Friday, May 14, 2010

Drake's XXL Interview: The Leftovers

Photography shot exclusively for XXL by Jonathan Mannion

 Here's some of the more informative stuff that didn't make the upcoming Drake article with XXL. Drizzy discusses inspiration, how he wants to be viewed in rap, and how he responds to hate: 

Do you feel that you can go bar for bar with anybody?

Drake: As far as rappers? Um… I’m really still trying to become a better rapper, you know? And I still have idols. I still have people I look up to. I definitely don’t feel that I’m the best I can be nor am I the best rapper. Like I said, I just love making the music, and I’m less concerned about where I stand in the rankings and more about just where I stand with myself, like am I getting better? You know, am I the best I can be? I really don’t care about like compared to Hov or compared to Wayne. That’s another man. I’ve never been really worried about what anybody else is doing. I just use it as reference points and as influence and inspiration, but I don’t really bother myself with thinking who’s the best. ’Cause that doesn’t really matter. It’s just who’s got the songs that move people at the time. Like if you’ve got the title of being the best rapper but you don’t have the hottest songs out? To me, that’s what’s important is just like putting out consistently good product. I don’t really care how they rank me or anything like that. 

How important is it to be involved in the larger rap conversation?

Drake: I definitely want to be great. You know, I’m not saying I don’t care. I obviously care. I love being mentioned in a class of people that are incredible but I mean, you can focus on that shit and drive yourself crazy…. In different genres it’s way different. I think rap is probably the most competitive genre. 


Drake: R&B is becoming competitive, too. Especially with all the younger artists. But in I don’t know if Grizzly Bear is wondering if they’re better than Kings of Leon, you know [Laughs]. I think they all just make the music that they love and that’s kinda what I try to take away from those individuals is I just want to make the music, man, and however it turns out… I can’t sit here and tell you my music is so good ’cause it’s just not for me to decide. It’s for people to decide. The results are always evident. If you choose to ignore them and still say my music’s the best and I’m the best, that’s when you start getting lost. 

What’s the difference between writing R&B records and rap records for you?

Drake: R&B records, to be honest with you, is kinda like, I mean, process wise, like the way Jay writes raps I guess or the way Wayne writes raps. Like, they don’t write things down, they just like say it in their head and are able to retain all the information in their head [that’s] how I write R&B. I don’t write down the lyrics, I kind of just stand in the booth and I just keep singing and singing until I just find melodies and words that make sense or come together. Or I just stand in there and find melodies that I love and then really go outside of the booth and think about what’s been going on in my life and try to put words to it. R&B though, I mean it’s really pretty much the same content-wise, you know, it’s all pretty honest stuff. I always try to keep in mind that both male and female will be listening to it so I try to make R&B music that’s not too sappy and not too “girl this” and “girl that” just so that like I sound like a man who’s thinking. I sound like a man who’s confident just so that it’s not awkward for other men to listen to. And then at the same time I try to keep it empowering for women. Really I just like, I like my R&B to feel a certain way and then I that feeling is usually evident so when I get there I’m like okay, yeah, yeah, this is it. 

I’ve heard folks say that writing R&B records can be more difficult because there are less words to work with.

Drake: Yeah, I don’t know, to be honest with you, I kinda think that more words can often be more room for error. Like when you have to write a 16 bar verse or a 32 bar verse, which I often do, I feel like that can also be more difficult. I also feel like one of my biggest attributes or talents is finding melody. You know me and [my producer] 40 can sit together and pick melodies that other singers would probably just use as like a harmony but they just become so prominent when you use them as a lead. And yeah, to me, with R&B, I just don’t take it that serious where it’s like I’m an R&B singer and this song has to sound a certain type of way and if not then no one’s going to respect me, you know? I just kinda really allow myself to just have fun. I’m able to let go and just see what comes of it all the time. You know, because it’s the icing on the cake. It’s something that if I’m able to pull it together, I just see it as a plus. When we do get it right, it really adds a
dynamic to my career.

How do you make sure you’re saying something new? I can’t imagine you’re studying the entire catalog of every rap record made from all time.

Drake: Um, I mean, I have a pretty good idea. If I come up with something that I think is really, really clever, I’m not afraid to like Google it or really start sitting there and thinking about [it]. Obviously, you’re right – there’s no way for me to figure if it’s been said before in some rap record from some guy that I’ve never [heard of], but as far as prominent things where I’m going to say it and someone right away is going to be like oh that was ’Pac or oh, that was T.I…. I really do try and make sure that a lot of what I rap about has never really been worded in the way that I put it. 

Rather than reinterpreting someone else’s structure for instance.

Drake: It’s more in the words. I mean, I admire flows. I really do admire flows and sometimes I’ll flip flows that I love, like the dead prez flow, you know I love that flow. That’s one of the most powerful song’s startings ever in hip-hop in my opinion, you know, and I wanted to pay homage to that, but at the same time, like, unless I directly mean to, usually I’ll stay away from copying or just trying to emulate someone else’s whole style or the type of things they would say. 

Earlier you said, you can make just rap records and cater to a small segment, like how important is that to you? Or is it all about just being successful and making records to be successful?

Drake: Like to me, I think about them all the time because you know, I really do care about what they have to say, you know? …I still go on the websites like NahRight, like, I care, I really do care. So like I said, when I do have a chance to get in a rap mode, like for example I did this song off my album last night called “The Resistance.” It’s the song that comes right before “Over” and, man, that was one of those songs where I was like, you know, I really gotta take the time and write this song because it’s an opportunity to really rap and show people that I actually do care about rap and care about what you think about my flows and care about what you think about me as a rapper even if I have a crazy hook on it, which I do… But I still factor them into my thoughts. I haven’t let them go yet, that hip hop population that’s so judgmental and maybe hates everything I’m doing right now ’cause I’m doing it on such a grand scale and they feel like not a part of it all or they feel like I’ve abandoned them and what they stand for. I still think about them all the time. 

How do you respond to the hate?

Drake: I don’t respond. I cut myself off from outlets where I would be able to say anything anyway, but it’s really not my style to really say anything to people, you know. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, man, honestly, the music feedback I don’t really trip off of ’cause I know everybody likes their own thing so I don’t really trip when someone doesn’t like my music because what you’ll tend to do is there’ll be 40 people that say, “Oh, dope song,” and then there’ll be one guy that’s like, “Yo, this dude’s overrated, fuck Drake,” and that’s the one you’ll pay attention to. That one guy will make you feel like everybody’s online dissing you so it’s easy to get caught up in the trap of the feedback. But to be honest that’s not even the stuff that bothers me, man.
 Props: XXL via Necole of Necole Bitchie.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Good Fella Radio: J. Cole

Props: Nation of NahRight.

Big Boi + Top Emcee Lists

In this video, Big Boi gives his take on other people's opinion.

Props: Big Homie of Rap Radar.

SoulCultureTV: Just Blaze

Just talks labels versus bloggers and leaks.

Props: Elliott Wilson of Rap Radar

Okayplayer TV: Lupe Fiasco

In this video, Lupe talks about how he gets his gear, business ventures, piracy, and music leaks.

Props: Heather of Herfection.

Jay-Z + Eminem Stadium Shows Set For September

Jay-Z and Eminem are set to do two shows together this September. The shows will be in baseball stadiums in both artist's hometowns ( Comerica Park on the 2nd and Yankee Stadium on the 13th). Here are some more clips below:

And the Last clip:

Props: B. Dot of Rap Radar.

Spine TV: Jay Electroinca Interview Part 2

In part two of his interview with Spine TV, Jay speaks on the dismissive attitude of some East coast rappers towards rappers from other regions, primarily the south.

I'm so tired of hearing the "rappers from the south are slow" argument. A fraction should never represent the whole in any region; there are great, good, and bad artist everywhere. Irrational thinking like this unfairly labels and discredits talented artist that deserve recognition.

Props: Eskay of NahRight.

Spine TV: Jay Electroinca Interview Part 1

In this informative video, Jay talks about religion, labels, his influences, and why he loves samples so much. I didn't know he played in a band.

Props: Nation of NahRight.

Hard Knock TV: J. Cole

Props: Nation of NahRight.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fashawn + Blu: "Samsonite Man"

Two of the realest rappers you'll ever hear; good music, what else is new?

Props: Eskay of NahRight.

Drake: "Find Your Love"

I haven't done many Drake posts but don't get it twisted, I'm a fan; I've actually been listening to him since Comeback Season first dropped after getting put on game by my boy Dre. Was I a die hard fan? No. Are there other artist I like more? Yes. Does that change the fact I still like and support his music? Absolutely not. I could go into a rant here and elaborate on a much bigger topic but I've decided I'll save that for another post on another day. Now, back to the video.

I like this song much more than "Over" but I really like both videos. From what I hear, Drake's album is supposed to silence the critics (supposedly less singing more rapping). We'll see about that. Whether or not it does, "Find Your Love" and "Miss Me" have me waiting in anticipation for what is set to be one of this years' many crazy records; it's gonna be a hot summer. Thank Me Later drops June 15th.

Just Blaze + Alchemist In Amsterdam

Footage of Just Blaze and Alchemist's Amsterdam show from their over the pond tour.

Props: Nation of NahRight.

Friday, May 7, 2010

DJ Skee's Sneaker Collection

For all the people who claim I have "a lot" of Jordans, check out DJ Skee. His shoe game is ridiculous. Wow.
Props: B. Dot of Rap Radar.

Verteran Advice: Big Boi

Big Boi sits down with Dj Smallz and imparts some words of wisdom that all new artists should take to heart.

Props: B. Dot of Rap Radar.

Fat Joe Analyzes His Peers

After seeing a collage dedicated to several of Hip-Hop's great artists, Joe breaks down each person's significance and worth to the genre from his perspective. Got to respect his honesty.

Props: B. Dot of Rap Radar.

Behind The Scenes: Jay-Z & Betty White On SNL

Props: Big Homie of Rap Radar.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pharell + President Obama

First this, now this. As long as he doesn't start hanging with W I'm good.

Props: Kidult News.

Omen + Reggie Rock Club

Here's some footage of my homie Omen's show in his native Chicago from a few days ago. During his set, O did "Terminal O" (above) and  and "Beyond" (below). Still waiting on his forthcoming project Afraid Of Heights to drop hopefully sometime this lifetime year. All jokes aside, he's making sure everything flows right and he can deliver his best work thus far. So be patient folks, good things come in time.

Shout out to all the people that watched the show on Ustream. 

Wale on 106 & Park

"Nobody can see your vision better than really have to do it yourself"

Good advice, word to the wise. You can't wait on others to do things for you. Hell, you can't even wait on yourself to get things done; that's when complacency becomes comfortable (a.k.a. a lack of productivity) If you really believe in your dreams, you've got to set long term goals for yourself, have short term goals that coincide with your long term goals, and lastly, just do it.

Props: Nation of NahRight.

When I Was 17: Ludacris' Hustle

In this video, Ludacris Chris Bridges talks about the jobs he had in his pre-Ludacris days.

Ahhh man! This brings back so many memmories. I never worked at Pizza Hut but ask anybody at McMain I was the candy man! My mom wouldn't let me get a real job so I split the Sam's membership with her, bought candy, chips, drinks, sold 'em, made a profit, and did it all over again. I even sold beignets. 

Damn, good times..

Props: MTV

P.S. What jobs did you guys have growing up? Did you like it? Leave your comments and replies in the comments section.

Monday, May 3, 2010

PSA of the Day: Learn The Game

 File:Huey peering out window.jpg
 PSA of the Day: School yourself on the world or others will do it for you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

PSA of the Day: Why Are You Losing?
Today's PSA comes from one of my favorite shows, The Boondocks (The new season begins Sunday on Cartoon Network Adult Swim). Here's an exchange between Huey and Riley on losing from Season two: 

Riley: "Huey, I don't like losing."

Huey: "Then stop beating yourself."