Sunday, June 30, 2013

Janelle Monáe & Erykah Badu At 2013 BET Awards

What was with the dog? ~alx.O

Dancehall Medley At 2013 BET Awards

I grew up all these tunes and man I was jamming hard watching this. Reminds me of those old reggae mix cds that use to always get played at the house parties, you know the one with some random name on it like "Reggae Flava 98" Wow Good times. ~alx.O

J.Cole & Miguel At 2013 BET Awards

I'm a heavy J.Cole fan but idk I've seen him do better shows than this. Not saying that it was bad, not at all, just not as good as his others. ~alx.O

Miguel & Kendrick Lamar At 2013 BET Awards

I can't lie for a few seconds at the beginning I found myself thinking "Man, I hope this guy doesn't leg drop anyone." Yeah i know, very douchebag of me but I'm keeping it Regardless of that tho, it was a pretty good performance. ~alx.O

R. Kelly At 2013 BET Awards

Say what you will about R'Kelly but that man has hits!!!! I think this was one of my favorite performances of the night. Man, I was jamming hard as ~alx.O

Mariah Carey, Miguel & Young Jeezy At 2013 BET Awards

I enjoyed this but when It comes to Mariah I always find myself noticing that she barely moves around in her stage show. I can't remember the last amp'd up performance from Mariah, hmm just a though. Anyways, the stage looked really nice. ~alx.O

Robin Thicke, Pharrell, & T.I. At 2013 BET Awards

Though I've never been too much a fan of the song, I always like Robin Thicke performances and this one was no exception.

Chris Brown & Nicki Minaj At 2013 BET Awards

Chris Brown did his thang and Nicki just looked amazingly fly, that ass is just bananas!!lol ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Julian Kane- "Let Me Know"

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

NEW MUSIC: Janelle Monae “Dance Apocalyptic”

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Janelle Monae stands to be one of the my all time favorite artist and entertainer in the game. she is all around awesome and her approach to music never anything less than dope. "Dance Apocalyptic" is a winner in my book. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Justin Mass- "Never Falling Down"

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As cliche a topic in hiphop as "Never Falling Down" can be, I felt that Justin Mass did a great job of reinterpreting it and putting his own original twist it. I really like the track and I feel like his upcoming mixtape "Trial &Error" might be something to look out for. You can find more of Justin Mass's music through the link below. ~alx.O

"Click here for JustinMass music"

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NEW MUSIC: M.I.A. - "Bring The Noize" (Official Video)

For the most part I've always found myself at an impasse with M.I.A. It's either I really like her music or I really hate it, never a definitive stand point with her. But all things considered, I really enjoyed this track. I think it's a really good dance track. ~alx.O

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NEW MUSIC: Snow Tha Product - Gettin It (Official Video)

Although not here most lyrical song, I think its still pretty dope. It's a fun song for people who wanna have fun, think any deeper into it and you'll just miss it. ~alx.O


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This shit is hauntingly dope. Very different but also very dope. ~alx.O


INTERVIEW: Swizz On Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail

I can't wait for that new Jay shit to drop!!! ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Bow Wow “When I First Met Her”

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I felt like many dude could relate to this, every dude got that one story or that one woman. Pretty cool song, It delivered well. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Ace Hood – “We Them Ni**as”

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I been following Ace for a minute now and I think its finally almost his time to blow up. Trials & Tribulations feels like its gonna be a nigga album for him.

INTERVIEW: Papoose Interview at The Breakfast Club 6-25-13 [power 105.1]


I freaking love this song. ~alx.O


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Everyday I find myself one step closer to being an MGK fan. And to be clear, in my opinion, there is a big difference between liking someone's music and being a fan of his overall artistry.  And with that said, I'm almost there. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Joey Bada$$ x Kirk Knight “Amethyst Rockstar”

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This shit is tough, I can't wait till the Ep drops on July 1st. I feel like the summer of 2013 is gonna be a great one for HipHop. J.Cole/Kanye/MacMiller/Wale/JayZ/JoeyBadass


Slum Village does it once again, I'm really feeling this one. "BraveHearts" is real raw hiphop at its finest. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Bridget Kelly - Street Dreamin ft. Kendrick Lamar

KDot definitely kills his verse but I'm not to satisfied with the rest of the song. I think the lovely Bridget Kelly has a very nice voice but I don't think the song was written well enough to compliment it. I found myself just wanting more from the lyrics and feeling very bland about everything else. I wouldn't call it a strike out, but she barely made it to first base with this one. ~alx.O

NEW VIDEO: Casey Veggies “Everything Wavy”

I haven't been the biggest Casey Veggies fan but this go hard. That hook is catchy as hell and that beat is dope. Straight driving music. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Tiara Thomas “4 Dolla Bill”

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This was another instance where I didn't like the sound at first but I gave it a few more seconds. Overall, I'm not to overjoyed with the song but towards the end I did find myself bouncing to it, so I give it a pass. "4dollaBill" is okay. ~alx.O

