the Lemonade visual album.

 Shortly after Beyonce's one-hour HBO special aired Saturday night (April 23), her sixth studio album, Lemonade, became available to stream exclusively on Tidal. It's the latest in a string of high-profile exclusives for the nascent company. And while other exclusive album releases on streaming services such as Apple Music have lasted either 24 hours or one week, Tidal doesn't have the same history.
Which leaves the question: How long will Tidal be the only (legal) place fans will be able to find Beyonce's Lemonade? Sources close to the situation tell Billboard that Tidal will have the streaming exclusive "in perpetuity," suggesting that the album will never be available to stream via Tidal's biggest competitors, Spotify and Apple Music. (Update: at 5:20 p.m., a Tidal rep officially confirmed the service will be the only streamer that will carry Lemonade.)

As for a retail release, Tidal made Lemonade available for sale at 3:30 p.m. today (April 24) via Beyonce.Tidal.com priced at $17.99. That includes the 12 songs and videos -- the "visual album," as the company is calling it -- as well as the full version of the HBO special that aired last night. But for Beyonce to land her sixth straight No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, the album's availability in digital outlets like the iTunes Store within the week seems inevitable; sources tell Billboard that Tidal's download exclusive for Lemonade will end at 10 p.m. tonight, after which it will become available via iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. Reps for Tidal declined to comment, while a request for comment from Beyonce's team went unreturned as of press time.

Rihanna's Anti streamed exclusively on Tidal for its first week, but went live to digital retailers 24 hours after its release, and included one million free copies distributed through a deal with Samsung. Kanye West's The Life of Pablo -- initially intended as a one-week exclusive, before West continued to hold it back -- eventually existed as a Tidal-only stream for a full six weeks before its eventual wide release, with West's camp refusing to report streaming numbers during the exclusive window.
But it's likely that the digital retail release of Lemonade will more closely follow the Rihanna rollout -- becoming available for sale widely in the coming days -- rather than West's, which is still only available to purchase via Tidal or West's own website.

The Lemonade rollout is the latest successful exclusive release for Tidal, which struggled for much of its first year since its grandiose launch March 30, 2015. Since last October, when the service held a star-studded concert in Brooklyn to celebrate passing one million paid subscribers, its exclusives have helped its subscriber numbers to surge to three million, according to statistics release by Tidal.
And it's likely that Lemonade isn't the only boon for Tidal in the past week; Prince's untimely death on April 21 sent many fans to the service, which is the only streamer with access to his extensive catalog.

As of press time, a rep for Tidal declined to comment on any boost in new subscribers since Prince's death. The app currently sits at No. 4 in the iTunes App Store.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince, hugely inventive, influential musician, dead at 57

Prince, hugely inventive, influential musician, dead at 57

AP Photo
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 1985 file photo, Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Prince, widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive and influential musicians of his era with hits including "Little Red Corvette," ''Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry," was found dead at his home on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57.
CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) -- Prince could play guitar like Carlos Santana or Jimi Hendrix, sing like James Brown, turn out pop melodies worthy of Motown or lay down the deepest grooves this side of Sly and the Family Stone. But no one could mistake his sound for anyone but Prince.

The dazzlingly talented and charismatic singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist who died Thursday at his home drew upon the history of modern popular music and created a gender- and genre-defying blend of rock, funk and soul. With hits including "1999," ''Purple Rain" and "Little Red Corvette," Prince's records sold more than 100 million copies and earned him Grammys and an Academy Award.

The Minneapolis native stood just 5 feet, 2 inches, yet made a powerful visual impact at the dawn of the MTV era, proving to be the Little Richard for the '80s, from his wispy moustache and tall pompadour to his colorful and suggestive outfits - the counterpart to the openly erotic lyrics that made him one of the most sexually daring artists of the era.

But his greatest legacy was as a musician, summoning original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that drew on Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto, or turning out album after album of stunningly innovative material. Among his other notable releases: "Sign O' the Times," ''Graffiti Bridge" and "The Black Album."

"He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties," reads his dedication in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative."

The 57-year-old superstar passed away Thursday at his home in suburban Minneapolis. The local sheriff said deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator late Thursday morning after being summoned to his home, but that first-responders couldn't revive him.

"I am confirming that Prince, the legendary iconic performer has died at his home this morning at Paisley Park," his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press in a phone call.

No details about what may have caused his death have been released. Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, after falling ill with the flu, and he apologized to fans during a makeup concert last week. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

Mick Jagger was among numerous musicians, actors and other public figures praising the artist, tweeting: "Prince's talent was limitless. He was one of the most unique and talented artists of the last 30 years." 

Madonna called him a "true visionary," while Oprah Winfrey tweeted: "Prince the doves really are crying now. Listening to your music. Remembering you."

Even President Barack Obama - for whom Prince was a White House guest last year - released a statement, saying he and his wife "joined millions of fans from around the world" in mourning Prince's sudden death.

"Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent," Obama said. " 'A strong spirit transcends rules,' Prince once said - and nobody's spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative."

Born Prince Rogers Nelson, Prince broke through in the late 1970s with the hits "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and soared over the following decade with such albums as "1999" and "Purple Rain." The title song from "1999," his funky and flippant anthem about an oncoming nuclear holocaust, includes one of the most quoted refrains of popular culture: "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."

