Trick Daddy Calls Out Today’s Gangsta Rappers for “Wearing Skinny Jeans & Fingernail Polish”

Trick Daddy Calls Out Today’s Gangsta Rappers for “Wearing Skinny Jeans & Fingernail Polish”

Man, old rappers do not like skinny jeans.

In a new interview with DJ Vlad, veteran Miami rapper Trick Daddy, without provocation, went off on modern-day gangster rappers for not dressing or looking the part.

"There's so many fake gangsters these days," Trick said. "Back in the day, you had to look your part... if you were a conscious rapper, we knew you was a militant brother, you had your shirt tucked in, you had the clean face, the clean shave or the bald head or the kufi on. If you was a gangster brother, a gangster rapper, then we knew you had to have on the Cowboys hat, the Dickies, or the Stater jacket to represent your city. Now, we got these gangster rappers wearing skinny jeans and fingernail polish and lipstick and this shit crazy, man."

Actually, Trick, not only is there nothing "crazy" about the stylistic evolution of hip-hop, but it's a breath of fresh air knowing that the days of artists feeling required to sport an unofficial uniform based on the type of rap music they make are long gone.

Last year, Young Thug—who Trick might or might not have used as a point of reference here—proclaimed that a rapper could still be a "gangster in a dress" after a giant billboard went up in New York City featuring him modeling a Calvin Klein dress. Unsurprisingly, the Atlanta native was mocked across social media for the advertisement and his subsequent explanation, but many of his peers, both veterans and contemporaries alike, came to his defense.

Instead of turning this into an argument about then versus now or us versus them—a conversation I'm fairly certain we're all sick and tired of having—Trick should follow the lead of Tyler, The Creator, who on his latest album, articulated his position perfectly: "Tell these black kids they can be who they are."


Brent Faiyaz’ Manager Pulls Back the Ugly Curtain on the Major Label Ballgame

Brent Faiyaz’ Manager Pulls Back the Ugly Curtain on the Major Label Ballgame

"I guess you can call it birthing a different thought process in what you do. That is what great motherfuckers do, they change the whole way people think."  —Ty Baisden

Brent Faiyaz is on fire. Over the past 10 months, the 22-year-old has melted hearts as the frontman of Sonder, burned up charts as the hook-man on GoldLink’s Platinum single “Crew,” and his newly-released solo debut, Sonder Son, is being received with admiration.

It’s an impressive feat when a fairly unknown artist begins to make noise in January and consistently remains the subject of praise all year long. Faiyaz is about to hit the road for a second time this year, this time as a solo headliner. This will be his show and people will be coming to hear his voice. And tickets are selling fast—there’s a tweet on his timeline congratulating the young star on selling out his LA show in 12 minutes. To say he’s blowing up would understate the surge of excitement burning in the underground’s underbelly.

With accomplishments and accolades come questions: How is Brent doing it all? Is he an industry plant? Is he a mindie artist, posing as an independent act while a major label like is funding the entire operation? In an era of secret signings and uncertain indie claims, everyone is under suspicion.

For insight on his current label situation, DJBooth reached out to Ty Baisden, Brent's current manager and the man credited with turning around his career, who confirmed to us that he and Brent are 100% independent.

That's not all he said, though.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Ty has worked behind the scenes for years as an artist manager, but prior to connecting with Brent all of his previous acts were based in rap. After reaching a point of exhaustion with that side of the game, his sights turned to R&B and his thoughts turned to action when he discovered Brent’s SoundCloud in 2014.

In the three years since the two connected and began mapping out how they would approach the music industry, a lot has occurred: label meetings, proposals, letdowns, and hours of studying hip-hop's greatest businessmen like Master P, JAY-Z, Diddy, and more.

This is the motherfucking gold rush, especially for black art.

Ty saw Bad Boy and Roc-A-Fella as empires that were forced into independence because no one initially cared. “We weren't forced into independence because everyone wanted to be in business with us, but their terms forced us to be independent,” he told me during our hour-long conversation.

Ty was transparent, candid, and blunt about the entire major label system, the idea of independence in 2017, ownership of black art, and treating the music business like any other business. He was also clear about his mission: the desire to educate and inform those who have career ambitions in music.

This interview has been lightly edited for content and clarity.

Yoh: Is being 100% independent the plan or have you been waiting for the right record deal?

Ty: We had a whole plan for year one. Year one was basically August 2015 to August 2016. The second year was when we were going to do the album—we were going to drop the EP, get a deal, get the label to fund it, and do the album on an island somewhere or some shit. The label will fund it, boom boom. That was the year two plan, from August 2016 to August 2017. It wasn’t until we started the process and hit these milestones that the labels started coming. When the labels started coming, the conversations weren’t real, exciting conversations. When I say not exciting, I mean, I started asking questions they couldn’t give me honest answers to. I was like, "Hmm, this shit not making sense now that I’m thinking about it." When I sat down with Troy Carter over at Spotify, he was the beginning of the nail in the coffin [of trying to get a deal]. He was like, "You need to do this independently."

What were those conversations with the labels like?

