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|Tue, April 01, 2008 at 12:00 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
AZ feels that game is lacking substance and he's prepared to serve it up on his latest album, Undeniable. The new album features Styles P, Ray J and Jay Rush, with production by Fame (M.O.P.), Large Professor, Nottz, Street Radio and more.
The 14-year veteran recently sat down with BlackVibes.com to discuss the album, his relationship with Nas, and his remarkable career.
What is the most important thing that an artist needs to have in order to maintain a successful music career?
Your work ethic gotta be through the roof. At the same, you've gotta surround yourself with good people that know the business. If you do that, the sky is the limit.
You've dropped around 10 albums over that time period. Aziatic was definitely my favorite. Which ones were your favorites? ...and Why?
I guess it would be Doe or Die because it was my first album and it came out nowhere. People felt like I had been in the game for a while because I was dealing with Nas, but I just got in the game. I had to jump into doing an album after that because of the high demand from Life's A Bitch. Doe or Die was my first baby, but I can also say Aziatic too because that was pinnacle of how I was movin' and how I felt.
Ever since you dropped that first verse on Illmatic, you've been linked with Nas. We all know about The Firm album. Has there been any consideration to you and Nas getting together again to collaborate on another album and what's you current relationship with Nas?
|Tue, March 25, 2008 at 12:00 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
August 26, 2007. That's the date when five supremely talented young men were chosen by Diddy and MTV viewers around the world on the blockbuster Making The Band 4 season finale. Now, those same men - Brian Andrews, Mike McCluney, Qwanell Mosley (aka "Q"), Robert Curry, Willie Taylor - are poised to become R&B's latest breakthrough group, DAY26. The moniker is a tribute to the day when Brian, Mike, Qwanell, Robert, and Will went from unknowns to stars.
Most groups have arguments behind close doors, but they usually don't play out on TV. How challenging is it to have everyone know what's going on behind the scenes?
Will: I think it's a good thing. You get to see our flaws and see our growth. Sometimes you're at home and you get irritated. You're thinking "did they have to show that?" But at the end of the day it usually works. They see what you go through to get here. You get here and they love you for it. We really can't hate the engine that got us here.
How much of the show is close to how it really is?
All: Everything is real. Ain't nothing fake. Nothing [is just] for TV. Everything is real...Everything!
You didn't know each other before the group was formed. How have you been able to bond as group?
Q: We're from 5 different cities. At first you didn't know anybody and you're like... "I don't know this dude - I gotta check 'em out." But I can say now, as a group, we're like brothers. We're like a fraternity. We all love each other to death. We'll fight for each other. The chemistry is all love.
How did you deal with it when Diddy broke you down in the studio and said that you needed to get a vocal coach?
Rob: We watched the past episodes of Making The Band so we knew this wasn't going to be an easy ride. I think everything that Diddy does, no matter how painful it might feel at the time, it's always with good intentions. It's always for the best. We've actually seen the growth in him stopping in the studio for a minute and going to church and listening to choir. Maybe at the time it felt kinda bad, but the outcome of situation was the best thing that could have happened to us.
Brian and Robert, there was a point where Puffy listening to your song and said you didn't sound like a group. And Brian made a remark that Robert thought he was lead of the group, but after that scene it cut to y'all going to church. How did y'all resolve that matter?
Brian: It wasn't even like how it came off on TV. It was a situation where some things were said and the group as a whole wasn't comfortable with that. We just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. Rob is like a little brother. He reminds me a lot of myself. I have nothing against Rob. We're like family.
Rob: Now that was some good TV! We are 5 different guys coming from 5 different places. I can't expect everybody to take things the way you put it out. I felt like I had to adjust to cater to that because at the end of the day we all have a common goal. That's to make this money...and make this music...and make this magic. I felt like I had to sacrifice in some ways to fit this group better. Church did help it a lot. Church always puts me back in my place. I'm rooted out of the church. My father is a pastor so that was a big part of my deliverance out of that situation. God always steps in right on time.
How is the tension in the house with Danity Kane living in the same crib?
Q: We're in the house with the house with 11 different personalities. It's kinda weird because we don't know how each person is gonna act. But getting to kn
|Wed, February 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Heavy Vee, born Vanessa Asbury in New Jersey, expressed her talent whenever she could, either at local talent shows, or just at home in front of family members. After a move to Newark, New Jersey, her mother worked two jobs and struggled to raise two daughters. Little Vanessa didn't let the family's lack of money stop her from performing, she spent most of her time in her room either practicing dance moves, or coming up with rhymes to express her daily emotions.