He won seven Grammys and received an Academy Award in 1985 for his music from "Purple Rain," the movie in which he starred as a young musician. In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

Prince was fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Anxious to get out of his contract with Warner Bros., he identified himself by a key-like symbol with an unpronounceable name. (Journalists called him "TAFKAP," or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince). Prince also once wrote "slave" on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously fought and then departed Warner, before returning a few years ago.

"What's happening now is the position that I've always wanted to be in," Prince told The Associated Press in 2014. "I was just trying to get here."

Music was in his blood. Prince's father played in a jazz band in Minneapolis, under the name "Prince Rogers," and his mother was the singer. The precocious young Prince taught himself to play the piano at age 7, the guitar at 13 and the drums at 14. But his home life was also troubled. His parents separated when he was 10, and Prince, who ended up with six siblings and half siblings, moved back and forth between the homes of his mother and father.

In 1978, the year he turned 20, Prince debuted with the album "For You." It was a declaration, if nothing else, that he could do anything: He wrote and sang the material, and served as his own one-man band on guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, chimes and assorted other instruments.

The album received mixed reviews, but his second album - called "Prince" - sold more than a million copies and launched his run of hit albums and singles over the next few years.

But he didn't just become a star in his own right: He was a veritable music factory, whether with side projects, such as as Vanity and Morris Day and The Time, or the songs he wrote for others. Sinead O'Connor had a hit with "Nothing Compares 2 U," while other covers included Cyndi Lauper's "When You Were Mine" and the Bangles' "Manic Monday."

Prince's influence even extended to politics, well before Obama's time. In the mid-1980s, Tipper Gore, wife of then-Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee, heard one of her daughters listening to Prince's "Darling Nikki." Horrified by the song's reference to masturbation, she helped launch an organization dedicated to a labeling system for explicit content, the Parents Music Resource Center. A nationwide debate about censorship soon followed, including congressional testimony from Frank Zappa among others, and the refusal by some record sellers to offer releases deemed in need of advisories.

Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his "Piano and a Microphone" tour, a stripped-down show that featured a mix of his hits, like "Purple Rain" or "Little Red Corvette," and some B-sides from his extensive library.

Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and both playful and emotional at times.

The musician seemed to be shedding his reclusive reputation. He hosted several late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx's WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill.

Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir, "The Beautiful Ones," which was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau. A press release about the memoir said Prince would "take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work," and include stories about his music, family and the "people, places and ideas that fired his creative imagination."

A spokeswoman for Spiegel & Grau, Theresa Zoro, said Thursday the publisher had no immediate comment on the book's status.

About 200 fans had gathered by Thursday afternoon outside Paisley Park, Prince's home and music studio, where his gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, "Purple Rain," is on display. The sprawling white, stone building is surrounded by a fence in Chanhassen, a city about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Steven Scott, 32, of Eden Prairie, said he was at Paisley Park last Saturday for Prince's dance party. He called Prince "a beautiful person" whose message was that people should love one another.

"He brought people together for the right reasons," Scott said.
Moody and Italie reported from New York. Associated Press writers David Bauder in New York, Paul Newberry in Atlanta and Steve Karnowski in Chanhassen also contributed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Every Marco Antonio Solis Song That Topped Billboard's Hot Latin Songs Chart

Every Marco Antonio Solis Song That Topped Billboard's Hot Latin Songs Chart


Marco Antonio Solis performs onstage at iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina 
presented by Sprint at American Airlines Arena on Nov. 7, 2015 in Miami.

 In honor of Marco Antonio Solís receiving this year's lifetime achievement award at the 2016 Billboard Latin Music Awards, we're celebrating the Mexican icon with all his songs that reached No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart over the years.

 From "O Me Voy O Te Vas" to "Qué Pena Me Das," the singer/songwriter boasts of nine singles to reach the No. 1 position throughout his career of 40 years.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ice Cube: 'Donald Trump Is What Americans Aspire to Be'

Ice Cube: 'Donald Trump Is What Americans Aspire to Be'


Ice Cube arrived to the 2016 American Black Film Festival Awards 
Gala - Arrivals at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb 21, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Ice Cube likened GOP candidate Donald Trump to the "American dream" during a sit-down with Bloomberg.

"Donald Trump is what Americans love. Donald Trump is what Americans aspire to be -- rich, powerful, do what you wanna do, say what you wanna say, be how you wanna be," the rapper-actor said about Trump's appeal. "That’s kind of been like the American dream. He looks like a boss to everybody, and Americans love to have a boss."

Ice Cube then clarified his remarks, saying, "Do I think he’s gonna do anything to help poor people or people that’s struggling? No, because he’s a rich white guy."

He explained Trump's wealth would make it difficult for the presidential hopeful to "relate to the small guy."
"He's always been rich," the rapper said. "Being rich don’t make you bad, I ain’t saying that. But I’m just saying, how can he relate?"

When asked about how Trump had previously questioned President Obama's election, asserting that he had been born in Kenya and was therefore not a "legitimate" president, Ice Cube stated, "He sounded crazy to me."

"I could see raising the question, but once you get the answer, man, move on," he said. "To still harp on it and to lie that you’re sending investigators and all this stuff to me was just a guy who couldn’t say that he was wrong."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Demi Lovato Wrote a Song With Miguel

Demi Lovato Wrote a Song With Miguel


Demi Lovato appears onstage at WE Day California 2016 at 
The Forum on April 7, 2016 in Inglewood, Calif.

 Demi Lovato has a new collaboration to add to her list: The "Confident" singer revealed on Twitter Tuesday night that she wrote a new song with Miguel, and you can just feel the excitement via emojis.