When we started to have these conversations with the labels, it was like, these niggas are trying to pay me 11% out of 100%. Just because you motherfuckers give me some money early? Fuck that. You crazy. That shit don’t make sense.

We had some really great meetings. We met with L.A. Reid, and L.A. said he loved Brent. That was the only meeting we took and actually allowed Brent to sing in an office setting in front of someone. Me and Brent respect what L.A. and LaFace did for R&B music. That’s why we decided to do it. Taking the whole team up there and doing the little performance. It is what it is, I already knew how it would end. We went and we did it. L.A. was saying how special Brent was, how he was going to be so big, and how he hadn’t been excited about an artist like this in a while. All these different things. I’m just listening and paying attention.

Then I get the deal proposal and I’m like, "Wait a minute, my nigga. This is not a special deal." That’s the problem. Those types of interactions are what led us to decide on being independent. People will say that’s how it goes in the business, they send you over the contract and you gotta negotiate. Nah, my nigga, there are principles in life. If you sit down and tell [Brent] he's a special artist, you better make sure that fucking deal is special. If not, your word isn’t as solid as what you just told me. I kept seeing a lot of that in these conversations about a deal. That was the first strike.

Mind you, we had amazing meetings with everyone. No bad meetings. Everyone was excited, they were fans, and were really passionate about the music. But when those contracts came in…

First strike? What else was in the contracts?

Like I said, I’m a principled guy, [so I had] sent out a proposal of what I wanted [to the labels]. Once I met with Troy [from Spotify], we were talking about Spotify's support and Troy was like, "I wouldn’t do anything because this is real music. There’s a big resurgence of people who like this type of music. If you guys just wait, this is going to work. I’m not saying don’t do any business with a major label, but make it so the terms are favorable to you guys."

I’m like, "Damn, you're right." But since I had already sent out the proposals before the meeting, I told Brent’s lawyer, if any of the labels that we sent the proposals to give us exactly what that proposal asks for, I’ll do the deal. Like I said, principles are principles, they don’t change because you're in a different arena or business. My principles would be the same if I was a school teacher or if I was selling pencils. So, I was like, if they give us exactly what it says, we will do the deals.

So we started having conversations [with the labels] and we're not getting exactly what the proposals say. Interscope, they were one of the conversations I had on the phone about the actual contract. I was speaking with [Interscope EVP] Joie [Manda], and I've known Joie for awhile, he’s been very supportive of me in general. When I say support, I mean always responding to emails, taking meetings, and things of that nature. The moment I was on the phone with Joie, and I told him about speaking with my lawyer and the terms I didn’t agree upon that I wanted to talk out. The terms were—Yoh, you aren’t a lawyer, but when I say this to you you’ll know it doesn’t make sense—about royalties. A major label only pays you one way: through your royalty. Now, industry standards—make note of the fact that I hate the word ‘industry standards,’ I hate it—from what my lawyer told me are that generally, a recording artist who is new and gets signed to a deal is going to get an 11% to 14% royalty payout from the label. My proposal had an 18% royalty payout from the label.

18% is far from unreasonable.

I told Joie I didn’t understand how if Brent has an album [already] out that’s probably going to be a digital-only release that’s never going to stores or [being released physically], and the label is going to acquire this body of work through a deal we will potentially do, you are saying that is too high. That’s high for a new artist, but we’ll do it anyway because we really believe in it. His response was, ‘We invest a lot of money early. Being that we invested so early, that’s why we give a [smaller] percentage. We don’t want to scale it because that’s not how it works.’ That’s the last real conversation I had with a major label. I was like we going to do this shit ourselves. This was in November 2016, [Brent's A.M. Paradox EP] was already out.

I'll commend Joie and Interscope, they were on it early. Joie was trying to sign Brent before I even put out the A.M. Paradox EP. I really believed in putting out this project independently first, though. I felt like I would jeopardize what Brent could become if I did any official, long-term business before the music was out. Joie was in the studio trying in August 2016 trying to sign the kid, before any projects were out. The project, A.M. Paradox, dropped in September. 

[Senior VP of A&R at RCA Records] Tunji was early as well because he had already signed GoldLink, and Brent and GoldLink worked on the “Crew” record back in early April or May of 2016. So Tunji was already hip, I was sending him demos and things of that nature, but Tunji wasn’t putting too much pressure on it because he had so much going on and there wasn’t a body of work out at that point. I was just putting out singles here and there. Everyone was paying attention but nobody was putting a bid out. Interscope, Atlantic, and Epic were all trying to get in bed, but Interscope was there super early.

The year ends, we're getting ready to drop the Sonder album, and we have to pay for this solo Brent album. He wanted to go to the Dominican Republic and I had to figure out how to pay for that shit. [A.M. Paradox] picked up, Brent's “Poison” record is growing, the Sonder single “Too Fast” is out by now and that record is growing, so now the labels are on my head even harder to do something. So I said, I’ll tell you what: one album for $150,000, all in.

Just one album? For that amount? 

