Flo Rida – Interview

Flo Rida
Flo Rida
Tell us about the album.

The title of it is “R.O.O.T.S.,” which is an acronym for Route Of Overcoming The Struggle. The inspiration for it comes from my success and knowing that it wasn’t an overnight thing – that I was grinding for a long time and was making sacrifices for my love for music. It also takes inspiration from my recent trip to Africa. I was able to see their struggles, which made me want to tap deeper into my emotions. It justified the notion that believing is achieving no matter what burdens you face.

Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Akon, Nelly Furtado, Pleasure P, Ke$ha and Winter Gordon appear on the set, while will.i.am, J Rock and Dr. Luke, among others, produced on it.

How would you describe the direction of this album?

This album is very well-rounded. We have high-energy records on there as well as more stuff in the line of ‘Right Round.’ It’s very versatile – there are slower pace songs, I have high-energy songs, and I cover everything from happy moments to sad moments. There’s definitely something for everybody on this album.

‘Right Round’ samples the Dead or Alive classic song “You Spin Me round,” and is a little more pop than your previous stuff. How did the idea for ‘Right Round’ come about?

I always listened to those kinds of records growing up. But, it was actually my A&R from Atlantic that brought the beat to my attention. So, we went in the studio, Dr. Luke did the sample and made the production, and I recorded it.

What other songs on “R.O.O.T.S.” will be singles?

The next single is ‘Sugar.’ But I have other great songs on there too, like “Available,” co-written by will.i.am. That’s about letting the ladies know I’m single. There’s also the title track, which talks about different things I’ve been through, from growing up in the ghetto and being around people who sell drugs to keeping my eyes on the prize, believing in God and being obedient.

How does it feel to break your own Billboard chart record?

I was just happy about coming off my first album and going into my sophomore album, and to witness the production go into another level. I’m happy to be stepping it up. I didn’t know this record would be this big. I just love making music.

What’s your songwriting secret?

I have none, really. I tend to come up with hooks first, and then pen the verses, which is the easiest part for me, and then add melody. I also like to feel comfortable when I record, that’s about it. I like to have water in the studio and I usually take my jewelry off, and just sit on a couch. I like to feel normal, like I’m back in the hood.

Chopper City Boyz – Interview

A chat with B.G., Snipe, and Gar.

chopper city boyz

Starting off, a lot of people know your background BG, but what about Gar?

BG: Music, really chose me, I ain’t choose it. It was just something I would do just for fun. It was a talent that I didn’t look at as a talent at first. I used to be free styling in elementary, beating on the school desks and getting put out of class when the other kids were doing work. I preferred writing raps because it was just something that I always liked to do.

Gar: Music really wasn’t an interest of mine to tell you the truth. I was the type kid growing up, that did all kinds of things. I went school, hustled, played ball and more. But by BG staying two houses down from me at the time, I was kinda familiar with the whole studio thing. He’s like a brother to me, and in the effect once Juvie left Cash Money, BG went on the road with him to promoting his own album, he asked me to come out with him to be his hype-man. From that point on, we had recorded tracks in the studio together and later he asked me did I want to be apart of the family and I was like good lets get it cause we was like family already because we knew each other personally.

So it’s fair to say that BG and Juvie were influences on you, but are there any others by chance?

Gar: Ahhh. but of course, rappers like 2Pac, BIG, Eightball, MJG and Scarface are some of my others. I came up listening to what everybody down here come up listening to. New Orleans had shit on lock. Cash Money and No Limit Records were like the biggest influences on me from a label standpoint.

What about you BG?

BG: 2Pac, Scarface, Geto Boys, UGK and Soulja Slim are some of my big influences. I was into a lot of bounce music that’s true from New Orleans like KLC and Lil Slim.

Individually, how would you guys describe your style of music?

Gar: I mean I just call it ‘G-A’ you know, it’s authentic. I rap about what I do what I’ve seen or what I saw, so I let y’all pretty much describe what the style is but as long as it’s authentic it ‘G-A.’

BG: I define it as real, rough, rugged, raw, hood and ghetto fabulous.

Did you expect to have such a good response from your “Bubblegum” record?