The news follows after Lovato tweeted earlier this week that she was recording in the studio "with someone so talented." Miguel confirmed the collaboration reveal, tweeting back "such a great wave."

 The upcoming song is the first time the two have partnered up. No other information or song snippets were shared, but fans are already anticipating what's to come.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Willett wins the Masters after shocking Spieth collapse

Willett wins the Masters after shocking Spieth collapse

 AP Photo
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Danny Willett in a green jacket was hard to believe considering he wasn't even sure he could play the Masters two weeks ago.

No one was more stunned than Jordan Spieth.

Nine holes away from another wire-to-wire victory, the defending Masters champion threw it away Sunday with a collapse around Amen Corner that was shocking even by Augusta National standards. With a five-shot lead heading to the 10th tee, he dropped six shots in three holes and could never catch up.

Even more painful for Spieth?

He had to go to Butler Cabin and to the 18th green ceremony to present the green jacket to Willett.

"It was a really tough 30 minutes for me that hopefully I never experience again," Spieth said.

And it was a comeback that ranks among the most surprising at the Masters.

Willett always had this Sunday circled on his calendar - the due date of his first child. He wasn't planning to be at Augusta National until his wife gave birth to their son, Zachariah James, on March 30 and sent the 28-year-old English on an improbable path to becoming a major champion.

Five shots behind with six holes to play, Willett birdied three of his last six holes to polish off a round that might not get its due because of the unforgettable images of Spieth's meltdown. Willett closed with a 5-under 67, with no bogeys on his card, to match the best score of the weekend.

When he slipped on the green jacket, it already was early Monday in England - his wife Nicole's 28th birthday.

"We talk about fate, talk about everything else that goes with it," Willett said. "It's just a crazy, crazy week."

Willett ended Europe's 17-year drought at Augusta National, and he became the first player from England in a green jacket since Nick Faldo in 1996.

How fitting.

Twenty years ago, Faldo also shot a bogey-free 67 in a final round remembered just as much for Greg 
Norman throwing away a six-shot lead.

Spieth was trying to become only the fourth back-to-back winner of the Masters, and the first player in 156 years of championship golf to go wire-to-wire in successive years in a major. And it looked inevitable when he ran off four straight birdies to end the front nine and build a five-shot lead.

This didn't look like one of those Masters that would start on the back nine Sunday.
But it did - quickly.

Spieth made bogey from the bunker on No. 10. A tee shot into the trees on the 11th, missing an 8-foot par putt. He still had a two-shot lead and only needed to get past the dangerous par-3 12th to settle himself, especially with two par 5s in front of him.

His 9-iron sailed to the right, bounded off the slope and into the water. His wedge from the drop area was fat, and Spieth turned his head as the ball plopped into the water again. He had to get up-and-down from a bunker just to make a quadruple-bogey 7.

"It was a lack of discipline to hit it over the bunker coming off two bogeys, instead of recognizing I was still leading the Masters," Spieth said.

The turnaround left him dazed. Spieth was five shots ahead on the 10th tee and three shots behind when he walked to the 13th tee.

Willett poured it on with a shot into the 14th to about 4 feet, and a tee shot on the par-3 16th to 7 feet for a birdie that stretched his lead. Spieth still had a chance when he birdied both par 5s to get within two shots, and then hit his tee shot to 8 feet behind the hole on the 16th. But he missed the birdie putt, and when he hit into a bunker and failed to save par on the 17th, it was over.

Spieth had led after seven straight rounds at the Masters, a streak that ended in a most cruel fashion. He shot 41 on the back nine for a 73, and was runner-up for the second time in three years.

Lee Westwood, playing with Willett, closed with a 69. He made eagle on the 15th hole to get within one shot of the lead, and then three-putted the 16th hole to fall away. Westwood has played in 72 majors without winning.

Dustin Johnson also had an outside chance, even after four putts for a double bogey on the fifth hole. He missed eagle putts from 15 feet and 20 feet on the par 5s on the back nine, and then took double bogey on the 17th. Johnson closed with a 71 and tied for fourth with Paul Casey (67) and J.B. Holmes (68).

Smylie Kaufman, one shot out of the lead in his Masters debut, closed with an 81.

Willett moves to No. 9 in the world. He once was the leading amateur in the world, only for his professional career to be slowed by back injuries. But he began to show his form on a big stage last year in the Match Play, and by winning in Dubai this year.

Police: Ex-Saint Will Smith gunned down in case of road rage

Police: Ex-Saint Will Smith gunned down in case of road rage

AP Photo
FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2010, file photo, New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) celebrates a 17-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons in an NFL football game in Atlanta. Smith was fatally shot after a traffic accident in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was shot and killed in a case of road rage by a man who had rear-ended his car, police said Sunday.

Smith was beloved by fans for his role in bringing a Super Bowl championship to New Orleans in 2009, though the defensive captain also found himself at the center of the NFL's bounty probe in 2012.

Smith's slaying rippled across the sports world, with figures from NBA star LeBron James to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offering their condolences. James said on Twitter: "So sad man. Good dude he was man!"

There was no indication Smith, 34, knew 28-year-old Cordell Hayes before the deadly confrontation, or that anything except the car wreck led to the shooting. Hayes waited for police to arrive after the shooting and was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder. Police Superintendent Michael Harrison would not say whether Hayes claimed self-defense, citing the ongoing investigation.