One album, that’s it. I’ll do that if someone wants to do it. LA Reid said fuck that, I’m not doing it. I was cool. Mike Caren and Jeff Vaughn over at Atlantic/APG were like, 'Nah, Mike Caren wants five albums, he wants to be involved with the deal as it grows.' Okay cool, I was good.

Speaking with Tim Glover at Interscope, I said, "Listen, this is what I want: We can do this one album, see how we like each other and then keep it moving. Cut me that check for $150k, I get you the album, and we work it together." Tim said he would talk to Joie and he came back and said that they had something better. I’m like, "Listen, my G, there’s nothing better than what I offered. If he can’t do this, I’m not the meeting type, I’m not trying to have a bunch of meetings. You guys came to the studio, we’ve chopped it up, this is what we want to do and we not meeting again about it." That was the last talk. They weren’t trying to give us one album for $150,000.

It’s a preconception that black artists only want money. The motherfuckers will not say it in public, but with urban artists, there is a misconception that all we want is money. So I was like, okay then, I’ll take it away from the money. Give me $150k all in, distribution and license deal, whatever you want to call it. They didn’t want to do it. We decided to keep it moving.

The major labels have padded the numbers to make it seem unrealistic to do this shit yourself.

With no label, how have you been able to fund all the projects and tours?

Brent started to study Master P. He started to look at all these videos of P. By the time we were at the end of January and put the Sonder project out, and it started growing, he had already begun to see the thought process. He was like, "Man, Master P sold this many records? He was getting 85% of everything? Shit, I want to be like Master P." Me and Brent were funding a lot of the early Sonder shit. When Sonder started making money, it paid the company back. Then the money that Sonder is making now is funding [future] Sonder work. Literally two different companies. Sonder Global LLC. is a completely different company. Brent is a partner in Sonder Global and he used the company that he and I started to fund Sonder until Sonder was able to self-fund themselves.

What’s the company you and Brent started?

Lost Kids LLC. Completely self-funded. Sonder is a Lost Kids investment. Being that Brent is a partner in Lost Kids, he funneled the money to make sure that Sonder had rehearsals, all the small shit that it takes. All the different things until that money started to generate from Sonder’s merch, tours, screens and all that. Sonder is funding themselves and it hasn’t even been a year.

We self-funded both of the shows in New York and LA. We self-funded the Sonder tour for 11 cities. All the marketing and promo was self-funded. The “Too Fast” video, we funded a percentage of it. Noah Lee, the director, was so passionate about it that he and his team raised the capital to finish shooting the “Too Fast” video. This shit has been a community thing. Even the trip to the Dominican Republic, me and Brent invested $25,000 into that trip. We flew 10 people there, not including myself. The only person who couldn’t go was [Sonder producer] Atu, but everybody else who Brent has worked with flew out to work on the Sonder Son album.

We're not rich, we had to figure out how we would fund it. I called everybody who was involved as far as the Airbnb people, the flights, and I was able to pay off everything in three installments. 

Do you think your method and process will work in the long run? Funding everything yourself?

Yes. The reason is smart investing and having great products. The amount of money we need to build a company is not the amount of money people think you need to build a company when you have a product that’s working. Now, if Brent wanted to have a Range Rover and have all the jewels and get the crazy mansion, it won’t be sustainable. But there’s an understanding of what it takes to be independent and investing in yourself more and more as you see things work. 

I want to build this up how Facebook built it up, and how Spotify built it up. If I build it up and own the content, the venture capitalist world will be knocking on our door. There is a boom in the business sector that deals with music. We’ll surpass the five billion, six billion, seven billion, and eight billion revenue stream on recorded music over these next few years. And now, all of a sudden, the music business starts a trajectory back toward that 11, 12, 13 billion dollar revenue stream from back in ‘98 & ‘99.

Now, it’s not about who got the masters, it’s about who got equity, who got shares, who got stakes in the company. That’s the only business I want to be in. I don’t want to be in the “I own your masters” business. That’s the business the labels been pitching and they will continue to pitch until people like myself or anybody else decides their ownership is not worth what they’re trying to sell you. Especially in this era. This is the motherfucking gold rush, especially for black art.

Information is king in this world, especially in an industry full of dumbass people. That’s your leverage.  

It’s the music business, but you want to run it as an "actual business."

I’m going to be honest with you—I told you I would talk my shit. I feel like the numbers are padded. The major labels have padded the numbers to make it seem unrealistic to do this shit yourself.

I called Fly, the CEO from T.I.G. Records. As an independent label, they have had four or five No. 1 records at urban radio. I think out of those records, they’ve been Platinum or double-Platinum. I was just picking his brain, "Bro, how much you paying for radio?" He said his radio campaign was $100k and could get up to $200k. I was like, "That’s it? That’s a nation-wide campaign?" He’s like, "Yeah." I was always told from record labels that if you trying to go to radio you needed a half-million dollars.

You're telling me that when urban music is the pinnacle of consumption, it only takes [a few hundred-thousand dollars] to have a nationwide urban music campaign? Obviously, we talking about a record that’s working and successful online. If you got a good product and you're investing in a street team, traveling, marketing, and advertising costs, everything you have to spend to market a record outside of it just being online where you identify it. When you do that radio campaign, that includes college radio and your internet radio, it’s a campaign across the board.