Inspired by Hip Hop artists that "kept it real" like Lil' Kim, Missy Elliot, Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and Salt n Pepa, she gained the confidence to share her own songs with others and booked her first ever live performance at a local steak house in Jersey, which lead to a deal with Razor and Tie. From these humble beginnings, Heavy Vee was born!
You said that you want to bring back real hip-hop music. What do you mean by that?
Hip-Hop has changed. It went from real hip-hop to a new phase. I'm not going to say hip-hop has taken a turn for the worst, but it is different. So I'm trying to give them a taste of that different hip-hop as well as that real hip-hop from back in the day.
Who do you consider real hip-hop artists?
I would definitely consider Lil Kim, T.I., and Kanye West real hip-hop artists
Are those also the artists that have inspired you to rap?
Yes, definitely! Other artists like Missy Elliot, Biggie, and Lauryn Hill have inspired me to rap also.
You've said that you're representin for the big girls out there. Why do you feel that is important?
|Mon, January 28, 2008 at 12:00 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
East St. Louis is ready to get its Weight Up and Stank is prepared to make it happen! Stank was recently signed to Vista Music Group/Universal Republic Group and he just released a mixtape called Black Boy Sh!t Vol #1 . He's only been in the game for 6 months, but he has plans to make a big impact in 2008.
Stank recently sat down with us to discuss his background, his mixtape, and his future plans.
How did you get the name the name Stank?
Stank came from my childhood and stuck with me. It's a family name and I chose to give ...em me. My mother gave me the name and Stank Louis just go together so perfectly.
You know I've gotta ask. How did she come up with that name? Was it because you had stanky diapers?
Ah maan, you can say that! I guess you can say that. It's just a childhood ghetto name like Pookie or Money or something else they'll call you from ...round the way.
Talk about your background. What was your environment like growing up?
I had a cool household. All my brothers and peoples were the same way. We were all outgoing. We kept it real thick with the family and everything we did we kept it in tune with us. We had a lot family ventures.
Clarify for people who aren't familiar with St. Louis area. What's difference between where you come from and where other artists like Nelly and Chingy represent?
It's 4 sides to each city. You've got the North, South, East, and West. The North, South, and West side are located in Missouri and it's the Mississippi river that divides them. When you cross the Martin Luther Bridge, you're on the East side and that's the only side that is located in Illinois. That's why they call us East St. Louis, Illinois. Nelly and them are far away from us.
|Wed, December 05, 2007 at 9:00 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
It's been over six years since Jaheim burst onto the scene with his first Platinum album. Now, as he prepares to provide his fans with a new set of R&B classics, he gives BlackVibes.com the inside scoop on the album as well as who inspired him to sing in the first place.
What should we expect from your upcoming album?
Well, it's a milestone project that reflects how Jaheim has changed over the years. This album is far different than all of the albums you've heard in the past, but it's still on the same level....real singing, true relationships, ups-and-downs, and gettin personal.
As you've moved over from Warner Bros to Atlantic, what has been the difference with putting this album together?
This album was done a little different than the last ones. I've never had an opportunity work with an R. Kelly or a Babyface. I also worked Keyshia Cole and Gamble & Huff. This has been a big album for me.
Those are some big names. What was it like when you got a chance to work with Babyface?
I must say. Babyface is a genius. When I first walked in, I saw Babyface and I was real quiet and respectful. I put my game face on. I had to be focused! We vibed for the first day. Came back on the second day and wrote the record together. He was a good person to work with. He didn't have an ego. I would love to work with him again.
How about working with R. Kelly?
|Thurs, May 11, 2006 at 11:50 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Rating: 3.5 Vibes out of 5
"Been in the game since '59" is the line from the album that
says it best. Ronald and Ernie Isley celebrate five decades of
music by dropping their first album on Def Soul Recording,
"Baby Makin' Music." The aptly-titled album has a few
potential radio hits and several songs that you can throw on
when you're chillin with your lady.
The album actually starts off with the voice of Gladys Knight!
The sample of this legendary R&B singer comes from her 1974 hit
"The Makings of You." This sample, which is the only vocal
sample on the album, is fitting for the Isley Brothers as they
attempt "to add a little sugar" to their collection of hits.
The first single, "Baby Makin' Music," is currently #3 on the
Adult R&B Charts. It's an outstanding ballad that is clearly
the best radio-friendly song on the album.