Gar: I’ma keep it all the way “G” with ya shorty. I’m excited but I know how this shit go. One day your hot and one day your not, but at the same time we came out making quality street music and we had streets ringing. So the response, it really don’t have me trippin’, but I know that the record has potential because we used to making street music. This time around though, we wanted to switch it up and go with a female driven record.

BG: Honestly, I just wanted to try something different with the Chopper City Boys because this is my second Chopper City Boys album. The first one I put out on Koch and this one is coming out through Asylum. They already certified in the streets and my street credibility is ‘A1′, so you know the album off top is going to be G’d up and soldier down. But I just wanted to try something that was more female friendly, radio friendly, more clubbish but still have that street edge.

The name of your new album is “Life in the Concrete Jungle.” What does the name of this represent to you guys?

BG: Man, because Chopper City is another name for New Orleans. In New Orleans ain’t nothing but a jungle once you land at that airport. It’s like lions, tigers and bears. You got to cut the grass because the snakes in there. If you can live in New Orleans, you can live anywhere. It’s a straight up jungle down here and we just living life in the concrete jungle.

Gar: Life in the concrete jungle. New Orleans is a jungle and as humans you know, we compare em’. You got your snake ni**a, that’s your no good ni**as. You got your gorilla, that’s your ni**a that will do whatever.

Snipe: You got the beast in the east and gorillas uptown.

BG., why did you decide to push the group album before your 11th solo album?

BG: It was just the timing with Atlantic and with Asylum. I’m signed to Atlantic and Chopper City Boyz signed to Asylum, so it’s all about the right time. I want to go so hard though, you know by it being my 11th album, it means so much to me but I feel comfortable with putting the group album out first and setting a tone and then coming with mine.

Is it true that you’re linking up with the original Hot Boyz members for a new album?

BG: Yeah, the Hot Boyz reunion is most definitely in effect. I’m on board, Juvie on board, you know Wayne on board. I think the world has been wanting to see it for a minute now and even though we parted ways, we never had any problems amongst each other as a group. It was just bad business on the executive part of it, but we’ve shown that we can stand on our own two feet.
and still work together.

As proud natives from the N.O. you guys represent the energy coming from out the city even through the rebuilding at Katrina. While making this album did Katrina help to motivate some of the content on this album?

BG: Most definitely, Katrina being one of the biggest disasters, it made history. Our city will never be the same, but it always be in out hearts and it’s going to always come out in the music because we gotta live with that for the rest of our lives.

Other than Bubblegum, what else can we expect to come out?

Snipe: We’re going to let the fan base let us know what the next single should be.

Do you guys have a favorite record on the album?

Snipe: Every single one of them because I put my heart into it.

Which producers did you guys work with on the album?

Snipe: Production wise we got, Joe the CEO that produced the single Bubblegum. We got Bass Heavy, Cory from Detroit, Chauncey the producer and a lot more.

Gar: We working with a lot of producers that’s hungry from New Orleans and a lot of producers that’s just hungry from any Chopper City in their own state.

Who are some of the featured artists on this album?

Snipe: We got BloodRaw from CTE, we got Lax from the D Boys-from old Cash Money days, The Show from Mannie Fresh’s label Chubby Boy Records and ALFAMEGA from Grand Hustle Records.

Gar: We got Rocko, Straight Shot and Lil’ Dollar on the joint.

What do you think is the key to longevity in the music industry?

BG: Really and truly, just keeping it real with myself and staying consistent. Rapping is just my way of opening up and I’ve been putting people in my business my whole career. Like from my drug addiction to everything that I’ve been through with the criminal justice system. I just like to tell my story and people like hearing my story. A lot of people can relate to it.

Snipe: I mean you just got to stay afloat. You have to pretty much stay in game constantly, give ’em that street as much as they want it.

Gar: The thing is man, you gotta stand down point blank. Come out the same way you went in with the same mu***f***ers that’s real.

As a group, what are some of your goals? Do you have any aspirations outside of music?

Gar: See me and Snipe, we came up with a goal to both have solo deals by the end of the year. But it don’t matter, one of us or none of us, but that’s our goal with this rap shit.