It’s either the people who are putting together these campaigns are overcharging the label because the label got it, or the label is padding the numbers because you in debt and they want to keep you in debt because as long as you're in debt you don’t see the light. You gonna stay in the debt, and they’ll continue to collect their percentage of their royalty. They not even taking the whole 100% of what’s made as a recoup, they’re taking their percentage off the top and then taking the rest of it and saying we’ll put this toward the debt. Man, it’s hard to get out of debt when you only making an 18% royalty.

And they don't even want you to have 18%...

Check it, this is another thing that trips me out about the music business. Let's say all the money they advance you is a loan. In any other sector of business, once you pay the loan back, you own whatever the product is. You either have no balance and you can leave, or you own what you paid for.

Imagine you finance a house for 100 racks, you pay it off in three years, and the bank still owns the house. And you're still paying the mortgage?!? That’s what the major label does to the artist. Y'all gave me the money to create this body of work, y'all gave me the money to sign with y'all 'cause I got this body of work, but when it’s all said and done, after I pay you back all the money you loaned me and you took your percentage off top, you still own me. That’s crazy, B!

One thing I will agree upon, though, is a situation where you sign an artist and no one knows who that artist is and you develop [the artist] and you pay for everything. Every situation is different. It's like having bad credit and good credit. Niggas with good credit don’t gotta put [down] a sizable down payment. Hell, they probably give you all kinds of bonuses because you got good credit. That’s what life teaches us, do good in life and you get rewarded. You do bad, you don’t get rewarded.

Why do you believe so strongly in sharing all of this information with young creatives? 

I don’t believe in charging people for information. I don’t believe in being a middleman for information. The only reason why I decided to do this—I’m not trying to be no superstar or in the scene—is because I believe the information I’m gathering and learning is very important for young black men. I want to inspire the way I was inspired. If it grows outside of that, that’s just God’s blessing. I think it’s very important for us, in this position, to try not to block young kids from getting that knowledge so they can be successful. It’s not progressive for the culture to withhold information when you know you can help. You don’t have to get paid for every single thing that you do. This interview is very important to give that knowledge for anyone who wants it. It may be a woman who feels like she's not getting the right information, it may be someone who is disabled, who maybe can’t walk but is really good with numbers and they've always dreamed of managing somebody, but they feel like they can’t do it because of their disability.

I feel like information is king in this world, especially in an industry full of dumbass people. That’s your leverage.  

By Yoh, aka Worldwide Yoh, aka @Yoh31


What Happens When a 12-Year-Old Signs a Record Deal? We Asked a Child Psychiatrist

What Happens When a 12-Year-Old Signs a Record Deal? We Asked a Child Psychiatrist

Matt Ox is 12 years old. Bhad Bhabie is 14. Lil Pump—17 and known to livestream sex acts with fans—still has braces.

Child stars have always been a point of contention in the public eye, raising questions of exploitation and agency. While repercussions have been mixed—just google your favorite child actors’ before-and-after photos—overall, there’s a general sense that child fame is a net negative.

Driven by equal parts worry and morbid curiosity and the sharp rise in under-18 viral acts inking major label deals, I reached out to child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Judith Fiona Joseph, M.D., M.B.A to get a more nuanced look at child fame and the lasting impact it can have on a child's psyche.

Dr. Joseph began our conversation by explaining the different classes of child fame: children born into fame versus children who attain a certain level of fame. There’s a marked difference, Joseph details, between the coping mechanisms developed by a child like North West, the daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, and a child star who has been thrust into the spotlight. Namely, North West will begin to develop effective coping skills and manage stress early on in her life, while Matt Ox, who signed a contract with Warner Music earlier this year, Joseph explains, “may not have the coping skills, or have developed the tools to deal with this major life adjustment and may run into problems as a result.”

A source of these problems, in part, is the role social media now plays in child fame. In particular, the way social media positions a user to be in a constant state of rejection. Being able to see what all of their peers are up to 24/7 creates feelings of isolation and loneliness. “One might feel like they weren’t invited [to a party] because of some personal deficit,” Joseph explains.

Of course, adults are just as likely to be negatively affected by social media, but as Joseph stresses, children have a more significant response to rejection because it literally “activates pain centers in their brain.”

For a child star, that pain is undoubtedly magnified. Under the microscope of social media fame, a teen's already heightened fears of failure and humiliation are far more intense. These fears are supplanted by the presumed shame that comes with failure.

As social media has made the world much smaller, the impact of child fame has also extended from the artist to the fan. “The concept of social media stardom may lead more young people to believe that fame is more easily achievable than it actually is,” Joseph explains. In turn, this leads to a whole new set of complications. Unbeknownst to the Lil Pumps of the world, making fame look easy carries its own brand of irresponsibility: the fantasy of fame becomes as damning as the fame itself.

