We get so many signs and clues that inaugurate the start of something. When we see certain commercials we know fall is upon us and when we start to see the leaves grow we know spring is here. For the Hip Hop community when the 1st Sunday in June rolls around we know Summer is right around the corner, cause Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert says so!! [Read more…] about Summer Jam Is The Biggest Concert Of The Year
Many art enthusiast would agree that art is objective. As we know, a persons perception on life and feelings will dictate how they observe things, this is the main reason why many of us appreciate art. For that very moment, we enter the mind of the artist. [Read more…] about Fab 5 Freddy Unveils His New Art Exhibit at Pioneer Works
You really can’t get any bigger when it comes to legends in the came then you can with the one and only Redman. Redman, who has been active in the hip-hop industry for 25 years now, is still going strong as ever and staying as relevant as ever. Born right outside NYC in Newark, New Jersey, Redman has had his hands successfully in multiple different business ventures outside of his illustrious career in the hip-hop game. From television, movies, video games and more, Redman’s unique personality and consistent drive in doing what he loves show in everything he does. He is a personal favorite of mine since I was a kid in the 90’s and continues to be many years later.
Now Redman has a brand new single he just released called “Dope Man” from his newest album called “Mudface”, due in stores on October 30th. We at Manhattan Digest were blessed to interview Redman about his single and album, his longevity in the industry, current favorites, and why women’s feet are part of his upcoming plans. For real. Check it out.
The song “Dope Man’s” chorus goes- “Hey Mr. Dope Man you’re a star, I love your gold chains and your fancy car”. Is Dope Man really you? What drove the inspiration for this song?
Yes I’m referring DOPEMAN as me! Meaning my lyrics and music is the DOPE people are fiending for… People are complaining about the same sounding music on the radio!! So it’s up to the DOPEMAN to supply the hood with the Goodness !!
You also have a new album coming out in October called “Mud Face”. What can your fans expect from that album?
MudFace album is an album I put together for my fans and to keep relevancy, till MUDDY WATERS 2 album come out..!! I’m independent now, so I have to keep music out there to create other revenues of business !!
Are you planning a tour to support the album?
Yes i always do a tour run on every album..Mudface Tour i will be in a city near you SOON !!!
It will be 23 years on September 22nd since your debut album “Whut? Thee Album” has been released. What is the best advice you would give to new artists in the industry that want to find longevity and relevancy that you have paved the way for?
For new artists to create longevity path as I did… to be able to still drop music 23 years later and still be Hot??? Here are some steps.
- Go against the Grain!
- Stay mastering your craft!
- Love your Momma and Kids !
- Never let em see you sweat !
- Don’t do reality shows !
- Have a good team that will keep you Brand Name Monumental..
- GO OVERSEAS AND PUT ON GREAT PERFORMANCES as WELL AS YOUR OWN COUNTRY !!
- Know your History on this Rap shit !!..It is a business !!
- MAKE good connections and know the right PEOPLE !!
- Make sure your Hood and City respects you for you and the work you doing and did to Rep your state !!
Do you have a favorite moment of your career that sticks out for you?
My favorite moment in my career would be the Day I met EPMD which was one of my favorite Rap Duo and then moved to Long Island… that’s when my career started !! God is Good !!
Who currently is your favorite artist in hip hop and who would you love to collaborate with?
My favorite artists are still Slick Rick, Krs One, IceCube, NWA & EPMD. These are the groups and guys that built me !!
I’m curious to know what your take is on the hip-hop industry today. Where is it excelling and where do you think it is lacking?
My ERA ( Biggie ,Snoop, Eminem D12, Jay Z, Tribe Called Quest Dogg Pound ,Wu Tang,Beanie Siegal,Kanye West,Naughty By Nature,Lords of Underground, Keith Murray,Busta Rymes Flip Mode,OutSiders, G-Unit,Game,Mobb Deep, R.I.P Sean Price and Helter Skeltah ,Lil Kim, The Pharcyde, The Roots, Xzibit, Boot Camp,UGK,Smiff and Wesson,Common,Scar Face,Camp Lo,Pete Rock Cl Smooth,Organized Confusion,Slum Village,Craig Mack,Choclair,Kardinal Official, ETC….