BG: If it makes money, it makes sense to me. I could be an actor, I want to own a real-estate company. I want to own a couple of clubs. I want to open up a pharmacy. It’s a whole bunch of things that I want to do, but rapping is where my heart is at. That’s where my heart is at before the business is concern. I want to do a whole lot of different things for when I’m ready to hang the mic up.

How do you guys feel about current Hip-Hop right now?

Gar: I love it. Hip-Hop is right were it needs to be.

Snipe: It’s just a new era right now.

What is that era?

Snipe: It’s more dancing on the scene right now. Its all about club songs, but we got a whole lot of theme joints. This fact alone makes it easy for us to say that we got swag at the ass because we can switch into any lane.

Gar: Right now, the whole rap game done moved around and went from the west coast, to the east coast and now the south. We gotta hold that shit up. Florida is just beating the rap game over the brain right now. It’s a lot of smoke that’s about to come from New Orleans and they say Hip-Hop dead but Lil Wayne just did a mil in a week, so Hip-Hop is what ever you make it.

A lot of people know who guys are already, but for those who don’t – what do want yor new fans to get from ‘Life in the Concrete Jungle’?

Gar: Our core fan base already know what to expect but for the new fans if they listened to the first album and compared the two, they would say this album is more mature. You can see the growth and development, but from the both of us as artist, they can expect that street music that we make all the time. It’s quality street music.

What do you think your fans would be surprised to know what you do in your off time away from music?

Gar: Look at your window, we in the hood. We do the same thing y’all do man but y’all put us in this position and keep us in this position so we appreciate y’all as much as y’all appreciate us.

Snipe: We ordinary people just like you.

BG: Well I’m into politics. I’m following the Presidential Election between Obama and McCain. I spend time with my kids and just chill. I’m the same person I was before all this shit and I’ma be the same person after.

To date, what is your biggest career highlight?

BG: Let’s see, that word ‘bling, bling’ being in the dictionary really threw me off. For me having a word inducted into the dictionary is crazy, especially coming from where I come from and having the whole world saying ‘bling, bling’ that’s one of them.

Where do you guys see yourselves being in 5 or 10 years from now?

Gar: Successful. If God see the same, Barack Obama will be the first black president and that’s enough motivation for us to keeping working hard.

Snipe: I can’t see myself being no where but more successful than where I’m at now. I’m trying to reach a mark that a lot of people ain’t reaching for.

BG: Opening the doors for other young and upcoming artists that have dreams. I want to put people on and give those in the hood with talent a way out once I’m a hundred million strong, not even a hundred million strong, 20 million strong. I want to reach back out and help other people because I feel that’s where I feel blessings come from.

Ok guys, any parting words before we close out?

BG: I say it all the time, you keep it real with me, I’ma keep it real with you, and all my fans know that. I feel that’s how I survived and lasted in the game for so long, by just being myself and keeping it one hundred. I appreciate everybody, who appreciates me and what I’m doing.

Ali Vegas – Interview

An interview with Ali Vegas!

ali vegas

Tell me your whole inception into music. When did you first become interested and how did it all begin for you?
Ali Vegas: I was interested in music at the age of six. I started out writing poetry, but my poetry was so prolific that my older brother told me to say it over a beat. So when I went to go and put the beat behind it and said my part and he said that’s what I need to be doing. He got me hearing the rhyme and that’s when I fell in love with it.

Growing up, who were some of your strongest musical influences?
Ali Vegas: Wow… people like David Ruffin, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cook, Curtis Mayfield because they’re sound was good, but their stories would be deep.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to pursue rap on a professional level?
Ali Vegas: When I turned 12, that’s when the game chose me more so than me wanted to do it and that was I when I got brought up to TrackMasters.

It’s been about 9 years since the ramblings of Ali Vegas from Hip-Hop patrons carried much volume. You’re back and stronger than ever it seems. Give us an idea of what you were doing behind the scenes before the spotlight hit you once more?
Ali Vegas: You never go to war unless you got ammunition and in this business just when think you can get a rest, it gets even more hectic. I wanted to make sure that I took the time off to make sure that the ammunition was there so that I can put out song, after song, after song and album, after album, after album. I was in the lab making record, after record, after record. I preparing to make sure that I got quantity and not just the quantity, but quality to match the quantity.