Joseph has seen these repercussions first-hand, recounting several cases in which the fantasy of fame overtook her patients:

“I’ve treated several cases of patients where [the fantasy] actually hurt them because they spent hours each day working on posting things and missed out on the real world. It can also be quite stressful to remain relevant on social media because posts can take hours of preparation and in order to maintain a following, you have to post frequently. I’ve actually treated cases of kids having breakdowns requiring hospitalizations for mental stabilization because they felt compelled to post and could not keep up with their fanbase demands.”

Dr. Joseph offers a very humanizing view of child fame, but she also confirmed my assumption that agency can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. “Some children fully understand the risks versus the benefits versus the alternatives to decisions and can make informed decisions," Joseph says, "However, there are other kids of the same age that are not capable of this.”

Being able to parse who is and is not capable, she notes, rests in the hands of parents and the adult professionals (managers, agents) who are tasked with the responsibility of oversight. Beyond understanding their children’s strengths and weaknesses, Joseph suggests parents who are interested in or are comfortable with their children entering the spotlight by signing a record contract should seek the help of experts “to determine which choices their children are capable of making independently” and what stressors they are capable of overcoming.

Parents, according to Joseph, should also play the role of cheerleader, ensuring “that the child or teen is intrinsically motivated to pursue their talents and not necessarily just extrinsically motivated by money, making friends, or feeling pressured to meet other people’s expectations.”

Subscribing to that greed-free reality, however, is painfully idealistic. Should a child and their team choose to assume the risks of fame and social media stardom, there are still things parents can do to mitigate negative consequences. For one, Joseph stresses, parents should remind their children that they love them outside the context of their fame. Though this seems obvious, in the case of many exploited child stars, the sentiment bears repeating.

Hoping to end our conversation on a high note, I asked Joseph what the fans of these artists can do to help mitigate some of the negatives of child fame. “A good rule is [to follow] the golden rule,” she attests. “Treat other people the way that you want to be treated. Just because a person is famous doesn’t make them any less of a person.”

Dr. Joseph received her bachelor’s degree in biology, from Duke University, her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and her business degree from Columbia Business School. She completed her adult psychiatry residency at Columbia University, New York Presbyterian Hospital and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She completed her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Hospital and Bellevue Hospital.


Offset, 21 Savage & Metro Boomin ‘Without Warning’ 1 Listen Album Review

Offset, 21 Savage & Metro Boomin ‘Without Warning’ 1 Listen Album Review

My knowledge of professional wrestling is limited to a few good years of watching WCW during elementary school when the sport was far more captivating than Power Rangers. I can still recall a few notable names―Macho Man Randy Savage, André the Giant, Rey Mysterio, Sting, and of course, Goldberg―but no one left a mark on my starry, violent hungry eyes like Harlem Heat. The tag team duo made up of Booker T and Sugar Ray were big, black, and brolic, two brothers who would make Shaft and Shaq think twice before speaking the tongue of fisticuffs. They were the personification of badass—power and tenacity in the flesh. Even when they lost, which they did often enough, you still felt like you witnessed something epic.

Twenty-something years later, whenever a joint rap album is announced, I think of Harlem Heat. Unfortunately, tag team partnerships in rap rarely leave a lasting legacy. Jay and Ye complimented one another well on Watch the Throne. It was a spectacle and a moment to remember, but the alignment of two superstars at their peak should have had more replay value. Drake and Future’s What a Time To Be Alive was released, the internet had a moment, and life moved on. Young Thug and Future was fun, but they're far from the next Jaylib. 

Mainstream rap is long overdue for two popular artists to make a full project that sounds like watching world champion tag team wrestlers bring down the house.

Admittedly, 21 Savage and Offset coming together with Metro Boomin for a 10-track album entitled Without Warning didn’t accelerate my heartbeat. The high volume of new music―especially trap music―being released these days feels like blocks clustering at the top of Tetris. The art of saturation isn’t exclusive to BROCKHAMPTON.

Despite not being juiced for their pre-Halloween release, the trifecta of Metro, Offset, and 21 has the potential to be a winning combination. Offset is the Steph Curry of feature verses in 2017 and by far the most impressive Migo of the year, while 21 has turned in more than a few strong performances this year. Both are capable of making records that translate in the hood and Hollywood, on the charts and in the clubs. The next big viral hit or banger could be upon us. Metro’s beats add points to their promise; if he supplies enough boom this could be far more entertaining than the previous pairs that have come and gone faster than a roadrunner on amphetamines.

In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish. Let this be the start of joint albums being great again. 