Saturday, June 22, 2013

NEW MUSIC: Drake - The Motion ft. Sampha

I'm not sure if this'll be on the album or not but it's definitely showing growth in Drake's sound, in regards to his vocal arrangement and melodic creativity. Sorta feels like a hybrid of something that both Aaliyah and Sade would do, hmm maybe that was the inspiration. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: J. Cole - Let Nas Down (REMIX) feat. Nas

I loved the FUCK outta this song!!!! Such a dope hiphop moment, salute to Nas the legend and to Cole the new king. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Drake - Jodeci (Freestyle) ft. J Cole

I think that these two guys on a track is definitely a recipe for greatness. Though both had dope verses, one of Cole's line stood out to me "You go check the numbers Dummy, thats just me getting started/ I'm artistic, you niggas autistic retarded." ~alx.O

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

INTERVIEW: J.Cole at The Breakfast Club - Power 105.1

He said "It's no fair, Tupac had mobbdeep and Biggie and I get left with is Tyrese and Diggy." Got'em!!!!! lol ~alx.O

J.Cole BornSinner Vlog Series: Vlog #7 (The conclusion to the series with the man himself J.Cole)

I been following the whole BornSinner campaign from the Vlog Series, the Crwn interview with Elliot Wilson, Many other interviews from various outlets, The "Yours Truly" Ep's, to the performance videos and I have to say that this group of people, The Dreamville Collective, did an amazing job of reaching the mass while still keeping the overall feel of their work organic. Of course, at the end of the day the music will speak for itself but I think in combination with the album, J.Cole and Dreamville have definitely left their mark in the hearts of fans and thats what I think is gonna be the ticket to their longevity and success in this game. J.Cole "BornSinner" in stores now ~alx.O

J.Cole's "BornSinner" Buy It Now 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

J Cole Freestyle With Funkmaster Flex (Part 2)

Kanye West Yeezus Commercial (Short-Film Starring Scott Disick)

Ummm, Jun 18th YEEZUZ in stores now, cop that. ~alx.O

INTERVIEW: DJ Drama Interviews J.Cole

I can't wait to buy the album. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Alicia Keys - Tears Always Win

It took me a little bit to ease into the song but once in, I really enjoyed it. And wow, she looks even more amazing now then she did at the start of her career. That is one beautiful woman, damn you Swiss Beats…lol ~alx.O


Although I normally hate how these guys do interviews, I think they handled this one pretty good. It was entertaining. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Meek DeMeo - Paper Birds ft. Kendrick Lamar

This great for one of those nights where you find yourself alone cruising the streets at night. Very deep and introspective and KDot's verse, classic. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Drake - On My Way [Feat. James Fauntleroy] audio

This shit is just dope. I mean Drakes definitely no R&B singer but he makes really great slow jams.

NEW MUSIC: Chris Brown x Aaliyah “Don’t Think They Know” (Official Video)

Although I feel that the song came out really really good, I can't help but feel like it might have been penned by Drake. And being that Aaliyah is one of Drakes greatest inspirations, could it be that Chris Brown through a jab by taking the song and putting Aaliyah on it? I mean, I could be just looking to deep into it but with how songs get written and then sold so quickly these days, it's very possible that Drake might have penned the song not knowing where it'd end up. Don't know, but I'm a do some digging and keep ya'll posted on what I find. In the mean time, enjoy. ~alx.O

Monday, June 17, 2013

NEW MUSIC: John Legend “Made To Love”

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I really liked the feel of this track. Great traveling music. I'm curious to see where Mr. Legend is going with this album. So far, I definitely digging it. ~alx.O

VIDEO: Kendrick Lamar in K104 Studio Kickin' A Freestyle with Bay Bay

NEW MUSIC: Bas - Lit feat J.Cole and KQuick (Official Video)

It's cool to finally put a face to the name Bas. I think he's really nice. I feel like the DreamVille Collective are gonna be a problem this year, and this song is just further proof of that. Really dope song. ~alx.O

J.Cole Freestyles on FunkMaster Flex (For those who missed it on the radio earlier this evening)

Whoooo!! Cole killed that shit!!!! I heard this shit live on the drive home from work and I was like 'DAMN, this nigga kill'em right now, WHAT!!" lol Anyways, I found the video and decided to share it for those who didn't get a chance to hear it. BORNSINNER in stores now, enough said cop that shit and feel blessed to be a part a great artist's career. shit, them bars are the truth. ~alx.O

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Usher's "Looking 4 Myself" Presented by Samsung

I just thought this shit was freaking cool, I want one of them Tv's. Usher needs to work on his acting tho, not that convincing. It just seemed like in every scene he mad wind blowing in his ~alx.O

NEW ALBUM: Mac Miller- Watching Movies With The Sound Off (STREAM ABLUM NOW)

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For those, like myself, who have been patiently waiting for this amazing june 18th date to arrive. Mac Miller gives us all a chance to hear and get a feel of the album before it drops, which is pretty awesome I think. So enjoy and be sure to cop that album on June 18th. ~alx.O

Click here to stream Mac Miller's "Watching Movies With The Sound Off

J.Cole Born Sinner Vlog #6: Cedric “Ced” Brown

As a person who also sold drugs and tasted rock bottom and then channelled all that energy into music, I felt this one hit very close to home. It's crazy to me, that there are people out there that still underestimate the power of music. Some that still say hiphop is a bad influence on the developing mind. I like to think that people like Cedric "Ced" Brown and myself are testaments to the opposite. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Macklemore x Ryan Lewis “Stay At Home Dad”

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I really love the fact that someone in hiphop is being as unorthodox as the these guys are. "Stay at home Dad" is such a different kinda cool that even if it isn't as lyrical as their latter stuff, it still keeps up with their whole movement beautifully. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Ceaze - Underrated [Official Video]

I found this track to be very nostalgic to a sound that I love very deeply. I think the track was done well and he did right with the lyrics. It hits every mark and takes you exactly where you wanna go. And as a big fan of hiphop myself, thats exactly what you want from a song like that. ~alx.O

Inside "Magna Carta Holy Grail" with JAY Z + Samsung

I think videos like these are what make people into loyal fans. It brings a deeper level of intimacy and broadens the range for a Artist/Fan connection. And JayZ is the king of making his fans fans feel connected to him. This video is further proof of that. "Magna Carta Holy Grail" July 4th

Thursday, June 13, 2013

NEW EP: Rickie Jacobs – Beautiful America

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I told ya'll I was gonna keep ya posted on this dude and as promised, here's his latest Ep titled "Beautiful America". ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Michael Francis – Nona’s Reservoir

I really like this guys music and videos. The video for "Nona's Reservoir" felt more like a movie than a normal music video and the song did a really great job of taking you deeper into the story line. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I see big things in this guys future. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Ace Hood- "Da Streets"

Idk what it is but I really feel like that new Ace Hood album is gonna be a real big one for him. I'm definitely watching. ~alx.O

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NEW to me MUSIC: mdnt - Dreamcatcher ft. Jez Dior

So I decided to start a new category of music titled "New to me Music". The reason for this is, is because as I go deeper into the blogosphere I keep finding these jewels of music that are, in fact, new to me but old to others. This song being one of those jewels. I really enjoyed it and I thought you guys would appreciate it as well. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Black Atlass- Paris (Acoustic)

Sonically, I thought this was absolutely beautiful and so I had to share. Although, not my normal genre of focus but definitely a genre of music that is very close to my heart. enjoy. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Caligula Ft. Wiz Khalifa ” Fighter Jet”

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I'm not gonna front when I first hit play, I was like wtf!! But then I let it play a bit and surprisingly enough the song grew on me really fast. I found myself singing the hook by the end of the song. Lesson of the day, let it play a bit, you might be surprised. ~alx.O


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Ughh!!! This shit is just gross how ill it is, wow!!! I mean I didn't expected the 50 collabo but it fit really good in the overall vision of the track. I been holding back from streaming the whole album, waiting for it to drop, but tracks like this make it hard. Real tough. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Slum Village “Summer Breeze”

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Wooo!!! yeah boy, now that some live shit right there. Slum hit it on the head with this one, fo'real.  Be sure to cop the album "Evolution" june 25th. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Joey Bada$$ “95′ Til Infinity”

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I freaking love the shit out of this. As a rap fanatic, it's tracks like this that evoke, within me, that very spirit that made me fall in love with hipHop in the first place. ~alx.O

NEW MUSIC: Joe x Fat Joe “I’d Rather Have A Love (Remix)”

NEW MUSIC: Rockie Fresh x Wiz Khalifa “Kush Do (Remix)”

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I can't say that I've been a huge Rocko Fresh fan in the past but this track definitely pushes me in that direction. I love everything about this, the concept, the production, and the lyrics. It's perfectly dope. alx.O

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Article: Kanye West talks about the album, parenthood, and more in an interview with Jon Caramanica for The New York Times

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By Jon Caramanica.

Malibu, Calif. — From Shangri-la Studio here you can see the Pacific Ocean just over the fence lapping calmly at Zuma Beach. And this compound is just as Zen, with recording equipment set up in various locations, including an old bus and a spotless white house with all the mirrors removed.

But there is no rest at Shangri-la, at least for Kanye West. For several days in late May and early June, he and a rotating group of intimates, collaborators and hangers-on were holed up in service of finishing “Yeezus” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), Mr. West’s sixth solo album, out Tuesday, and one that marks a turn away from his reliable maximalism to something more urgent and visceral.
The original studios were built under the supervision of Bob Dylan and the Band in the 1970s — some of “The Last Waltz” was filmed here — and the property was bought in 2011 by the producer Rick Rubin, the man whose brain Mr. West had come here to pick. Together, they sandpapered off the album’s rough edges, rerecording vocals and sometimes writing entire new verses. Even as the deadline loomed, Mr. West made room for an appearance at the baby shower for his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, who’s expecting their first child. As the days passed, the songs noticeably morphed, becoming more skeletal and ferocious.
One afternoon, Mr. Rubin exited the studio and declared, to everyone and no one, “It’s un-bee-leave-able what’s happening in there.”
If by that he meant the paring-down to what Mr. West lightheartedly referred to as “aspiration minimalism,” then yes, it was somewhat unbelievable.
Mr. West has had the most sui generis hip-hop career of the last decade. No rapper has embodied hip-hop’s often contradictory impulses of narcissism and social good quite as he has, and no producer has celebrated the lush and the ornate quite as he has. He has spent most of his career in additive mode, figuring out how to make music that’s majestic and thought-provoking and grand-scaled. And he’s also widened the genre’s gates, whether for middle-class values or high-fashion and high-art dreams.
At the same time, he’s been a frequent lightning rod for controversy, a bombastic figure who can count rankling two presidents among his achievements, along with being a reliably dyspeptic presence at award shows (when he attends them).
But Mr. West is, above all, a technician, obsessed with sound, and the music of “Yeezus” — spare, direct and throbbing — is, effectively, a palate cleanser after years of overexertion, backing up lyrics that are among the most serrated and provocative of his career.
In a conversation that spanned several hours over three days, and is excerpted here, the Chicago-raised Mr. West, 36, was similarly forthright, both elliptical and lucid, even as long workdays led to evident fatigue. He compared the current moment — about to release “Yeezus,” and looking to make a bigger footprint in worlds outside of music — to life just before his debut album, “The College Dropout,” from 2004, another time when he was in untested waters. “I want to break the glass ceilings,” he said. “I’m frustrated.”
When your debut album, “The College Dropout” came out, the thing that people began to associate with you besides music was: Here’s someone who’s going to argue for his place in history; like, “Why am I not getting five stars?”
I think you got to make your case. Seventh grade, I wanted to be on the basketball team. I didn’t get on the team, so that summer I practiced. I was on the summer league. My team won the championship; I was the point guard. And then when I went for eighth grade, I practiced and I hit every free throw, every layup, and the next day I looked on this chart, and my name wasn’t on it. I asked the coach what’s up, and they were like, “You’re just not on it.” I was like, “But I hit every shot.” The next year — I was on the junior team when I was a freshman, that’s how good I was. But I wasn’t on my eighth-grade team, because some coach — some Grammy, some reviewer, some fashion person, some blah blah blah — they’re all the same as that coach. Where I didn’t feel that I had a position in eighth grade to scream and say, “Because I hit every one of my shots, I deserve to be on this team!” I’m letting it out on everybody who doesn’t want to give me my credit.
And you know you hit your shots.
Yeah — you put me on the team. So I’m going to use my platform to tell people that they’re not being fair. Anytime I’ve had a big thing that’s ever pierced and cut across the Internet, it was a fight for justice. Justice. And when you say justice, it doesn’t have to be war. Justice could just be clearing a path for people to dream properly. It could be clearing a path to make it fair within the arena that I play. You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, “This is wrong.”
You’ve won a lot of Grammys.
“[My Beautiful] Dark [Twisted] Fantasy” and “Watch the Throne”: neither was nominated for Album of the Year, and I made both of those in one year. I don’t know if this is statistically right, but I’m assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven’t won one against a white person.
But the thing is, I don’t care about the Grammys; I just would like for the statistics to be more accurate.
You want the historical record to be right.
Yeah, I don’t want them to rewrite history right in front of us. At least, not on my clock. I really appreciate the moments that I was able to win rap album of the year or whatever. But after a while, it’s like: “Wait a second; this isn’t fair. This is a setup.” I remember when both Gnarls Barkley and Justin [Timberlake] lost for Album of the Year, and I looked at Justin, and I was like: “Do you want me to go onstage for you? You know, do you want me to fight” —
For you.
For what’s right. I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things. So when the next little girl that wants to be, you know, a musician and give up her anonymity and her voice to express her talent and bring something special to the world, and it’s time for us to roll out and say, “Did this person have the biggest thing of the year?” — that thing is more fair because I was there.
But has that instinct led you astray? Like the Taylor Swift interruption at the MTV Video Music Awards, things like that.
It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.
Mr. West interrupting Taylor Swift’s appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden in 2009.
Gary Hershorn/Reuters
Mr. West interrupting Taylor Swift’s appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden in 2009.
So no regrets?
I don’t have one regret.
Do you believe in the concept of regret?
If anyone’s reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now.
But that is something that you apologized for.
Yeah, I think that I have like, faltered, you know, as a human. My message isn’t perfectly defined. I have, as a human being, fallen to peer pressure.
So that was a situation in which you gave in to peer pressure to apologize?
So if you had a choice between taking back the original action or taking back the apology, you’d take back the apology?
You know what? I can answer that, but I’m — I’m just — not afraid, but I know that would be such a distraction. It’s such a strong thing, and people have such a strong feeling about it. “Dark Fantasy” was my long, backhanded apology. You know how people give a backhanded compliment? It was a backhanded apology. It was like, all these raps, all these sonic acrobatics. I was like: “Let me show you guys what I can do, and please accept me back. You want to have me on your shelves.”
The Albums
That’s fascinating, to look at that record through that lens.
I don’t have some type of romantic relationship with the public. I’m like, the anti-celebrity, and my music comes from a place of being anti. That was the album where I gave people what they wanted. I don’t think that at that point, with my relationship with the public and with skeptical buyers, that I could’ve done “Black Skinhead” [from “Yeezus]
Does that make “Dark Fantasy” a dishonest album in some way?
It’s always going to be 80 percent, at least, what I want to give, and 20 percent fulfilling a perception. If you walk into an old man’s house, they’re not giving nothing. They’re at 100 percent exactly what they want to do. I would hear stories about Steve Jobs and feel like he was at 100 percent exactly what he wanted to do, but I’m sure even a Steve Jobs has compromised. Even a Rick Owens has compromised. You know, even a Kanye West has compromised. Sometimes you don’t even know when you’re being compromised till after the fact, and that’s what you regret.
I don’t want to come off dissing “Dark Fantasy.” It’s me never being satisfied and then me coming and admitting and saying the truth. As much as I can air things out for other people, to air things out for myself, to say, “I feel like this could’ve been stronger.”
It’s interesting to think of that album as compromise, when it follows “808s & Heartbreak,” which seemed very clearly to be the moment where you’re like, “O.K., forget everything that’s been expected of me.”
Yeah, people asked me to change my name for that album.
Like, label people?
Yeah, different people. They said, “Do it under a different name.” And when it came out, people used to be like, “Man, I wish it had more rapping on it.” But I think the fact that I can’t sing that well is what makes “808s” so special.
A fully trained professional singer couldn’t have done that record. It just wouldn’t have ever come out that way.
Yeah. I love the fact that I’m bad at [things], you know what I’m saying? I’m forever the 35-year-old 5-year-old. I’m forever the 5-year-old of something.
A lot happened between “Graduation” and “808s,” obviously: a lot of struggle, a lot of tough things for you. [Mr. West’s mother died in 2007.]
Creative output, you know, is just pain. I’m going to be cliché for a minute and say that great art comes from pain. But also I’d say a bigger statement than that is: Great art comes from great artists. There’s a bunch of people that are hurt that still couldn’t have made the album that was super-polarizing and redefined the sound of radio.
Do you feel like “808s” is the album of yours that has had the most impact?
There are people who have figured out the exact, you know, Kanye West formula, the mix between “Graduation” and “808s,” and were able to become more successful at it. “Stronger” was the first, like, dance-rap song that resonated to that level, and then “808s” was the first album of that kind, you know? It was the first, like, black new wave album. I didn’t realize I was new wave until this project. Thus my connection with [the graphic designer] Peter Saville, with Raf Simons, with high-end fashion, with minor chords. I hadn’t heard new wave! But I am a black new wave artist.
Was singing always something you wanted to do?
I just dove more into rapping because I had a lot that I wanted to express, and I wasn’t a really, really good singer.
Even though you had always wanted to be out in front, was there ever a point where you valued your anonymity?
Yeah, I held on to the last moments of it. I knew when I wrote the line “light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson” [from the song “Slow Jamz"] I was going to be a big star. At the time, they used to have the Virgin music [stores], and I would go there and just go up the escalator and say to myself, “I’m soaking in these last moments of anonymity.” I knew I was going to make it this far; I knew that this was going to happen.
But producting happened for you first, especially after Jay-Z used you so heavily on “The Blueprint.”
I used to have tracks that sounded like Timbaland; I had tracks that sounded like [DJ Premier]. But Jay-Z was an amazing communicator that made the soul sound extremely popular. And because I could make the soul sound in my sleep, it finally gave me a platform to put the message that my parents put inside of me and that Dead Prez helped to get out of me and Mos Def and [Talib] Kweli, they helped to get out of me: I was able to put it, sloppily rap it, on top of the platform that Jay-Z had created for me.
Before, when I wanted to rap, my raps sounded like a bit like Cam’ron; they sounded a bit like Mase; they sounded a bit like Jay-Z or whoever. And it wasn’t until I hung out with Dead Prez and understood how to make, you know, raps with a message sound cool that I was able to just write “All Falls Down” in 15 minutes.
Is that true?
Yeah, that’s how I discovered my style. I was just hanging out with them all the time in New York. I would produce for them. You know, I was able to slip past everything with a pink polo, but I am Dead Prez. And now, because I was able to slip past, I have a responsibility at all times.
Jay-Z, left, with Mr. West at the Hot 97 Summer Jam in 2005.
Theo Wargo/WireImage for Hot 97
Jay-Z, left, with Mr. West at the Hot 97 Summer Jam in 2005.
What were the things that you were trying to do on “Late Registration” that you either did not or could not yet do on “Dropout”?
I was trying to do different things with orchestras. It was just a vibe that I was trying to get at, a sound I was trying to mix with hip-hop to try to see how far I could expand it. I guess that was a Chicago thing, like Quincy Jones.
But you came here, you worked with Jon Brion [the Fiona Apple producer].
I really liked the sound of some projects that Jon Brion had worked on. I was always considered this crazy hothead kid, but I would always just go and just really break bread with someone who I respected. I will completely bow to anybody I respect.
That era also includes what I find probably the most moving thing that you’ve ever done, which is calling out President Bush at the Hurricane Katrina telethon. To me, that moment is actually the peak of putting a message in a pop format, even though it’s not a song.
Yeah. I guess it’s a very pop moment of a lifetime or generation. I mean, my dad’s generation is a generation of messaging, you know? But that’s just a piece of me being the opinionated individual that I am.
Were you conscious that that’s what you were doing, or was it totally just instinct?
Yeah, it was pretty bugged out. When you think about it, I was wearing like, a Juicy Couture men’s polo shirt. We weren’t there, like, ready for war.
I wonder if you see things in a more race-aware way now, later in your career, than you did then. The intensity of the feelings on “Watch the Throne” is much sharper.
No, it’s just being able to articulate yourself better. “All Falls Down” is the same [stuff]. I mean, I am my father’s son. I’m my mother’s child. That’s how I was raised. I am in the lineage of Gil Scott-Heron, great activist-type artists. But I’m also in the lineage of a Miles Davis — you know, that liked nice things also.
On “Throne,” who’s in a darker mood on that record, you or Jay-Z?
I’m always the one that’s in a darker mood. And then also there was still a thing where I didn’t feel comfortable, you know, going out on tour, the this, the that — all that by myself, yet. Like, I needed—
A buffer, kind of.
I needed to connect with Jay.
Part of it was you wanting to have someone standing next to you and say, “He’s cool. Ye’s cool.”
Yeah, even with the kilt on.
Public Versus Private
You look at Jay or Diddy, and I’d say like, 90 percent of the time, you think they’re having a good time. With you, I would say, I don’t know, 50-50 maybe? Or 30-70?
Maybe 90 percent of the time it looks like I’m not having a good time.
But you’re in a very public relationship, a seemingly long and satisfying relationship: you’re about to have a child.
Any woman that you’re in love with or that loves you is going to command a certain amount of, you know, energy. It’s actually easier to focus, in some ways.
When you’re uncertain about love, it can be such a distraction. It infects all the other areas.
Yeah, that’s what I mean when I say like, “Yo, I’m going to be super Zenned out like, five years from now.” I’m the type of rock star that likes to have a girlfriend, you know? I’m the type of soul that likes to be in love and likes to be able to focus. And that inspires me.
On “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” there’s a really affectionate scene where you go and help Kim sort through her clothes.
That was from a place of love. It’s hard when people read things in a lot of different ways. You know, the amount of backlash I got from it is when I decided to not be on the show anymore. And it’s not that I have an issue with the show; I just have an issue with the amount of backlash that I get. Because I just see like, an amazing person that I’m in love with that I want to help.
Did you think differently about family after your mother passed?
Yeah, because my mother was — you know, I have family, but I was with my mother 80 percent of the time. My mom was basically — [pause]
Was your family.
Yeah, that’s all I have to say about that.
Mr. West with his mother, Donda West, in 2007, the year she died.
Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Mr. West with his mother, Donda West, in 2007, the year she died.
What thoughts do you have about parenthood?
That is a really interesting, powerful question. One of the things was just to be protective, that I would do anything to protect my child or my child’s mother. As simple as that.
Have you ever felt as fiercely protective over anything as you are feeling now about those things?
I don’t want to explain too much into what my thoughts on, you know, fatherhood are, because I’ve not fully developed those thoughts yet. I don’t have a kid yet.
You haven’t experienced it yet.
Yeah. Well, I just don’t want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby.
Birthing ‘Yeezus’
One of the things I thought when I heard the new record was, “This is the anti-'College Dropout.’ ” It feels like you’re shedding skin. Back then, you were like: “I want more sounds. I want more complicated raps. I want all the things.” At what point did that change?
Architecture — you know, this one Corbusier lamp was like, my greatest inspiration. I lived in Paris in this loft space and recorded in my living room, and it just had the worst acoustics possible, but also the songs had to be super simple, because if you turned up some complicated sound and a track with too much bass, it’s not going to work in that space. This is earlier this year. I would go to museums and just like, the Louvre would have a furniture exhibit, and I visited it like, five times, even privately. And I would go see actual Corbusier homes in real life and just talk about, you know, why did they design it? They did like, the biggest glass panes that had ever been done. Like I say, I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body. It’s cool to bring all those vibes and then eventually come back to Rick [Rubin], because I would always think about Def Jam.
His records did used to say “reduced by Rick Rubin.”
For him, it’s really just inside of him. I’m still just a kid learning about minimalism, and he’s a master of it. It’s just really such a blessing, to be able to work with him. I want to say that after working with Rick, it humbled me to realize why I hadn’t — even though I produced “Watch the Throne”; even though I produced “Dark Fantasy” — why I hadn’t won Album of the Year yet.
This album is moments that I haven’t done before, like just my voice and drums. What people call a rant — but put it next to just a drumbeat, and it cuts to the level of, like, Run-D.M.C. or KRS-One. The last record I can remember — and I’m going to name records that you’ll think are cheesy — but like, J-Kwon, “Tipsy.” People would think that’s like a lower-quality, less intellectual form of hip-hop, but that’s always my No. 1. There’s no opera sounds on this new album, you know what I mean? It’s just like, super low-bit. I’m still, like, slightly a snob, but I completely removed my snob heaven songs; I just removed them altogether.
On this album, the way that it emphasizes bass and texture, you’re privileging the body, and that’s not snobby.
Yeah, it’s like trap and drill and house. I knew that I wanted to have a deep Chicago influence on this album, and I would listen to like, old Chicago house. I think that even “Black Skinhead” could border on house, “On Sight” sounds like acid house, and then “I Am a God” obviously sounds, like, super house.
Yeah, visceral, tribal. I’m just trying to cut away all the — you know, it’s even like what we talk about with clothing and fashion, that sometimes all that gets in the way. You even see the way I dress now is so super straight.
Does it take you less time to get dressed now than it did five years ago?
Hell, yeah.
You look at your outfits from five or seven years ago, and it’s like —
Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.
One of the things that you’ve thrived on over the years is sort of a self-conception as an outsider, that you’re fighting your way in. Do you still, in this moment, feel like that?
No, I don’t think I feel like that anymore. I feel like I don’t want to be inside anymore. Like, I uninvited myself.
What changed?
I think just more actual self-realization and self-belief. The longer your ‘gevity is, the more confidence you build. The idea of Kanye and vanity are like, synonymous. But I’ve put myself in a lot of places where a vain person wouldn’t put themselves in. Like what’s vanity about wearing a kilt?
But there’s vanity in fashion. You make clothes, but some people think it’s a vanity project, that you don’t take it seriously.
But the passion is for humanity. The passion is for people. The passion is for the 18-year-old version of myself. The passion is for the kids at my shows. I need to do more. I need to be able to give people more of what they want that currently is behind a glass. I don’t believe that it’s luxury to go into a store and not be able to afford something. I believe luxury is to be able to go into a store and be able to afford something.
I sat down with a clothing guy that I won’t mention, but hopefully if he reads this article, he knows it’s him and knows that out of respect, I didn’t mention his name: this guy, he questioned me before I left his office:, “If you’ve done this, this, and this, why haven’t you gone further in fashion?” And I say, “I’m learning.” But ultimately, this guy that was talking to me doesn’t make Christmas presents, meaning that nobody was asking for his [stuff] as a Christmas present. If you don’t make Christmas presents, meaning making something that’s so emotionally connected to people, don’t talk to me.
Mr. West at his Spring/Summer 2012 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris in October 2011.
Francois Guillot/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mr. West at his Spring/Summer 2012 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris in October 2011.
But at the same time, this feels like the Grammy conversation, because what I keep thinking is: the people whose hands you’re trying to shake, they may control certain corridors of power, but those aren’t even the relevant corridors of power anymore.
I’m a professional musician because I have the structure of Universal Records. I’m a professional creative. Since I did the Louis Vuitton sneaker, I’ve never been allowed to be in a continually creative structured place that makes product. I’ve had meetings where a guy actually told me, “What we’re trying to figure out is how we can control you.” In the meeting, to me! Why do you want to control me? Like, I want the world to be better! All I want is positive! All I want is dopeness! Why would you want to control that?
That’s why I said “I throw these Maybach keys” [in the new song “New Slaves"]. I would rather sit in a factory than sit in a Maybach.
I want to tell people, “I can create more for this world, and I’ve hit the glass ceiling.” If I don’t scream, if I don’t say something, then no one’s going to say anything, you know? So I come to them and say, “Dude, talk to me! Respect me!”
Respect my trendsetting.
Yeah, respect my trendsetting abilities. Once that happens, everyone wins. The world wins; fresh kids win; creatives win; the company wins.
I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.
I’ve been connected to the most culturally important albums of the past four years, the most influential artists of the past ten years. You have like, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière, Anna Wintour, David Stern.
I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people: “This is the level that things could be at.” So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities. I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.

NEW MUSIC: Action Bronson Ft. Prodigy & Raekwon - Seven Series Triplets (Prod. By Harry Fraud)

This shit goes hard!!! I can't lie I been sleeping on Action for a lil bit but damn I can't deny him anymore, he's got it. And of course both Prodigy and Raekwon killed it but shit I expected nothing less from legends ~alx.O

ARTICLE: "Elite: Sinner's Advocate" By Gregory Calvaire for Page 31 (An Article on J.Cole's co-producer and long time friend Elite)

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Page 31: How did you and J Cole come across each other and develop your working relationship?

Elite: When we were young I was an intern for Ruff Ryders, and had maybe one placement or something and I would go online like everyone else—and this was way back in like 01 when the internet was still kind of new, and we were rap fanatics. We would post lyrics and songs at the time and I think Cole hit me up, he knew I worked with Ruff Ryders and showed me his music, and he was like 15. He sent me the song called The Storm, which is available online, it’s the first song he ever recorded and it was incredible. I was like no way is a kid this age writing like this, he produced the song and everything, and so we developed a relationship. Then when he came to St. Johns for school, we just starting working together and the rest is history. 

P31: I believe one of his projects was recorded in your basement, maybe The Warm Up?
E: Yeah The Warm Up. Not my basement, but I had like a bedroom studio, which I just recently upgraded to a more professional situation. We were like bedroom producers, that’s the generation we’re in now. He recorded a bunch of The Warm Up at my crib, microphone in the closet. I produced for him on The Warm Up Heartache and Playground. We were in a nice little zone.

P31: Your obviously day one Dreamville fam. Cole said a few weeks ago he felt unsatisfied after Sideline Story, was that a uniform feeling? Were there things you felt he had to do next time around?

E: For me, I didn’t really have that many—I thoughtSideline Story was a great album, I still do. I thought Farewell should’ve been the outro, it was onFriday Night Lights. Everyone has their opinions, but I think now he looks back like damn, maybe I should’ve did that or this. When the album came out, I just thought this is a great album. Cole has very high expectations, and for me I thought it’s a great album and it’s selling but critically, the magazines were giving it mediocre reviews, and Cole wanted 5 stars across the board, which is what he’ll get with Born Sinner.

P31: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe you did 4 records on Born Sinner?

E: Well I co-produced Crooked Smile and Born Sinner. I did additional production on Runawayafterwards, and the song Let Nas Down, it’s interesting…I have a song on my mixtape as an artist featuring Dreamville artist Bas. Cole sampled it and flipped it into the Let Nas Down beat, which is like how he did Workout with Kanye’s song. So for Let Nas Down he sampled one of my records, which is a unique thing but its dope. 

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P31: You get to see these ideas as they’re being created, but what was you reaction to hearing Nas was let down by Work Out?

E: First of all I was blessed—that was an incredible song to be a part of. He called me in the studio when he sampled the joint, he’s like ‘yo I got this joint, I want you to hear,’ yada yada. But he hadn’t recorded it yet, so he plays the beat and he’s asking me should we change anything. I’m like dog, this shit is perfect, it sounds great. Just leave it how it is. Then he went into the booth and recorded the whole song all the way through, I think he might’ve done it in one take! Or at least maybe two. So I never heard the story, I’m hearing the story live as he’s rapping it in the booth. So I didn’t know, I didn’t know Nas didn’t like it, so I’m like what? This is incredible. To this day I still get chills when I hear the song and the honesty. It’s just so well written. The composition of the story is well written, its one of my favorite hip-hop songs ever. 

P31: Any word on if Nas got a chance to hear that one yet?

E: Yeah, I’ll let Cole tell that story and I’m sure he can tell it a lot better because he was there. There is a really cool story behind that one and I’m sure he’ll tell it at some point.

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P31: Every time the creation of Crooked Smile TLC collaboration come up I hear either you or Cole saying it’s a complex story of how it came together. Was there a lot of hoops and hurdles to put this together?

 Not really hoops and hurdles, more just we put a lot of time in. It was just an epic production and an epic story. It was just long. It was weird, it was one of those songs were every time we worked on it, it significantly improved. Sometimes when you work on songs and you touch it, it can take a step back but this one was just like gigantic steps forward every time. We worked on it for months. 

P31: The anticipation for the J Cole showdown with Kanye has reached a peak and unfortunately the album sprung a leak last night. What’s the reaction amongst Dreamville been like?

E: I haven’t spoke to Cole about it yet but I’m sure he knows, my thing is that every album leaks. You can’t stop it. You have to expect it to happen, it’s a matter of when. At the end of the day my opinion on it, is if the music is good, it’s not a bad thing it’s just spreading word. These days people are buying albums out of—you don’t need to, it’s like a donation. If it’s quality music and it leaks, it just builds a buzz, and if people want to support they can pre-order it.

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P31: You mentioned Bas a little while ago. He has a dope mixtape out called Quarter Water II. Did you spend time working with him on that project?

E: Uhh, not really. Bas works hard man, that’s one thing I really respect about him. He hasn’t been rapping long, like 2-3 years maybe. He was a natural and just one of those dudes that was around us so much that he picked up a lot and worked very fast. I worked with him a bunch of times; we have songs that haven’t come out yet. We did the song Teterboro that was going to be on the mixtape but didn’t end up fitting but still came out, it’s one of my favorite songs and we might shoot a video for it.

P31: What else have you been working on outside ofBorn Sinner?

E: I’ve been working on my 2nd mixtape as an artist, and I also have an artist named Sean McVerry that I'm signing to my production company. I’m working on his project now.

P31: What kind of records can we expect from Elite?

E: My record is, kinda emotional. My last one was emotional but there’s more of a theme to it. There’s kind of not love songs but songs about relationships.

P31: Now are we talking Joe Budden emotional or Drake emotional?

E: (laughs) I don’t know about Joe Budden emotion. it’s unique, it’s different. You gotta hear it. It’s just me.

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