New Era I listen to Kendrick Lamar, School Boy Q TDE ,GunPlay , J Cole , Dope D.O.D , Rick Ross, Asap Rocky, Asap Mob, Drake, Che Grand, Jneiro Jarel, Boogie.
I want to collaborate with everyone !! Everybody on one track goin in!!
I’m curious to know what your take is on the hip-hop industry today. Where is it excelling and where do you think it is lacking?
I love Hip-Hop ! It provides jobs and allows and average person to become somebody !! The state of HipHop NOW; the music is sounding the same.. and that’s what people and fans complaining about. But hey it’s still provides jobs to my people my culture… the future of Hip-Hop will continue to grow and be that universal language !!
What other upcoming projects do you have coming up that your fans would like to know about?
My up and coming projects are-
MUDFACE ALBUM- Oct 30 2015
MUDDY WATERS 2- 2016
BLACKOUT 3- 2016
HOW HIGH 2- 2017 or 2018
Also I’m directing and producing behind the scenes in Hollywood. I started and production company with my Business partner Laura Irvine called UGLYJONES ! We are producing a show now called “Who Got Heat”; a street version of American Idol.. I feel there’s not enough artists getting recognized so we want to help with a platform to be seen… also we will give back to the community each city we run show at…stay tuned for details… show is fucking Hot !
Also I love woman who have beautiful FEET..Oh God… whewww !! I wanna create a High Heel Open Toe Sandal for woman !!! That is my top goal… So as you see i have another 8 to 10 years worth of work to do, and I’m gonna do it !! AND THAT’S HOW YOU KEEP RELEVANT FOR 23 YEARS BOYIIIEEEE !!
Since my middle school days back in the late 90’s I have been a huge Trina fan. In a time where hip hop was thriving at such a lightning speed, Trina really grew with it and had a firm understanding of not only the culture but herself as an artist as well. First appearing with Trick Daddy on the hits song “Nann” which then catapulted her into her own solo career with monster hits like “Here We Go” featuring Kelly Rowland, “B R Right” featuring Ludacris and “No Panties” featuring Tweet.
To have longevity in this industry is not the easiest thing to do with its chew em up and spit em out mentality, however Trina seems to have stuck by it with ease. Over fifteen years into her career, she is still more popular then ever with selling out concerts, appearing on major television shows and just releasing a brand new hit single called “Real One” featuring Rico Love. With all that is going around “The Diamond Princess”, Trina was nice enough to sit down with me at Manhattan Digest to talk about it all. From beginnings to now, women in the industry and everything in between, Trina let us have it. Take a look.
You recently performed at Mid-Center America in Iowa. What can your fans expect when they see a Trina concert?
I try to ensure that my fans are enjoying the show and I make it a point to attempt to interact with my fans as much as possible. We as entertainers always should show appreciation for their continuous support, and I have remained vibrant in Hip Hop for so long due to such support so I ensure that at all of my shows my fans are engaged and enjoying the performance.
You recently released a song called “Real One”. It is great! Does this mean we have another album coming from you?
Thank you so much, I am glad that you like the track featuring Rico Love and produced by him. Yes, I am in a happy place within my career whereas I have full control and my sixth studio album will be released under my own imprint entitled Rockstarr Music Group. I am transforming currently in life, and it feels absolutely amazing as a woman in Music and to have fans supporting my movement worldwide!
I want to talk about the history that is Trina. Did you expect 15 years into this that you would still be in the game, making music and being relevant?
Honestly, I never expected any of this as a career, especially when it comes to making music. As I look back when I started, at times, I am still wowed by how my career has evolved and to remain as the most consistent female emcee to date thus far, that is just a feeling that I can describe in words. I just want to be remembered and recognized for paving the way for future female emcees who want to remain consistent in all of their endeavors including musically and beyond. It takes making mistakes, learning the business behind the industry and making yourself become more aware and involved in your business, and having a team who sees your vision beyond what you may see.