1. "Ghostface Killers" ft. Travis Scott

Sounds like an ominous bell ringing. Think Hunchback of Notre Dame but instead of the Notre Dame Cathedral he’s seeing spaceships with Fabo in Bankhead. I’m feeling the song title. Demented keys. A slowed-down Metro Boomin drop. Okay, Offset came on calm but aggressive. I'm liking this already. The gun sounds. I love these drums. Metro Boomin has updated his sound, leaning back toward the darker tone of Savage Mode. Perfect room for Offset to do the kickflip rhyme schemes. We need to put Offset in the rap equivalent of the Winter X-Games, the Tony Hawk of rappers. The production sounds like it just beat a case. I guess that’s Travis, it’s hard to tell because whenever a Migo is around he starts to just blend in with them. 21!! Mean mug tone. Kim Jong reference. He switched up the cadence, that was sweet. Heavy beats are perfect for his mood. I was wrong, just Offset on the hook. Travis! Sorta wish he wasn’t on this. Not a bad verse but the intro is starting to feel a bit long. The dog on the album cover is frightening. Offset and 21 sound good alongside one another.

2. "Rap Saved Me" ft. Quavo

BASS! Heavy bass. Metro's bass weighs a ton. 21 sounds like he’s between two different realities the way his vocals are floating in the background. Migo ad-libs. Will all these Metro beats sound like they're on Death Row? I’m not mad. The best thing about Migos collaborations is hearing their ad-libs while other rappers rap. They’re like the best friend who is always prepared to lend you a hat to perfect your fit. 21 with the slower flow. Offset and 21 are well-balanced, they sound synced. Offset got tagged in and came in with a wild dropkick. Okay, I see a promising bop. “From the gutter, rap saved me.” I hear you, Savage. This is some straight out the trap rap music. I like this much more than the intro but I wish it was faster. Quavo came on with the Quavo Wonder hums. Trap music’s Stevie. Whose backing vocals? Those harmonies were fire. Quavo's verse was short, I wish he would’ve just done the harmonies. Felt way too quick. Offset doing 21’s ad-libs still the best part, though.

3. "Ric Flair Drip" 

Wooooo! Knocking. I like this. It’s bouncy keys and a stern bassline. Snare crackin'. Offset is water whipping. He’s fooling. We need Offset on more beats like this, incredible placement. He’s comfortable, dripping in Ric Flair cool and Migos magnetism. If they run with a single, this has to be it. OHHHHH! THAT BASS. The beat has more moves than Michael Jackson in a dance battle. Offset’s charisma has truly improved. He has a presence that’s hard to deny. With the right beat underneath the flow, he’s going to skate smoother than Clifford Harris at Cascade on a Sunday Night. Halloween keys to close out the record. The lack of a Ric Flair “Woo” is my only issue with this one.

4. "My Choppa Hate N****s" 

Without Warning by far has the best song titles. Sheesh! These drums. Loving that sample loop in the back and the pattern. 21’s traditional flow. He has some good one-liners. “I call it KKK cause my chopper hate niggas,” this is a Dave Chappelle skit in the form of a hook. Easy to imagine Dave and 21 making magic together. Game of Thrones reference was fire and I don’t even watch the show. Opening the morgue line is also a couple of fire emojis. The second verse is already becoming one of my favorite 21 verses of 2017. Sad this one is ending. It’s a vibe. A dark vibe but the best 21 songs feel like soundtracks for deleted Menace II Society scenes. I’d watch a MIIS reboot with 21 playing O-Dog and Offset as Caine. I do like how well 21 plays the Halloween theme, which has been pretty consistent throughout his career. The Slaughter King would make for a great horror film villain. 

5. "Nightmare"

Flawless sequencing. Very smooth transitions. Wolf howls. These keys are sprinkling. Offset chanting. Bass drops. Bouncing like a baby suffering from chronic hiccups. Yeah, this is cool. Freddie Krueger reference. 21 and Offset are way more fun than listening to Immortal Technique's “Dance With the Devil” as my Halloween tribute. I like Offset, but I swear he raps just a few seconds too fast for any quotes. No 21 on this one? I like how well the solo records work with the album's sequencing. It gives the feeling that the solo records weren’t in the stash but made during the project’s creation. I don’t like this one much, but I love that smooth transition.

6. "Mad Stalkers" 

21 leading this one. Drums are drooling. It's hitting hard enough to cause Sleeping Beauty to awake. “Baby bottles ain’t no bibs” hahaha. Did he say they're drinking 4 Lokos? I’m not one to count another man’s pocket but I’m not still drinking Lokos after going No. 1 in the country. Offset must respect himself more. Okay, they're slowly losing me. The album needs more bangers. More energy. It needs something to really pull me back in. This is a good hook from 21, simple but his voice is perfect for this beat. I wish he would've just made it somewhat catchy. The verse sounds good; it should have made the Issa Album. “I’ll probably leave you before I leave the lean,” whoa whoa whoa. So disrespectful. Did not like his flow slowing down at the end. He took off for a second there. I hated when the drums faded out, whoever programmed them really outdid themselves. Some strange sounds. Metro went deep in his bag to give this album a Halloween feel.

7. "Disrespectful" 

Savage came on the record talking cash shit. “Ain’t no limit on the debit,” a bar. 21 got hurricanes on his neck, lol. “You can build a beat, fuck it I'm about to build a thot” is hilarious. Fam. Wow. Offset probably should’ve done the hook. I like how Offset is keeping it smooth. Chemistry is so effortless. They don’t throw each other’s energy off like Future and Thug, but Thug and Future are more interesting rappers. “I don’t do beef with a peasant,” and he closed the verse about being bigger than Elvis. Well, Elvis didn’t make “Bad and Boujee.”

8. "Run Up the Racks"  

Slow buildup. Southside tag. I know the drop is about to rattle my entire desk. All the producers who contributed must’ve searched for their most ominous keys for this album. This entire project sounds like a haunted house where you get chased by SoundCloud rappers and the not-so-friendly neighborhood gangbangers instead of monsters. Metro tag. “Went Platinum independent then I signed my deal nigga,” stunt Savage, stunt. This is one for the trunk. Love a Kobe lyric. The heaviness is like if they sampled the presence of gravity. Without Warning is like a Savage Mode sequel for those that preferred that sound over 21’s Issa. I appreciate 21 stopping the beat to say "Free the homies," he's such a gentlemen. Simple hook. Can see the appeal. Beat breakdown at the end is insanity. If you had to live in that part of the beat I’m certain your door would be kicked in every night.

9. "Still Serving"

Absolutely evil. This beat sounds like death lurking around a dirty corner. 21 Savage sound like he’s at home, completely comfortable in the madness. His uncle still serving at the age of 49, a true savage. Stunt raps on stunt raps. I can’t get over how this beat is making me feel. If I was in my car I would lock the doors and roll up the windows. I like how 21 approaches rap, it’s not the most technical but he always executes well. If he gets more inventive with his style, he might be able to extend his shelf life. The tempo is too chill, it needs a bit more pulse to really come to life. This is the standout Offset. He’s dancing with the flow. I’m impressed when he shows up like this. These two are the strangest match but all these songs sound tailored for tag team triumph. Cool closing.  

10. "Darth Vader" 

They kept this album short. It goes by fast but also makes you wish they would have switched things up more. Another stellar title. I bet 21 has an incredible movie collection. Eh, kinda disappointed in the beat. "Darth Vader" deserved the “Still Serving” beat. The father of Luke needs a more earth-shaking sound. Eh, not too into this Offset verse. I'm starting to miss the other two Migos. Their solo performances are good in doses, but together is when the magic happens. “From the robbing to the trapping I’ve done it all,” “He took the stand, I can’t believe this nigga took the stand and all." 21 is putting the record on his back and is taking it to the hole. Yeah, this is his touchdown performance. Okay, Savage is in real estate. “My dog lost his life and it changed me.” He makes the simplest lines sound so haunting and harrowing. When you believe a rapper, the authentic life bars always hit. Also note that he requests for all kids to be cleared out before doing a drive-by, a gangster with a soft spot for the innocent.  

What Offset and 21 Savage were able to do here that many of their contemporaries failed to accomplish is to find a common ground. Without Warning feels like shared territory, a guided tour through a haunted house they constructed together.

The production swells, booms, and blasts with the heaviness of Bigfoot playing an intense match of Dance Dance Revolution. Halloween likely influenced the depth of their darkness as most of these songs feel more like slow bangers that inspire first-round knockouts and not party-starting anthems. This evens out the fact that Offset is the superior rapper, but 21 never feels out of place. Without Warning is a co-owned castle and they both roam as kings. The castle just isn't that spectacular.

While cohesive, the album lacks any variety. The beats are diverse in approach, but in color and style are taken from the same palette. There are no risks taken, no attempts to push these two out of their comfort zone. Their comfort doesn’t come off as lazy, but relaxed, the feeling of being in familiar territory with little desire to leave. It's no coincidence that the tempo on “Ric Flair Drip” was unlike the rest of the project and how that pushed Offset to turn in his most lively performance. More bangers of this caliber would’ve surged more energy into the project.

For Halloween novelty, Without Warning is an unexpected treat. A slice of a haunted trap, with both Offset’s elastic flows and 21’s savagery on display. Ultimately, the album does everything right but remain captivating. There are a few bars, a couple of interesting sounds and flows, but nothing new or especially exciting comes from this union. 

My search for the hip-hop equivalent to Harlem Heat continues.  

Early Favorites: "Ric Flair Drip," "Ghostface Kiillers," "Still Serving"
Early Not-So-Favorites: "Nightmare," "Disrespectful"

By Yoh, aka Darth Yohder, aka @Yoh31


Ty Dolla $ign Told YG His Music Was “Weak” When He First Heard It

Ty Dolla $ign Told YG His Music Was “Weak” When He First Heard It

Ty Dolla $ign and YG entered the spotlight together in 2010 when the former made a guest appearance on latter's commercial debut single, "Toot It and Boot It."

While Ty credits the collaboration with helping to change his life and jumpstart his recording career, he was initially reluctant to work with his West Coast neighbor. 

"My big homie Big B brought me YG and he was like, 'Yo, I want you to work with this kid.' At first, when I hear his shit, I thought it was weak, I ain't even gon' lie, I said it to his face," Ty told Mass Appeal. "The third song we ever did together was 'Toot It and Boot It' and that's the song that brought me in the game so my opinion definitely didn't fucking matter."