Harrison said the former defensive end had dined just hours before the Saturday night crash with a police officer who had once been sued by Hayes, whose father was shot and killed by police in 2005. However, it was not clear if that played any role in the confrontation.

Hayes' Humvee H2 rear-ended Smith's Mercedes G63 about 11:30 p.m. Saturday in the upscale Lower Garden District, pushing it into a Chevrolet Impala driven by two of Smith's acquaintances. The two argued, and Hayes shot both Smith and Smith's wife, Racquel, police said. She was wounded in the leg and taken to a hospital.

The Smith family said in a statement that they were thankful for the outpouring of support but requested privacy as the family grieves for a "devoted husband, father and friend." Will and Racquel Smith have three children.

The couple had been at the French Quarter festival, an event that features local music and food, in the hours before the shooting. He posted a photo of himself and his wife on Twitter and Instagram with the caption: 

"Having a blast at the #fqf2016 @ French Quarter Fest."

Online court records show Hayes pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count each of possessing an illegal weapon and possessing drug paraphernalia.

He sued the New Orleans Police Department and six officers after police killed his father in 2005. The former officer who dined with Smith, William Ceravolo, was not present at the time of the crash, police spokesman Tyler Gamble said.

Police settled the lawsuit in 2011. The settlement is confidential, said attorney Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that suit.

Smith, a native of Queens, New York, played for Ohio State's 2002 national championship team and graduated in 2005 with a degree in criminology.

Ohio State athletics has "lost one of its best" - someone who led a defensive line that powered the team to the championship, the school said in a statement.

Smith was a first-round draft choice by New Orleans in 2004. He led the Saints with a career-high 13 sacks in 2009, when the club won its only Super Bowl. Smith's 67 ½ career sacks rank fourth in Saints history.

He last played in an NFL regular season game in 2012. During the 2013 preseason, a knee injury forced him onto injured reserve. He was signed in the 2014 offseason by New England but did not make the Patriots' regular season roster.

Smith was defensive captain for much of his career, but it was also that leadership role that landed him at the center of the NFL's bounty probe in 2012. The league concluded that Smith and fellow defensive captain Jonathan Vilma helped run a locker-room pool that paid cash bonuses for heavy and even injurious hits.

Smith was initially suspended four games but, with three other players, successfully appealed their suspensions and were never compelled to miss games, even as Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended the entire 2012 season.

A year earlier, however, Smith served a two-game suspension that stemmed from findings in 2008 that he and several other NFL players used a weight-loss product called StarCaps, which contained a diuretic banned by the league because it was known to mask steroid use. That suspension was enforced after legal challenges spanning several seasons.

Off the field, Smith took an active role in trying to improve children's lives, establishing a foundation called, Where There's A Will, There's A Way. Its stated mission is "to motivate, educate and provide opportunities for women and children."

"The Saints family is hurting and devastated as it has lost a member too young and too soon," Saints owner Tom Benson said in a statement.

Friday, April 8, 2016

'Straight Outta Compton' & Into the Rock Hall: N.W.A's 10 Best Songs, Ranked

'Straight Outta Compton' & Into the Rock Hall: N.W.A's 10 Best Songs, Ranked


After passing over N.W.A for the past three years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voters are including the seminal gangsta rap group from Compton, California, among its 31st annual group of inductees on Friday night (April 8) -- along with first-time nominees Chicago, Cheap Trick and The Steve Miller Band and third-timer Deep Purple. N.W.A becomes only the fifth rap group to be so honored, joining Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.
Perhaps the success of the hit biopic Straight Outta Compton gave them the extra push they needed. While the film garnered just one Oscar nomination -- for Best Original Screenplay -- it was one of the top 20 movies of 2015, raking in over $160 million domestic gross that year alone. How's that for “The Strength of Street Knowledge”? Whether the group ends up rapping at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony at the Barclays Center (Ice Cube says no), they will be permanently immortalized for changing the face of hip hop, pop music, and American culture with songs like these:

10. Ice Cube feat. N.W.A, "Hello" (2000)
Released on Ice Cube’s 2000 album War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc), this reunion of Cube, Dr. Dre and MC Ren occurred nine years after the group officially disbanded. But the song serves as a look back of the group’s legacy. “I started this gangsta shit,” goes the hook, “And this the motherf---in’ thanks I get?” Dre’s beat, a steaming slab of future funk circa Chronic 2001, and his verse may steal the show, but Cube and Ren represent well, showing that the old chemistry was still there and making “Hello” a fitting farewell to the N.W.A era at the dawn of a new millennium.

 9. N.W.A, "Dopeman" (1987)
First released as the B-side to Eazy-E’s “Boyz-N-Tha-Hood,” this aggressive slice of life opens with a skit in which a desperate cokehead tries to trade a rope chain for a $20 bag of cocaine. The rawness of the track, with its rapidfire drum-machine rolls, provided a perfect complement to Ice Cube’s aggressive flow: “N---a begging for credit, he's knocking out teeth/ Clocking much dollars on the 1st and 15th.” How real is that?

 8. N.W.A, "Real N****s Don't Die" (1991)
As the first track off N.W.A’s second album N---az4Life (often written as Efil4Zaggin), the group’s first full release since Ice Cube’s acrimonious departure, this song was more than just highly ancticipated -- it was a true show-and-prove moment. The remaining core members knew they had to come extra hard on this one to show they had not lost their edge. Sampling the hook from Rare Earth’s “I Just Want to Celebrate,” Dre did his best to set a carefree tone, but all the shots at Cube made it clear that the stakes were very high.