What about the mix-tapes your where doing?
Ali Vegas: That was just music that I do. I would keep in touch with a few DJ’s and play them records and they would be like ‘you gotta put this out.’ I was just making music because I love making music. It was never about anything else, but when I got sat down they was like ‘you depriving the listeners of good music if you just make music because you want to make it, you know should let the world hear it,’ and that’s when I started coming out. That’s why some the mixtapes and most of my own mixtapes have original tracks on them.

How would you describe and/or define your style of music?
Ali Vegas: I don’t know, it’ kinda weird because it’s unorthodox. It embodies all aspects of music. It’s not backpack, it’s not trendy, it’s like all of that in one. I made my style to be like my favorite basketball player, Scottie Pippen. He could shoot the three, put the ball on the floor, go to the rack… basically do it all, so that’s how my style of Rap is. I really can do it all. It’s nothing in music that I can’t do.

Your new single, “That’s Nothing” is getting some serious buzz. Did you expect such a cool response??
Ali Vegas: I expected it. I really just wanted to show the teachers that the students appreciate the foundation that they built.

Your new release Generation Gap 2: The Prequel, what does the name of this album mean to you?
Ali Vegas: Bringing back before the beginning, that’s how I called it the prequel instead of the sequel. I just wanted to bring them back to before the beginning – before it all started. This album has songs with a reggae feel, R&B feel and a lot balance. It just tells the story to what made me want to rhyme.

For Generation Gap 2, what’s good about this album compared to the first?
Ali Vegas: The maturity level, I raised it. Number 2 outweighs number 1 of course because I’ve grown since then, but number 1 was just raw talent. It was kinda like a scientific test, like here – ‘just put’em a booth, let’ em out the cage and let’ em rip.’ Number 2 is the “know-how” album. I know what to do and when to do it. I know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. So that’s just the difference between them.

As a songwriter when you sit down to pen your rhymes/songs, where do you draw your inspiration(s) from?
Ali Vegas: Life… everyday life whether it’s something that I’m going through or somebody on my block is going through something and they come to me for advice.

In terms of production, who did you work with? How involved where you in the creative process?
Ali Vegas: I wanted to work with students of today and tomorrow and the teachers of today and yesterday. So production wise – I worked with DJ Premier, LES, Cool & Dre, Scott Storch and other students of the game such as J Nice, Midi Mafia and more. They are teachers of today. So I just really wanted to blend it, I really wanted to blend the production between the students and the teachers and just let the people know how it came about. How we got to today, you had to go through yesterday to get to today and I had my hands on everything during creating the album.

Any highlights, special guest artists or favorite tracks?
Ali Vegas: As far as artist, I did the same thing that I did with the production. I just wanted to put the students and the teachers on the same project. I worked with students of the game such as TRL, young TRL who is a 14 year old phenom, Siamese Twins, Golden Child, ‘phenomenal reggae artist, you’ll be hearing a lot from him.’ I put them on the same project with some of the illest teachers like AZ, Nas and Styles P. I worked with Akon, Rakim and others.

What’s the next track we can expect to hear?
Ali Vegas: Well the next song single will be “Blow Your Mind” featuring Sammie. It’s for the girls and the fellas at the same time because it’s a million ways to blow your mind. While Sammie serenades the ladies, I’ll give the brothas some truth on to how to have a relationship with a girl without sex being in the equation. It’s got a nice 80’s and Debarge “Rhythm of The Night” feel.

Let’s discuss longevity in this business of music — What do you feel has been, and will continue to be the key to your success? What will keep sustaining you in this grueling industry?
Ali Vegas: I been prepared since day one because I lived in a single parent home with my mother and a younger sibling. Overcoming that and being able to stand tall through the times and having to go out and make a way for the younger siblings at the same time taking care of your older siblings that might be in a bind, it’s been a grueling since day one. All of that showed me that it has a lot to do with me; it has to do with me because it’s all-apart of Gods plan. He has been preparing me for this since day one. What ever comes your way, just deal with it accordingly and that’s what I do with music… accordingly. I deal with it accordingly. I look ahead and I still look behind because that prepares me for the problems and the achievements that’ll come when I keep going forward. That’s all I do is analyze yesterday, keep part of it with me today and look forward to tomorrow.