Released on June 8, 2010, "Toot It and Boot It" peaked at No. 67 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first of 15 songs featuring Ty's vocals to make the chart.

Ty and YG have collaborated on numerous occasions since their joint entrance into the game, including "Ex," a single from Ty's newly-released sophomore album, Beach House 3.


[FREE MOBILE DJ TRAINING, PT.3] “Behind The Scenes” Secrets Revealed

We’re carrying on our week-long free training series of videos for those who want to be or already are mobile and wedding DJs with a look at stuff that the best DJs do “behind the scenes” to ensure their success. If you think the high paid guys and girls just work harder, are lucky, or … Continued

The post [FREE MOBILE DJ TRAINING, PT.3] “Behind The Scenes” Secrets Revealed appeared first on Digital DJ Tips.

Kendrick’s “HUMBLE.” Becomes First Solo Rap Record of 2017 to Break 1M Pure Sales

Kendrick’s “HUMBLE.” Becomes First Solo Rap Record of 2017 to Break 1M Pure Sales

Kendrick Lamar earned the first solo No. 1 single of his career and also delivered the highest-debuting rap record since 2010 when he released "HUMBLE." this past April.

On top of quickly becoming the biggest single of his recording career, the Mike WiLL Made-It-produced record is now the only solo rap record released in 2017 to sell more than one million pure copies (non-streaming equivalents).

Per Chart Data:

DJ Khaled's "I'm the One" has also sold more than one million pure copies, though, the song features multiple guests (Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper, Quavo and Lil Wayne).

"HUMBLE." is the lead single off Lamar's 2x Platinum-certified album DAMN. If and when Lamar and his labels (TDE, Aftermath and Interscope) decide to submit an application to the RIAA for "HUMBLE." to also become certified—which, including streaming equivalents is probably pushing 3x Platinum certification—it will be his first Platinum single certification since To Pimp a Butterfly single "Alright" was certified this past February.


Ski Mask the Slump God Wisely Distances Himself from XXXTENTACION

Ski Mask the Slump God Wisely Distances Himself from XXXTENTACION

Ski Mask the Slump God has wisely decided to distance himself from fellow Floridian rapper and longtime friend XXXTENTACION, who was charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering charges last year, and will finally see his date in court this December.

“I’ll always love that alien-looking nigga named XXX,” Ski Mask told his fans on Instagram Stories, “[but] I had to distance myself because it’s like nobody would see me as an individual rapper if I don’t. On top of that, that nigga crazy as hell.”

The 21-year-old Republic Records signee might have been surprised by how hard it is to be a successful professional recording artist, but it isn't hard to imagine him being scared away by the horribly upsetting headlines that have followed XXX amid his ongoing legal issues. 

The expressions "guilty by association" and "you're judged by the company you keep" are often misused and cliché, but in this instance, both are applicable. Ski Mask, for all of his success up until this point, is still a newcomer in the industry. Being aligned with anyone—XXXTENTACION or otherwise—who, if convicted, would be facing substantial prison time, could have a negative impact on his reputation and, by extension, his entire recording career.

Don't take my word for it, though. Just ask Freddie Gibbs.


Lyor Cohen Had “No Interest” in Taking YouTube Job But Wants to Help Creatives

Lyor Cohen Had “No Interest” in Taking YouTube Job But Wants to Help Creatives

Veteran music industry executive Lyor Cohen recently sat down for an interview with Complex for their Blueprint series, during which he spoke with Noah Callahan-Bever about not wanting to fuck up Def Jam after he arrived, how changing the label's logo led to signing Redman and how much the record business has changed over the past 30-plus years.

Last fall, Cohen left his executive role at 300 Entertainment—a company he co-founded in 2012 with Roger Gold, Kevin Liles, and Todd Moscowitz—to become the Global Head of Music at YouTube, but according to the 58-year-old, the only reason he took the position was to help build a bridge between "the industry" and the creatives who believe that same entity doesn't care about them.

"I had no interest in this job, but I do have an interest in being helpful to our industry," Cohen explained. "And this is one of the most prestigious and powerful companies in the world, that I think have had a fundamental misunderstanding with the creative industry. That I think that, by virtue of me being there, can help shepherd, one, a basis of understanding, and two, a basis of building a business with the creative community that we can all be proud of."

Cohen called his own hiring by YouTube an "unusual choice" and, given his reputation as the label executive who pioneered the dreaded 360 record deal, I'd have to agree. It's almost laughable to think that any artist or producer who is familiar with Cohen's reputation, in particular, after he became Warner Music Group's chairman and chief executive in 2004, would believe he has their best interest at heart.

"Lyor Cohen has a reputation for being a lot of things, but music industry peacekeeper is not high on the list," Tim Ingham wrote last year for MBWW.

So, how exactly does Cohen plan to make nice-nice? Similar to looking for the next superstar act, Cohen says he always his eyes peeled for the individual who will be able to revolutionize the industry.

"I jump into my shoes: maybe today's the day I am going to bump into someone that's going to change the creative landscape. That's my first thought every day for over 30 years," Cohen added. 

And the search continues.


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