For any aspiring rapper or singer, what advice would you give them in order to go the distance in this industry?
Learn the business behind the music, become involved in knowing your business and where you are within it especially financially. Become a boss by being knowledgeable of your business and where you want it to go.
What is your take on women in the industry? It seems that in recent years it has shifted again to become very male dominant. Why is that?
Women in the industry: this topic is so intense and truly has been an issue for some time now. I definitely feel as though we as women need to set aside our emotions aside and just do business, make money and great movements together as the male counterparts are able to do. Just think of how many other women in Hip Hop can become known as consistent if this is done! On the other hand, women in the business aspect and behind the scenes are becoming more vibrant and relevant and running the business sector better and even at a stronger pace than the males. It has always been a make dominant industry, just more visible now!
What about the industry overall, do you think its thriving?
The industry is evolving digitally because our world is becoming more digital and aligned more with the wave and expansion of communication via technology. There are always ups and downs when any type of industry is advancing in ways versus declining in others. Consumers matter, and their input and opinions more so now in the industry via social media, and that alone matters more because of the digital uprising in the music industry.
Are there any current artists you would like to work with and why?
I would love to collab with Rihanna, Beyoncé and possibly a few pop artists. I have done so many records with so many amazing talents nationally, but if I had to select off the top of my head, it would definitely be these two beautiful and talented ladies.
Looking back on your illustrious career, was there one specific moment that you are most proud of?
I am proud of it all, from the mistakes to the accomplishments. I am most proud of starting my transition to date with my own record label imprint and grooming talent within such. My first artist under my label is Brittney Taylor who is from NYC, she is amazing and talented and we just released her debut mixtape project titled “Jack Rabbit” which can be streamed and downloaded via Datpiff online.
What was your experience like when you did Drag Race last year? For most people that was their favorite episode that season.
RuPaul and the entire staff was absolutely AMAZING in all aspects, and I had so much fun working the entire cast and including Eve as she too was a special guest on that episode.
What’s in store for the future of Trina?
More music, building of my brand beyond music and just enjoying life daily!
Thanks for sitting down with me Trina!
Thank you Ryan for the interview as always, xoxo @TRINARockstarr
Who Is The Greatest MC Of All Time?
Such as the endless debate of which came first, the chicken or the egg, is equal if not less than the debate over who is the greatest MC of all time in the hip hop game. Long talked about for almost thirty years now, hip hop heads from across the world have spoken their mind on who they personally think is the best for whatever particular reason they think it might be. Factors like longevity, impact, the ability to spit ill shit on a dime and overall persona are just some of the reasons why students of the hip hop university we all know and love claim why their personal number one is the best. So what happens when you get three eager and green students together to discuss this epic battle of King King in the hip hop world? [Read more…] about Best MC’s Of All Time- A Candid Discussion
I am admittedly a sci-fi nerd. The other day I was reading about jazz musician, performance artist, and Afrofuturist philosopher Sun Ra and his iconic work Space Is the Place.
It got me thinking about the fact that futurism has continued to find its way into fashion and aesthetic concepts, from Jean Paul Gaultier’s costume design for The Fifth Element to singer Janelle Monae’s Metropolis cycle.
Something about the distant future inspires us to imagine new possibilities and make bolder aesthetic choices. When I was researching for my performance piece about an extra-dimensional traveler, Arken: Searching for Wonder, I sought out images of futuristic fashion for inspiration. Here are a few images and designers that excite my mind.
This editorial from Numéro Homme called “Manhattan Psycho” effortlessly merges classic style with a sci-fi sensibility.
Coco and Breezy’s entire line of edgy accessories has futuristic overtones, but its “20/20” campaign is all about what accessorizing will mean in the future: “‘Planet C &&B’ is a world that consists only of fresh air and extreme sunlight where normal eyes cannot stand to view without being covered.”
Kay Kwok presented some out-of-this-world design concepts at his FW14 fashion week show in London. I don’t know if I’d wear this stuff on a regular trip to the grocery store, but I wouldn’t mind owning one of those visors, and I’m sure I’d cause a splash if I received dinner guests in that ET two-piece.
Lee Roach’s line has a much more subtle sci-fi flavor as he makes use of shiny materials and contemplates how our evolution will result in more streamlined fashion, by eliminating collars and lapels, for example.
Nasir Mazhar‘s FW14 collection updates men’s sportswear by exploring geometric shapes, distorted lines, quirky accessories, and shiny space suit sheen.
In the “Warriors” editorial, Holly Fox-Lee imagines how modern-day hip hop style might evolve, fusing it with an ancestral tribal aesthetic and taking it to extremes in terms of shape, scale, and materials.
This editorial called “The Visitors” in G7 magazine features my buddy Ulrico Eguizábal, who I met while I was modeling in Argentina. Not only does it use the concept of alien “visitors” to play with size and shape, but it also imagines a future style that challenges our current gender norms in fashion (thank goodness), using elements typically associated with femininity, like shoulder pads and long flowing fabrics, to highlight the male form in a fascinating new way.
Some of my favorite futuristic designs (and the ones I’d be most likely to wear in day-to-day life) come from Skingraft, which makes nuanced use of a lot of the earlier-mentioned elements, geometric shapes, extraterrestrial mystique, and interesting combinations of materials.
Finally, INAISCE is one of my personal favorite designers right now, in part because it incorporates futurism into its larger design concept to create clothing that is arresting, undeniably unique, and totally wearable. Not only do I absolutely love the campaign for Fall/Winter 2013, but I’m also ecstatic to see another tall African model, South Sudan native Ger Duany, take center stage with his beautiful, otherworldly features. Africans unite!
Coming to the end of the year, my brother and I began talking about who should write what best-of-the-year-lists for certain mediums. We both agreed that he should make a top 10 list for music, but the more he talked about his process towards completing a list, it made me wonder how much different a list by me would look. It made me realize that while I had enveloped just as much music this year as he did, there were just too many different genres and styles that I listened to, that I began to feel that a top-ten music list from me would be a nigh impossible task for me. That said, there is most certainly a genre of music that we both agree is more my area of expertise. That area is hip-hop music, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I simply needed to do a top ten list for it this year, and immediately!
I have to say 2013 was a great year for hip-hop, and one that really re-sparked my interest in the genre. I often say hip-hop music was my gateway drug towards becoming the music nerd that I am today, and this year proved actually nostalgic for me in that regard. There was just such a platitude of great artists working at the top of their game this year, from ones that recalled rap’s golden age in the 90s (Ka, Action Bronson), to highly popular acts moving rap even further into the 21rst century (Drake, Kanye West, Danny Brown), as well as some new alternative acts that seem to have already found their own unique niche that lays calmly in between these two points (Chance the Rapper, Earl Sweatshirt). I left off some albums that I deemed too “experimental” to carry the misnomer of hip-hop (with all due respect to the excellent albums Death Grips and The Weeknd put out this year), but I did include releases that artists were referring to as mix tapes this year (As holy shit, we saw some great “mixtapes in 2013!). So sit back, relax, and strap on your seat belts (courtesy of Dr. Dre I suppose), as this young journalist takes you down his top recommendations for 2013 rap music.
10. Le1f – Fly Zone/Tree House
I know it’s kind of cheating to put two mix-tapes on this list, but I feel that Fly Zone and Tree House both reflect such engaging-yet-conflicting sides of the New York beat-maker/rapper. Fly Zone is clearly the more upbeat of the two, with Le1f demonstrating that his unique talent for rapping over electronic beats could become a club sensation, while Tree House is smoother and sexier, and shows he could be Marvin Gaye if he wanted to. Like Action Bronson, I feel that Le1f is just warming up with this steady stream of mix-tape releases before giving us his first studio release sometime next year, but both of these records give us all something to be really excited for.
9. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
It took years to get here, and arrived after the whole hot topic of “Free Earl”, so it was a bit of a dismay when listeners of the 19-year old rapper’s major label debut record began calling the album “merely good”. Still, Earl Sweatshirt (easily the best rapper in the LA-based hip-hop collective Odd Future) made a very strong record here, and showed that his subject matter had evolved beyond the already-tired horror-core raps that had made his brand name popular among America’s impressionable youth. A little too abstract at times, as Earl’s rap persona is still a tough nut to crack, but a brilliantly rapped record with some of the most playful use of production you’ll see all year (check out the song Molasses to see what I mean).
8. Drake – Nothing Was the Same
I have to admit that at first I was a little upset with Drake’s third LP. I thought Take Care was a brilliant album that trumped his freshman release in every regard, and I found that Nothing Was the Same was a bit of a return to the style that was on Thank Me Later. Thing is, this album does indeed use the raw honesty that the rapper conveyed on Take Care, just in a flavor that’s closer to hip-hop, rather than the R+B stylings that saturated his last release. It’s overall a very moving listening experience, and Drake may very well go down as the Prince of our generation (at least until Andre 3000 finally starts putting out albums again!).
7. Pusha T – My Name is My Name
Clipse was one of the best hip-hop duos of the 2000s, and for Pusha T’s solo record he proves that he can hold his own without his brother Malice backing him up. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that he has Kanye West executive producing the record, but aside from the high-end production and polish, Pusha T shows he has the wit, charisma and energy to be his own voice, and not just another protege of Yeezy’s. Also, I just have to say that Kendrick Lamaar gives possibly the best guest spot of the year on Nosestalgia, and I already can’t wait to hear his next album!
6. Ghostface Killah – 12 Reasons to Die
After two decades of being the Wu-Tang Clan’s most eclectic and evolving emcee, one has to ask if there’s anything more the 43-year old veteran can do…clearly a lot! Enlisting American composer Adrian Younge (who supplied the soundtrack for the blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite), Ghosftace has given us a giallo-film-inspired concept album about a crime lord who is killed in a gang war, and then resurrected to lay bloody waste to his enemies. Spitting violent imagery and pulp narratives at a rate and quality that would make Tarantino proud (would it be asking too much for him to direct a film adaptation?), and featuring guest appearances by most of the other Wu-Tang Clan, as far as I’m concerned, this is the best thing to invoke the group’s spirit to come out of 36 Chambers 20th anniversary year. I’ve been calling Ghostface my favorite emcee for years now, and 12 Reasons to Die is proof enough to me that he’s going to remain so
5. Ka – The Night’s Gambit
If it wasn’t the most under-appreciated rap album of the year, then it’s only because not enough people listened to the damn thing! Ka, a Wu-Tang affiliate who some of you might have heard rap a solo track on the GZA album Pro-Tools, is that rare breed of rapper that uses his middle-age as a benefactor. At 41, Ka’s mindset seems to still be inherent to the 90s, with his talk of thug life, street poverty, and that era when New York was known as the Concrete Jungle, all while using eerie beats that recall early Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang. Yet he approaches these well-worn topics with a sense of maturity and wisdom, that lets you feel like you are really hearing the words of a wise street prophet, who has managed to survive the chaos of urban decay. Whether talking about spiritual re-awakening after violence, or rapping a street narrative that also happens to be a hip-hop history lesson (the track Off the Record incorporates the names of classic hip-hop records in the lyrics, similar to how the GZA referenced record companies on his famous track Labels), The Night’s Gambit is serious, no bull-shit, hardcore rap, and it’s up there with Savages’ Silence Yourself as one of the most awe-inspiring throwback albums of the year.
4. Chance the Rapper – Acip Rap
He’s barely out of his teens, raps while on drugs, often rhymes using the most nonsensical sentences, and he sounds like Ol’ Dirty Bastard as a pimply faced teenager with asthma…I love him already. The Chicago emcee is certainly unique, but it’s also surprising how heartfelt and thought provoking his songs can be. On songs like Acid Rap and Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro), the rapper brings up all his woes concerning death, addiction and loss of innocence, all while coming off as a cute-and-cuddly teddy bear who happens to be a chain smoker. I’m hoping that in the future Chance realizes that Acid Rap is just too good to be called a mix tape, and will indeed be seen as his proper debut (I felt something similar happened with Danny Brown’s XXX). Regardless, Acid Rap is my pick for best debut record from a rapper this year, and possibly the genre’s most unique new voice since Danny Brown.
3. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
El-P and Killer Mike both released great albums last year (which El-P both produced), so obviously the only question remaining was this: what if they made one together? Well, fans got their answer through Run the Jewels, a project that both rappers said was intended to merely be a fun little exercise for them, but it ended up being one of the best and most succinct hip-hop releases of the year. Over the album’s ten tracks, Killer Mike and El-P mostly restrain from being overtly political or meaningful, and instead just talk shit and try and have a good time. It’s a half-hour of witty verses, El-P’s futuristic beats, and an attitude that’s as tough-as-it-is-intelligent, and must be the most consistent and compact rap record this year. It sounds like a Method Man and Redman album from the year 2054, which sounds all the more awesome the more I think about it.
2. Kanye West – Yeezus
Technically it should be number 1 on this list, but something kept me from putting it there. No, it’s not that it’s too obvious, it’s more that I’m not exactly sure how well the album will age down the line. Right now, however, Yeezus is a brilliant release from hip-hop’s most discussed personality, and one that acts as sort of an inevitable destination point for him. While certainly a bizarre album, both lyrically and production wise, Yeezus is very much a culmination of all of Kanye’s past albums and his always evident obsessions, from his infatuation with his egotism, to his possibly clinical sex drive. At forty minutes also, the album is lean and filler-less, and even seems to fit the format of some of the synth-groups that Kanye appears to be imitating (i.e. Suicide, Throbbing Gristle). It’s still unclear whether Yeezus will go down as the rappers crowning achievement (might be hard to do, cause shit, that guy’s put out some really fucking good albums), but it’s likely that it will go down as his most Lynchian work. Like Eraserhad, I’m not entirely sure what it is or what the artist behind it is trying to say, but I am sure that it’s fantastic!
1. Danny Brown – Old
Is Danny Brown the single most crazy, endearing, vulgar, eclectic, distinct and original emcee in the game right now? That’s certainly a helluva claim (especially as a lot of those adjectives seem to contradict each other), but after listening to Danny’s latest release it’s hard to think of another. Over Old’s 19 tracks, the rapper touches on a plethora of different music styles that range from gangsta rap, to house, to alternative pop, while never breaking his singular character. What’s more, he’s a rapper that always has something to say, such as when he’ll spit party rhymes that are as ugly as they are lively, and then speak on darker issues such as his struggles with depression and addiction. Hell, as much as I love Danny Brown’s on-stage persona as a drug and sex fiend, I’m hoping he only continues to show more of his softer side on later records. A masterpiece of an album from a performer completely in control of his image and artistry
Clams Casino: Instrumentals 3
Similar Artists: Araab Muzik, Prefuse 73, Holy Other
Genre: Left-Field Hip-Hop
When people say “this guy is one of the best producers in the world” — and that’s something people say a lot when referring to New Jersey’s Mike Volpe (AKA Clams Casino) — what about him are they exactly referring to? Now, I’m not saying that Clammy Clams isn’t one of the best producers in the world, as few really do compare to this one in terms of style and a sense of forward thinkingness in regards to hip-hop beats, but we also get the feeling that he’s capable of doing much more in the way of artisticness. As it stands now, Clams has put out only a small handful of tracks that have remained memorable as purely instrumentals, and the micro-genre he briefly enacted known as “cloud-rap”, can pretty much be named DOA. Maybe I’m demanding too much from a producer who has yet to release a full-length worth of original material, but despite the quantitative amount of work he has done, there has only been a marginal amount to truly sink our teeth into, and that really bugs me.
Of course, tracks don’t have to be memorable to be great, and for the most part, Clams Casino is still making music that is enjoyable to listen to. Unfortunately, this third (and apparently final) instrumental mixtape marks the blandest appropriation of his style thus far, and it would have been easy to dismiss entirely if not for some distraction worthy highlights. And the more I think about it, aren’t those occasionally stunning highlights — such as “Motivation” and “Realist Alive” on Instrumentals 1 and “I’m God” on Instrumentals 2 — what has really garnered Clams Casino so much attention in the first place? His incredible and even slightly under appreciated Rainforest EP on Tri-Angle is the closest he has yet come to putting out a coherently solid listening experience, and for now at least, that will have to continue being the only one.
Anyway, the highlights here lean towards the previously unreleased ones. There are three of these, three A$AP Rocky beats, three Mac Miller beats, one for DOOM, one for Mikky Ekko, one released for Flying Lotus’ radio station on GTA 5, and one remix. It’s an odd assortment of tracks to say the least, and since Clams has moved away from the outward and easily identifiable sampling (“Cold War”, “Illest Alive”), many of them leave little to hold on to other than a slyly choreographed production technique here and there. The best standalone track of the ones intended for vocals/rapping is the breath of fresh air that is “Pull Me Down” — a warmer and more smoothly paced track from the bunch that was also co-produced by Mikky Ekko. The definitive standout though — the one that can compare to his best productions to date — is “Cry For Me”, which places glitchy, warbling vocals over a solid kick drum based groove and some of the most pleasing textures yet heard from the producer. Aside from those two highlights though (plus the GTA V track, I suppose) there’s nothing here to sway your opinion on the producer one way or another. In fact, it’s way more likely to make you become bored with him.
What many people will, and should use this mix as — as it works much more smoothly than listening to the tracks in unison — is to combine it with all of Clams Casino’s other instrumental work and put it on shuffle. Here the wealth of his capability becomes more visibly apparent, and the compilation can work perfectly for night drives in urban environments (permitting that you have the car stereo to handle these often layered and uncompromising tunes). If this is the end of his instrumental mixtape phase though, we should be happy, because it’s a sign that Clams is moving on to bigger and better things. For now, listen to these instrumentals, be happy with them, but just don’t get your hopes up that they will offer you any more than a momentary glimpse into the power of a producer who will undoubtedly grant us more fulfilling statements further down the road.
3.) Cry For Me*
4.) Pull Me Down*
6.) Bird Call
11.) Cold Feet
Album Highlight – *
In part two of my interview with hip-hop legend Nature, we discuss who he thinks is the best out there right now, the hip-hop industry as a whole, his link up with DCM and why these rappers nowadays need to be focused on the business and not so much the whole “Popping Bottles” aspect. Take a look.
How long did it take you to come up with all the tracks for “For All Seasons” and what was the process like?
“For All Seasons” was a little bit more complicated, we had some issues. Some of the songs from the original project we had to wait, and some of them that we did record wound up getting leaked onto New York City mixtapes, so I was in the studio for a while and very frustrated. The album was actually recorded two years prior before it ever got released due to all the issues that came with it.
You had a lot of time between your sophomore and third effort between 2002 and 2008. What was going on in the meantime that stopped you from making more?
Well no matter what happened I always was making music, but a lot of life stuff happened as well. I had to work, had a daughter and other things happened. I just had to find my footing again, kind of like an NBA player in the off season. You want to shoot around and sharpen your skills to a certain degree. Still during this whole time I was watching what was going on in the industry and stayed focused when I was ready to return.
Tell me about how you linked up with DCM.
Our friendships started online basically. They were a bunch of guys who I thought were a bunch of dope producers but once I got to know them I realized they had a huge passion for music and for me as an artist and showed me how they were gonna go the extra distance to help my career. We just vibed well. I was skeptical about who I wanted to go into business with because I was on the sidelines for a while but they proved their dedication and passion for the business and it turned out great.
What are your plans now that you are with these guys?
We are gonna drop this first project which is a four part series. We are starting with a spring edition now. In a couple of months there will be summer one, then fall then winter. Trying to make the dopest music as possible.
As someone that has been in the game for almost twenty years, what advice do you give to these young guys in order for them to have longevity?
Just stay true to it, you know what I mean? You can tell when a person is really passionate. I didn’t really come in to follow a trend, it took me a long time to get to where I was professionally. When I was a child, my love for this grew more and more as I got older. When I was making my way and going to the clubs and what not, I stayed true to what I was talking about in terms of real life situations and not a lot of what was playing there at that point. I would say that should ring true to a lot of the guys out there right now- be yourself.
Are you happy with the way that hip-hop is going right now?
I am happy with it as far as its reach and how far it’s growing. It used to be an inner city thing, now it is in the suburbs and in different countries and what not. I am happy with it being beneficial from a business standpoint. As far as everything else, I can’t really comment. It has it’s pluses and negatives. There are variations of hip hop- south sound, international sound, reggaeton is even considered hip-hop now. I am more of a purist and I stick to that. It is definitely more lucrative now, but I wouldn’t advise to do this just for that. You got to love what you do.
Who in your opinion is the Best New Artist right now in hip-hop?
It all depends on what you think is being new. Some of these young guys it’s hard for me to make a comment on because I can’t judge them on just a couple of records. I need to hear your body of work. Can’t just come out with one or two records and think the world will think you are hot. Gotta do more than that to stay on my radar.
Looking forward, what are you most hopeful about?
I hope to bridge the gap for me and some of the younger generations. Some of these guys need to be schooled on how the business. It’s not all about poppin bottles and making it rain, they need to have a better idea of what we are doing right here. I just hope that everybody gets a chance to really listen. That’s all I ever wanted them to do.
More on DCM and his latest effort “Seasons Change” here. Good stuff.
Brittany Smooch is a young, up and coming teen pop star and Hip Hop artist. Brittany’s music is fun and catchy and her personality is similar. I had the pleasure of speaking to Brittany yesterday about her music and charity work she has participated in. On the phone, Brittany seems sweet and determined. She knows what her goals are and she is pursuing them with great success. Brittany recently did work with the WGirls for their charity Project G.L.A.M, which gives prom dresses and accessories to girls who can not afford them. You can check it out at http://www.wgirls.org/get-involved/project-glam/
As soon as Brittany answered I knew she was going to be fun to interview.
When did you get into hip-hop?
I have always been into hip-hop music. But when I started writing my own songs it just came out that way. It just sounded like a rap.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I have been involved in music my whole life! At 5 years old I was taking singing lessons and by 7 I was writing my own music. I have always known that this is what I wanted to do.
Who is your favorite rapper?
Oh my God! I have so many favorites. But I guess if I had to pick it would be T.I. He is amazing!
You have a unique Urban style, where do you love to shop?
I love Patricia Field. They have a store in the City and the clothes are so crazy and cool. I really like anything that has a unique feel. I also really like Betsey Johnson.
How did you become involved with the WGirls and Project G.L.A.M?
I have always been involved with charity work. I really enjoy it. I was working with the NY city charity NY Cares and when the chance to do Project G.L.A.M came along I took it. Its really an awesome charity and I love being able to help young girls.
This charity is so amazing, and it must have been cool to see the girls faces as they got their dresses, how was that?
Seeing their faces was priceless. Watching the girls try on dresses and find ones they loved was really exciting.
What did you wear to your prom?
Well, I’ve actually been to a few proms. But my favorite dress was one I wore to a Long Island prom. It was really girly and looked like a Princess dress. It was pink and lacey. Usually I don’t like really girly clothes but this dress was beautiful and really made me feel like a princess.
Do you have any advice for prom goers this year?
“Don’t fall into peer pressure.” Have fun and enjoy this time in your life but don’t think you have to do something you don’t want to. That is really important to me.
What do you have coming up?
Well, I just released my EP and now I am working on my new album. I just finished up my High School concert tour and am getting ready for my next performance. I am performing at Six Flags Boston on June 29th.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Well of course, T.I. since he’s my favorite rapper, but I also think it would be really cool to work with powerful women in music. I’d love to do something with Nicki Minaj, Fergie, or Britney Spears.
What is one lyric to describe your life right now?
It would definitely have to be the chorus of my song, “Super Turned Up.” Because that’s how everything in my life is right now, “Super Turned Up.”
You can check out Brittany Smooch on her website http://www.brittanysmooch.com/
You can also check out her interview in Vibe magazine.