Do you have any other aspirations, even outside of music?
Ali Vegas: I want to give the generation of tomorrow a more better chance than the generation than yesterday and the generation of today had. I just want raise the level of thinking, the level of integrity in music and just show that being a nerd is aright. That’s why I like Pharrell because he made the nerd cool. So many people growing up especially where I come from, view the nerd as the bad thing to be and I just want to say to people that being smart is aight. Being intelligent is good. You ain’t gotta be dumb or standing out on the corner all day just to be cool. I want to show them that they can be cool even when they’re smart and it’s a time and place for everything. That’s my main thing that I want to accomplish through music.

On a more serious note, would it be fair to say that you are happy with the current state of Hip-Hop music?
Ali Vegas: I feel like it’s right were it needs to be. I feel grateful for it because it’s a perfect setup for an artist like myself.

Are you happy with it though?
Ali Vegas: Yeah, it’s nothing wrong with it because it’s the same state of Hip-Hop when Whoodini was out, and when Rakim and others came along. Same way it was when 2 Live Crew and Luke was out making shake your bottom music and all that. So it’s all the same, nothings changed just the plays. The game and the music is still the same. The only thing bad about the state of Hip-Hop now is that there’s no balance.

Since everyone either knows you already, or will become familiar with you after seeing your videos on television and music on the radio, what do you want people to get from your music?
Ali Vegas: I just want them to realize good music is out there. I’m working on making that “member when” music again like the way that LL and Run DMC and others did it, that’s what I want them to get. It’s good music out there and they need to support it or stop complaining.

What would these same people find you doing in your spare time completely away from the music?
Ali Vegas: They would find me reading, writing, chilling with my family, working hard on my music, playing dominos and spades.

To date, what has been your biggest career highlight?
Ali Vegas: I would say me performing with Dougie Fresh, Dana Dane and Jungle Brothers. That was definitely one of them and I guess the utmost would be – being around today.

Some of us remember the beef you had with DJ Clue and Fabolous. What was behind it and has it been squashed?
Ali Vegas: Our families live on the same block; it’s just a brotherhood. In Hip-Hop it’s a brotherhood just like growing up under the same roof with any of your siblings. Your gonna have disagreements, not see eye to eye all the time and have arguments. Its just part of the game, its competition in the most competitive sport around – rap music. It was just friendly competition. We got over it, made up now we here today.

Coming from Queens, what’s your relationship with Nas?
Ali Vegas: Nas was there when I got signed. He was there when I was 12 years old getting my deal. He told me the some things to do and some things not to do. It’s times we keep our distance and that’s just the way it is, but we good. The relationship between us is there.

Looking ahead, say 5 or even 10 years from now, where do you see yourself?
Ali Vegas: Accomplished and being able to look back and say wow… ‘I accomplished mostly everything I wanted in the course of ten years.’

Interview: Slim of 112

With the success that his group 112 has had in the past years, it is no different that his success as a Solo Artist will be the same. Currently Slim is working on his solo album, “Loves Crazy.”

slim of 112

With the success that his group 112 has had in the past years, it is no different that his success as a solo artist will be the same. Currently Slim is working on his solo album, “Loves Crazy”–he had a few moments to talk about music and life.

How would you describe and/or define the style of music that you create and perform?
Slim: It’s very classy, polished and a mixture of hip hop and R&B, but it definitely has swag. My music comes from everyday life and everyday experiences. The title of my project is Love’s Crazy and I say that love’s crazy, because love makes you do some crazy things. I’m talking about the good and the bad, but because I’m so optimistic and because God made love, when it goes bad i always try find the good in it. It differentiates me from other solo artist and when you listen to my lyrics, you can see what I’m talking about.

Do you have any favorite tracks you like from this album?
Slim: Right now I can’t really say there’s a favorite track; it’s like asking me which kid is your favorite. What I do believe is when an album is made; you should just press play and let it play till you hit rewind, you never wanna fast forward. This album is about setting a mood. If you are in a relationship with a significant other and you don’t have anything to say, this album is for you. Its going to do all the talking for you, it’s like a manual. If you’re trying to set a very good vibe, this album is for you, let it use you.