The album also features two other songs that could make an
appearance on the Billboard Charts. "Gotta Be With You" (Track
4) features Jermaine Dupri instructing the audience to grab
that special someone. This song could start off getting a lot
of spins as a slow-dance song at a club. "Heaven Hooked Us Up"
(Track 10) is a medium-tempo ballad that is very similar to the
first single, "Just Came Here to Chill." "Blast Off" (Track 2)
may be released as the next single because R. Kelly lays a
verse on the song, but it doesn't really stand out and probably
should be left on the album.
Track 7 is the song that best embodies the title of
the album. "Show Me" is a very sensual slow song that could be
played when you're trying to get close to that special
someone. Unfortunately, it is also the shortest song on the
album so unless you can make a baby in less than 3 minutes and
22 seconds, you'll have to carry over to the next track, "Give It To Me." That's where Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Ron Isley so
eloquently states... "I'm gonna give it to you, give it to you.
Give it to me...give it to me. Oh...Oh. I'm gonna give it to
The album does have a few filler-songs that don't really stand
out. Overall, it's a worth-while purchase for someone
searching for "a little sugar" to add to their soul collection. You
can truly play the album without skipping to the next
track. It's an excellent album to play when you're spending
time with your significant other.
Rating: (3.5 out of 5 Vibes)
Judge for yourself! Listen to Just Came Here To Chill and Blast Off feat. R. Kelly
|Wed, February 01, 2006 at 6:30 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Music Is My Business Inc. presents Albany, GA's finest rap group: Da Union. This trio's first single "Lady" earned them a spot on VIBE Magazine's "2005 Artist on The Verge" CD, which featured platinum rap artists such as Mike Jones on their 2004 CD. Da Union consists of Black Gold's gutter flow, Dirty Red's pimpish slick-rhyming and the thorough energetic fire of E-Dubba. These three hustlers from Southwest Georgia came together to introduce their "Gangsta player" movement - a cross between Southern Soul and Hip-Hop R&B - to the world after three years of building.
BV: How did you get the name Da Union?
DIRTY RED: Well we came up with that because it's something that brought all of us together. It's supposed to unify all of us. Not only just us three, but we're trying to unify a city as well and Da Union is just the beginning of that unification.
E-DUBBA: We met about 2 or 3 years ago. We really didn't know each other besides work. I worked with [Dirty Red] at Pizza Hut when I came back from school. And we met [Black Gold] a couple of months later. [Black Gold] used to come by the barber shop...killing his own freestyles. So we decided to get him on the team.
BV: So how did you hook up with Music Is My Business?
ED: Aaron [Music Is My Business, CEO]'s mother-in-law came through the barbershop one day and she said that her son-in-law worked for Bad Boy and was looking for new talent. We didn't think too much of it. We thought she was just playing. On top of that he was in New York so we thought he wouldn't even listen to it. We thought he would just take it and put it in the garbage. About 2 months after we gave her the CD, he called us back. He called us and said he loved it.
DR: I didn't think he was going to throw it away, because the CD was fire!
BV: Aaron, what did you see in Da Union that made you want them to be the first group on your label, Music Is My Business?
AARON: It was crazy because I was at the point where I was at Bad Boy working for Puff and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. When I heard them, I thought...I could take it to somebody but they probably won't do what needs to be done with it. I was already in the process of creating Music Is My Business, Inc. anyway, so I got on the phone that day. We kept building [a relationship over the phone]. Vibe Magazine had given them an Artist On The Verge status. I just thought they were talented and I liked the variety of music that they had.
BV: Da Union is based out of Albany, GA. How do you plan to represent Albany and put it on the map?
DR: Albany has a lot of talent. The ball is not just in our court, but right now it's in our hands. We trying to throw out hits and we trying to shine. It's our time to shine. Albany has a lot of talent, so it's eventually going to break through. You've got cats like Big Nard, Ole'E, and Field Mob. Everybody's been sleeping on them boys for so long. They sleepin on Big Nard. They sleepin on Da Union! Albany has been the best kept secret right up under your nose. People need to pay attention to that deep down south. It's the birth place of Ray Charles. We've got so much talent that's coming out of Albany that you just wouldn't believe it. Southwest Georgia....check it out!
BV: How would you describe your group and your music to people who haven't heard it before?
DR: You can't just be comfortable with what you get and settle for the same thing. Look for something different. You've got to have a variety...like how I like women. I like different women. I like a variety of women...kinda l