 7.  N.W.A, "Alwayz Into Somethin'" (1991)
Hailed as an early example of the G-Funk sound Dre would unveil the following year on The Chronic, this rough and rugged track -- featuring guest ad-libs from dancehall reggae artist Admiral D -- contains a pointed reference to former member Ice Cube (government name O’Shea Jackson): “Dre I was speakin' to your bitch O’Shea.” Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed.

 6. N.W.A, "100 Miles and Runnin'" (1990)
The title track from a 1990 EP released in the wake of Ice Cube’s departure from the group, this song was the opening shot in a beef that ended when Cube dropped the knockout punch that was “No Vaseline.” Taking an early lead, MC Ren, Dre and Eazy do their best to paint Cube as a fugitive on the run, although he left the group over a contractual dispute. “You don’t really think you’re gonna get away do you?” an ominous snatch of movie dialog says. Later, Dre raps, “Started with five and, yo, one couldn't take it/ So now there's four 'cause the fifth couldn't make it.” Turning industry chatter into musical drama, this seemed like a savvy move until Cube got the last laugh. "100 Miles…" still stands as a dope record as well as a document of history.

 5. N.W.A, "Gangsta Gangsta" (1988)
Sampling BDP’s “My Philosophy on the hook, Dr. Dre set forth a mission statement of sorts for his group. “You don't like how I'm livin', well f--- you!” Filled front to back with quotables -- “I’m the type of n---a that’s built to last/ If you f--- with me I put a foot in your ass” -- “Gangsta Gangsta” ends with an Eazy-E verse that contains an ominous exchange, foreshadowing his eventual demise: [female voices] “We want to f--- you, Eazy!" “I want to f--- you too.”

 4. Eazy-E, "Boyz-N-Tha-Hood" (1987)
Though not officially an N.W.A record, this was the single that started it all. Pressed up on the now-defunct Macola label and sold at the Compton Swap Meet, “Boyz-N-Tha-Hood” was a viral hit before the rise of the Internet. What Eric Wright lacked in microphone skills, he more than made up for in conviction. His high-pitched voice was not the usual MC sound, but the blunt force of his lyrics -- usually penned by Ice Cube -- stood out. The song was so raw, so unlike anything else before it, that the streets had to have it. Not only did this record’s success jump-start the formation of the group N.W.A, it also gave its title to John Singleton’s 1991 coming of age flick, which would launch Cube’s acting career.

 3. N.W.A, "Express Yourself" (1988)
Built around an irresistible James Brown sample, this was the group’s least profane and most radio-friendly record. The brilliance of Dre’s opening couplet: “I'm expressing with my full capabilities/ And now I'm living in correctional facilities” has been somewhat overshadowed by the irony of his claim not to smoke weed “'cause it’s known to give a brother brain damage.” Four years later, of course, he would release his solo debut, The Chronic.

 2. N.W.A, "F--- Tha Police" (1988)
Fearlessly speaking truth to power, the second track of Straight Outta Compton was incendiary enough to put these young black men and their record label on an FBI watch list. The controversy around the song’s lyrics was put into a new context four years after its release when L.A. erupted in mass riots following the police beating of Rodney King. The song -- whose title has become a rallying cry for rebel movements across the globe -- remains as relevant as ever, with police violence continuing to spark protests across the U.S. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Police Commission called for an overhaul of the LAPD’s guidelines on the use of deadly force, after learning that L.A. police officers used force almost 2,000 times last year, including 21 fatal shootings.

 1. N.W.A, "Straight Outta Compton" (1988)
Though it might not be the most dangerous part of the Los Angeles metro area, this working-class city just south of downtown L.A. became a symbol for everything that was wrong with urban America thanks to the first track from N.W.A’s 1988 album of the same name. Dr. Dre’s relentless beat, punctuated with screeching tires and machine-gun fire, provided a fitting sounded for a “crazy motherf---er named Ice Cube” to catch wreck alongside MC Ren and Eazy-E. As Cube noted, the song was “a murder rap to keep y’all dancing,” but N.W.A were also “the world’s most dangerous group.” Hip-hop would never be the scene.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

N.W.A Won't Perform at 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony, Ice Cube Says

N.W.A Won't Perform at 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony, Ice Cube Says


Ice Cube photographed on Feb. 5, 2015 at Page 71 in Los Angeles.

Despite the iconic hip-hop group's applause-worthy induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, N.W.A won't be performing at the prestigious event on Friday at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. 

In a recent interview with The New York Times, rapper/actor Ice Cube revealed that the crew (comprised of Cube, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, MC Ren and the late Eazy-E) won't reunite for a performance.
"Nah, we’re not performing. I guess we really didn’t feel like we were supported enough to do the best show we could put on," he said. When asked if the no-show was due to organizers, Cube continued, "Pretty much, yeah. We wanted to do it on a whole other level, and that just couldn’t happen. But we’re totally honored, humbled and appreciative to the Hall for even just considering us, inducting us and inviting us."

Cube also addressed Kiss legend Gene Simmons' comments about rappers' inclusion in the Rock Hall. "I respect Gene Simmons, but I think he’s wrong on this, because rock ’n’ roll is not an instrument and it’s not singing," said the MC. "Rock ’n’ roll is a spirit. N.W.A is probably more rock ’n’ roll than a lot of the people that he thinks belong there over hip-hop. We had the same spirit as punk rock, the same as the blues."

 Reps for the Rock Hall and Ice Cube did not immediately respond to Billboard's requests for comment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Country icon Merle Haggard, champion of the underdog, dies

Country icon Merle Haggard, champion of the underdog, dies
AP Photo
FILE - In this May 28, 2003 file photo, country music legend Merle Haggard smiles during a news conference at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington where he and his sister Lillian Haggard Hoge donated belongings taken on their family's Dust Bowl-era move from Oklahoma to California on Route 66. Haggard died of pneumonia, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Palo Cedro, Calif. He was 79.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Country giant Merle Haggard, who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as "Okie From Muskogee" and "Sing Me Back Home," died Wednesday at 79, on his birthday.

Haggard's manager, Frank Mull, said the country icon died in Palo Cedro, California, of pneumonia that he had been battling for months. His publicist, Tresa Redburn, said no official cause of death has been determined.

He had kept up an ambitious touring schedule, but the pneumonia in both lungs had forced him to cancel several shows this year. Mull said his family was by his side when he died at home and they were planning a funeral for Saturday at his home.

A masterful guitarist, fiddler and songwriter as well as singer, the Country Music Hall of Famer with the firm, direct baritone recorded for more than 40 years, releasing dozens of albums and No. 1 hits.

"He was my brother, my friend. I will miss him," said Willie Nelson, his longtime friend, in a statement. Tanya Tucker recalled fondly the time they ate bologna sandwiches by the river: "I just can't imagine a world without Merle. It's so hard to accept, but I'll continue honoring him on stage just as I do during every show."

The White House called Haggard a "legend" and said President Barack Obama was sending his thoughts and prayers to Haggard's family. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Haggard told stories that people from all walks of American life could relate to.

"His passing is a loss for country music, but obviously is a loss for all the people who got to know him personally, too," Earnest said.

Haggard - along with fellow California country star Buck Owens - was a founder of the twangy Bakersfield Sound, a direct contrast to the smooth, string-laden country records popular in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1960s.

His music was rough yet sensitive, reflecting on childhood, marriage and daily struggles, telling stories of shame and redemption, or just putting his foot down in "The Fightin' Side of Me" and "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink."

His most beloved songs included the prison ballad "Sing Me Back Home," the tributes to his mother "Mama Tried" and "Hungry Eyes," the romantic lament "Today I Started Loving You Again" and such blue collar chronicles as "If We Make It Through December" and "Workin' Man Blues."

"We've lost one of the greatest writers and singers of all time. His heart was as tender as his love ballads," said Dolly Parton. "I loved him like a brother."

Few faces in country were as recognizable as Haggard's, with its wary, sideways glance and chiseled, haunted features that seemed to bear every scar from his past.

General audiences knew him best for "Okie From Muskogee," a patriotic anthem released in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War that quickly became a cultural touchstone for its anti-hippie lyrics proclaiming "we don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street; we like living right and being free."

"Okie from Muskogee" made him a hero among conservatives, but he softened on the counterculture and released the lighthearted "Big Time Annie's Square," a tribute to a hippie girl and her "crazy world." More recently, he was a backer of prominent Democrats. In 2007 he unveiled a song to promote Hillary Clinton and two years later he penned "Hopes Are High" to commemorate Obama's inauguration. In "America First," he even opposed the Iraq War, singing "Let's get out of Iraq, and get back on track."

In 1970, Haggard was named entertainer of the year by the Country Music Association, and "Okie From Muskogee" won best album and single. The No. 1 hits "Mama Tried" and "Workin' Man Blues" also broke onto the charts around that time, sealing his reputation as one of country's defining voices. He picked up another CMA album of the year in 1972 for "Let Me Tell You About a Song."

Still, Haggard referred to the improvisations of his band, the Strangers, as "country jazz," and in 1980, became the first country artist to appear on the cover of the jazz magazine "Downbeat."

"Merle Haggard was an original. Not just a singer, not just a songwriter, not just another famous performer. He was your common everyday working man," said Hank Williams Jr.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, the same year he won a Grammy for best male country vocal performance in "That's the Way Love Goes."

Haggard also began headlining at Farm Aid, the benefit founded by his longtime friend Willie Nelson, and started touring with Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

Along with his albums of original songs, he recorded tributes to such early influences as country pioneer Jimmy Rodgers and Western swing king Bob Wills, and paired up with Nelson and George Jones among others. He also resisted the slick arrangements favored by some pop-country stars.

"I'll tell you what the public likes more than anything," he told the Boston Globe in 1999. "It's the most rare commodity in the world - honesty."

The Byrds, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grateful Dead, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams and Reba McEntire all covered his songs, while many others paid tribute to him in theirs. In the Dixie Chicks' "Long Time Gone, which criticizes Nashville trends, the trio crooned: "We listen to the radio to hear what's cookin' / But the music ain't got no soul / Now they sound tired but they don't sound Haggard."

His childhood was out of a John Steinbeck novel; his family migrated from Oklahoma to California and lived as outsiders in their adopted state. Born in 1937 near Bakersfield, Haggard was raised in a converted railway boxcar, the only dwelling his parents could afford. When Haggard was 9, his beloved father suddenly fell ill and died, leaving Haggard with lasting grief. He turned to petty crime and spent several years in and out of institutions.

He served three years in San Quentin as inmate 845200 for burglarizing a cafe during a drunken spree. It was during that stint he saw Johnny Cash play, and he returned to Bakersfield at age 22 in 1960 ready to write music. Singer-bandleader Wynn Stewart was an early patron, hiring Haggard to play bass in his group. Haggard's first hit was a cover of Stewart's "Sing a Sad Song" and by 1966 he had been voted most promising vocalist by the Academy of Country and Western Music. He became a superstar in 1967, first with a cover of Liz Anderson's "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," then with such originals as "Sing Me Back Home" and "The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde," featuring Glen Campbell on banjo.

Fame brought him unexpected respectability. His criminal record was erased by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, who pardoned him in 1972, and he was invited by President Richard Nixon to sing at the White House. Officials in Kern County, where he spent his boyhood years, have since honored his legacy by renaming a portion of road Merle Haggard Drive.

Haggard was active as ever in his 70s, and received strong reviews for his 2010 album "I Am What I Am." He lived his last years outside Redding with his fifth wife, Theresa Lane. Haggard previously was married to singer Leona Williams, and to country crooner Bonnie Owens, the former wife of Buck Owens, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He is survived by six children, Marty, Dana, Kelli, Noel, Jenessa and Ben, and his sister Lillian Haggard Rea.

When doctors found a spot on his lung in 2008, Haggard announced he didn't plan to seek treatment. But after friends and family members convinced him otherwise, he had a tumor removed and vowed to keep performing.

"When I quit doing them (tours), the next big event is the funeral," he told the AP in a 1990 interview. "They keep me young."

Monday, April 4, 2016

Defense Will Be The Key To Villanova’s Success Vs. UNC

Defense Will Be The Key To Villanova’s Success Vs. UNC

 Villanova defense 

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 02: Ryan Arcidiacono #15 of the 
Villanova Wildcats and Kris Jenkins #2 reach for the ball in the 
first half against the Oklahoma Sooners during the NCAA Men's 
Final Four Semifinal at NRG Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Houston, 

 PHILADELPHIA (CBS)Defense, defense, defense, it’s what has carried Villanova to the brink of winning its second NCAA championship and first in 31 years. That’s what will be the key Monday night when the Wildcats (34-5) face North Carolina (33-6) at the NRG Stadium, in Houston, Texas, in the NCAA Tournament title game at 9:19 p.m. ET on TBS.
In consecutive games, the Wildcats held Kansas (59) and Oklahoma (61) to season lows in points. Villanova has done it with a stifling defense and great intensity.

The Wildcats handled Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, who was held to 9 points on 4 for 12 shooting. The Wildcats took Hield completely out of his game. He had 7 points at the half on 3 of 8 shooting and 1-for-5 from three-point range. Each time Hield touched the ball, he immediately had the attention of every Villanova player on the floor. It wasn’t just one player either that made Hield feel uncomfortable. He was passed off from one player to the next, eliminating any miscommunication on the switches.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Brotherly battle between Jenkins, Britt for national title

Brotherly battle between Jenkins, Britt for national title
AP Photo
FILE - I this Sunday, March 27, 2016, file photo, North Carolina's Nate Britt, right, and Villanova's Kris Jenkins celebrate after North Carolina won a regional final men's college basketball game against Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament in Philadelphia. North Carolina won 88-74 to advance to the Final Four. Jenkins and Britt, brothers in every way except blood, are giving each other the silent treatment for about 48 hours.

HOUSTON (AP) -- Kris Jenkins and Nate Britt, brothers in every way except blood, are giving each other the silent treatment for about 48 hours.

Maybe they will exchange a "good luck" or a fist bump before Jenkins and Villanova (34-5) face Britt and North Carolina (33-6) on Monday night in the NCAA Tournament championship game. Otherwise, "Nah," Jenkins said, "no talking."

It's the biggest competition yet between a couple guys who grew up trying to beat each other in everything. While the Wildcats-Tar Heels matchup might be a no-lose situation for the Britt family, for the players involved there will definitely be only one winner.

"Whoever wins the game, obviously the other one is going to be hurt and going to feel bad," Britt said. 

"That'll be permanent bragging rights for the rest of our lives."

Jenkins and Britt met as 10-year-olds playing AAU basketball in the Washington D.C. area. Eventually, Jenkins started playing for a team coached by Britt's father and spending lots of time at the Britts' home - especially when Jenkins' mother, Felicia, was spending almost all of her time at the hospital with her ailing infant daughter. Kori was 11 months old when she died.

When Felicia Jenkins, a former college basketball player, got a job coaching at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, she felt it would be best for Kris to stay with the Britts in Maryland permanently. 

In 2007, the Britts became Jenkins' legal guardians.

"It's been the greatest decision that's ever happened in my life," Jenkins said.

Villanova coach Jay Wright said Britt, not Jenkins, was his priority when he took a recruiting visit to the Britt home.

"We liked Kris, but we thought he's overweight and he's not going to do all the stuff we do," Wright said.

But the 6-foot-6 Jenkins, who weighed as much as 280 pounds back in high school, liked what he heard from Wright. He ended up committing to Villanova, and dropping 40 pounds, and Britt chose North Carolina.

When the Tar Heels and Wildcats played each other in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Jenkins and Britt watched the game together, rooting for their future schools - and not talking to each other. They trash texted each other and didn't even sit on the same couch.

"That was fun," Britt said. North Carolina won 78-71.

The Britts have spent the past few weeks bouncing around the country watching their sons play. Last weekend, they managed to attend all four Elite Eight games, two in Philadelphia (where North Carolina played) and two in Louisville (were Villanova played). Jenkins even attended North Carolina's East Regional championship victory against Notre Dame.

Nate Britt, the 6-1 guard who averages 5.5 points off the bench, said he does not know which section his parents and sister will be sitting Monday night.

"I tried to ask them how they would remain neutral, what they would wear, but they didn't tell me," Britt said.

Jenkins, second on Villanova in scoring (13.5 per game), remains close with his birth parents. He says he has two families. And he roots for North Carolina all the time. Well, almost.

"I do hope he plays well," Jenkins said. "I hope he's injury free and things like that. But there's nobody in the world I want to beat more than my brother."

Some things to watch for when Villanova plays North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time (the Tar Heels are 5-1).
Both teams like to play with two point guards on the floor at once. For Villanova, it's senior Ryan Arcidiacono and freshman Jalen Brunson. For North Carolina, it's senior Marcus Paige and sophomore Joel Berry II.

"It's always good to have multiple ball handlers and creators out there," Paige said. "You saw last night against the (Syracuse) zone, Joel was able to penetrate the gaps and I was able to knock down some shots. 

And other nights I have a matchup where I can get in the paint and create things. And Villanova does the same thing with Brunson and Arcidiacono."
Villanova's only national championship was one of the most famous upsets in the history of not just the NCAA Tournament, but in all of American sports. The 1985 Wildcats upset Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the final with a near perfect performance.

"It's something we're always reminded of," Brunson said.

Wildcats coach Rollie Massimino, 81, told USA Today Sports that he planned to attend Monday night's game. He lives in Florida.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams can make history by becoming the sixth coach with at least three NCAA titles. He would match Bobby Knight and Jim Calhoun with three, and surpass his mentor and former North Carolina coach, the late Dean Smith.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Villanova throttles Oklahoma to advance to the national title game

HOUSTON — As he exited the floor at halftime of his team's Final Four clash with Oklahoma, Villanova's Daniel Ochefu turned around to glance at the NRG Stadium scoreboard one more time.

It was as if he wanted to make sure his eyes weren't deceiving him.

The team that lost by 23 points in the first meeting between the Sooners and Wildcats held a double-digit lead. The team that faced questions about how it would stop Buddy Hield all week was stifling the national player of the year like few opponents have all year. The team with a reputation for early NCAA tournament exits already was well on its way to the national title game.

In a display of dominance few expected leading up to Saturday's game, Villanova throttled Oklahoma 95-51 to earn a title shot on Monday night against either North Carolina or Syracuse. The Wildcats led by 14 points at halftime and delivered the knockout punch early in the second half en route to a result that shattered the record for largest margin of victory in a national semifinal. 

There were many heroes for Villanova on a night when it silenced all talk of NRG Stadium's poor sight lines for shooters by hitting a jaw-dropping 71.4 percent of their field goal attempts.

Josh Hart scored a game-high 23 points on 10-for-12 shooting, punishing Oklahoma on everything from put-backs, to driving layups, to pull-up jumpers. Ryan Arcidiacono, Kris Jenkins, Mikal Bridges and Ochefu each also scored in double figures as the Wildcats shredded a Sooners defense ranked in the top 15 nationally all season.

If back-to-back second-round exits inspired doubts about Villanova's legitimacy entering the NCAA tournament, it's safe to say the Wildcats have answered any lingering questions. They're now on the precipice of capturing Villanova's second championship, joining the miraculous 1985 team that entered as a No. 8 seed yet toppled heavily favored Georgetown in the national title game.

The roots of Saturday's victory can be traced back to the first meeting between the Wildcats and Sooners back on Dec. 7. Oklahoma cruised to a 78-55 rout, a result that provided Villanova a barometer for what a national title contender looked like and a reminder of what the Wildcats had to fix to become one.

Over the next few months, Villanova evolved into a team that moved the ball unselfishly, displayed prudent shot selection and defended with cohesiveness and communication. As a result, the Wildcats cruised to a third straight Big East title and survived the toughest NCAA tournament draw of any of the four teams in Houston en route to their first Final Four since 2009.

While many of Oklahoma's previous opponents either face-guarded Hield to prevent him from touching the ball or sent multiple defenders at him to force him to give it up, the memory of the Sooners' balanced scoring in the first meeting between the teams led Villanova to try a different approach. Instead of assigning its top defender to shadow Hield, the Wildcats trusted their defensive principles, guarded him by committee and switched every ball screen Oklahoma set.

Whether it was Hart, Bridges, Arcidiacono or Brunson matched up against Hield, the approach was always the same: Make him put the ball on the floor and don't let him catch and shoot. The result was Hield scoring nine points on 4-for-12 shooting, one of his worst performances of the season and well below the 29 points he had averaged in four previous NCAA tournament games.

Villanova Vs. Oklahoma: What To Watch For

Villanova Vs. Oklahoma: What To Watch For

 (credit: Darryl Oumi/Getty Images) 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Throw out the previous game between Oklahoma and Villanova, won by the Sooners, 78-55, on Dec. 7, 2015. It seems like a lifetime ago and it should, considering the way both of these teams have played to reach Saturday’s Final Four at NRG Stadium, in Houston, Texas.

The Wildcats are nowhere the team they were then, and Oklahoma may be a little than it was then, too. Villanova also knows the task at hand in stopping the Sooners’ offensively explosive 6-foot-4 senior guard Buddy Hield, who is averaging 25.4 points a game.

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