What do you think has been and will continue to be the key to your success?
Slim: Solid music, the fact that I know I’m a role model and keeping God first. That’s all I pretty much do. I’m a child of God and whatever he wants me to do I just let it be done. Music is a big way of touching people, that’s how I got everyone’s attention. It all has to do with longevity, and if you think about it 112 as a group, that’s the perfect example.

What would you want people to know about Slim, that they won’t get from the records?
Slim: I think that I’m very touchable; I’m very open and honest with a lot of things. When you listen to a record I say it just the way everybody feels it. I had a lot of fun with the single out now called “So Fly”. Its not a record where I’m just looking in the mirror glorifying myself, because that’s just not me, but is sort of like an anthem to people.

What does Slim do on his spare time, that’s completely away from music?
Slim: A lot of people that knows Slim know I have three boys and they know I’m very involved with them. I’m like a coach, daddy, pastor, I’m everything with these boys. Other than just music, I don’t really hang out too much unless I’m getting something done.

What keeps you focused?
Slim: The fact that I’m now a CEO and running my own situation. I know the potential of it and I know that I’m trying to be the next Puffy or Jay Z. so I’m trying to get my label off the ground which is “M3 Production”. That is definitely what keeps me focus, so I’m juggling the positions as a CEO and I also signed myself as an artist, so I have to be focused.

As of today what has been your biggest career highlight?
Slim: It might be this move, moving over from being an artist to controlling my own destiny, being a young CEO and partnering up with Asylum. It just feels good to speak to people like Joey Manda, and know that they actually believe in me and my potential. I definitely appreciate the Grammy’s and stuff 112 gave me, but this right here seems like I’m starting all over again and I’m starting from the ground up and I love doing that. It’s just like another one of my investments. I just want all the young artists out there to know that there are so many other avenues you can look at, but I chose to do it this way. For Asylum, this is actually their first time signing an R&B act, so it’s a great feeling. It’s pressure, but its history. I mean, pressure has been there all of my life; every time we put out an album with 112, we paid our bills on people opinions. I love pressure, because it either breaks the pipes or makes diamonds, and I definitely feel like I’m a diamond in the rough right now.

Is there anyone out there right now, that you would love the opportunity to work with and why?
Slim: I would like to work with Lupe Fiasco, great artist. I love his swag, and I love what he talks about. He’s a very complete artist and I definitely I hope I can find an artist like him to sign. A producer I would love to work with is Pharell. Also, I would love to do a duet with Babyface or El Debarge

What can we expect at one of your concerts?
Slim: Being entertained. The great thing about Slim is you get your moneys worth; because Slim has all of the 112 record. It’s like I’m shooting a movie and you’re in it and by the time you sit down it’s like I’m taking you on a voyage starting in 96′ and by the time you look up its 08′. It’s 12 years of strong music, you’re growing up and going through all the changes and at the end you’re like wow, I really got my money’s worth.

What would like your fan to take away from this album both creatively and lyrically?
Slim: I want them to know that Yes, they’re hearing slim through a solo project and and they will hear an incredible songs. I’m definitely going into the true essence and roots of R&B. I’m kind of walking the fine line of what is going on right now, but I haven’t abandoned my roots of R&B which I called the golden days of R&B (The 90’s going into 2000). The people that are 112 fans will not be disappointed, you’re going to hear the “Cupids”, “Were Done” adn “Can I Touch You”, because I love those kind of ballads, but then for the interludes you’re going to ask me why i didn’t make them into songs. It’s crazy!

I also want people to know that they’re growing with Slim, from being a young artist to a CEO. I talk to a lot of people on the road and they say they really wish R&B would go back to what it used to be. So if you support this record you’re supporting a movement that will help bring this kind of music back.

Are there any last thoughts that you would like to leave with us?
Slim: I just want to let all the fan around the world know that Slim is coming and thank you all for being very supportive. Also 112 is very much still together and you will definitely be hearing some more from us. Right now we are writing another chapter in our lives, the legacy to what is 112. If you look at the history of 112 you see that there is always a period of about 2 to 3 yrs before your hear a record, we do that on purpose, so all you 112 fans do not be worried, its all love.

Slim getting ready for Germany: