Interviews (14)

Thursday, 06 August 2015 00:00

Enertia McFly

Inertia (in physics): “The property of a matter which retains its velocity, speeding or slowing only when acted upon.”

Enertia (in music): “The force of a man who retains his velocity, then speeds it and slows based on the beat, the groove, and the sounds around him.”  Let the beat hit them! Better yet, hit them with the beat!

Enertia Mcfly is hot right now and he’s getting hotter. If you haven’t heard his latest single, “Go To Twerk,” then you’re missing one of the best independently produced hip hop songs of the summer. A song that is being added weekly to music markets across the country.

Despite his ever-increasing velocity on the music scene, Entertia Mcfly remains humble and approachable. While, he talks of being more than a rapper; he is an artist, his laughter comes quick and easy and his friendliness is disarming.

We caught up with Enertia when he had several things on his mind: his latest single, his collabo with Will.I.Am, working out at the gym, and hooping on the basketball court, to name but a few.

 

Enertia, I’ve heard you say that you’re not a rapper, you’re an artist. Tell us more about that.

“I’m not a writer, I’m not a rapper. I’m an artist. Don’t get me wrong. All of them are great. But certain rappers can’t write, and some writers can’t perform. Saying I’m a rapper can make me sound one-dimensional; I want to do it all.”

As an artist, finding your own sound has to be important. Can you talk about that process?

 When you come into the game, you are influenced by a particular artist and  when you do songs initially, you tend to sound like whoever you are a fan of. I got alot of Twista and Busta Rhymes. While, I was honored to be in that box, I realized that the comparisons made me sound stagnant. We don’t need another one of them because we already have them!

It took me some time to accept the fact that you can sound a little too much like someone. Once I realized that, I began to realize that I needed to be Enertia Mcfly and not the guy that sounds like Luda or Twista.

Ultimately, it became an organic process as I focused on what I like and what I wanted to present. 

 

Speaking of your sound, how would you describe it?

Lyrically, I’m a metaphoric guy, not only witty but I go for “Oh wow! I didn’t see that coming!” But I also like double-time twisting mixed with slow. Basically, I’m a rollercoaster of talent and fun ...

 

Where would you say you’re in your career right now?

I’m at the beginning … still scratching the surface. I’m smarter than where I was when I got my first deal four years ago. But there’s still so much more for me to do.

I’ve worked wil.i.am, who is an absolute genius. He’s bona fide, a mad scientist. I felt myself becoming a better artist because of him. You feel me?

I’d also love to work with Drake. K Lamar, Big Sean, Timbaland, Pharrell …

 

Your single, “Go To Twerk,” has gotten incredible reviews. Tell us about it.

You know, every artist likes their newest stuff. That’s natural. Aside from “Betty Crocker,” a song I did with Lil Wayne, it’s my favorite single to date. The process for both was so organic.

 

We know we are holding you up from the gym and basketball court. So just a couple more questions. You’ve worked with wil.l.am, Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, and others. How do you stay so grounded?

My mother whopping my ass! (He laughs a lot.) Andrea Taylor! She raised me differently.

I don’t believe you have to be a dick to get respect. People love you more when they see your accomplishments and you can say “Hey, how you’re doing? It’s nice to meet you.”

I understand it can be tough. But my mother taught me to respect your peers and your fans. They’re fans for a reason.

 

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the music game?

I love fashion. But if I wasn’t in music, I’d be in sports – coaching, playing. I’m a football junkie and the Eagles is my favorite team. (Sorry, Cowboys!)

 

Toughest Question of the interview: If you had your choice of having the critical acclaim of Talib Kweli but minor commercial success or the commercial success of Nelly but little critical success, what would we choose? (We almost stumped him on this question.)

Damn! Nobody has ever asked me that. Let me think about that.

Talib Kweli vs. Nelly. I look at Nelly, he was so successful at just being him. But Talib, I don’t know whether he’s rapping or talking directly to me. So he wasn’t the top notch guy in record sales, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t successful.

I have two sons, I want to be successful for them. I want to be remembered like Talib but have that in between success. I want to leave something for my sons to carry on.  

 

Enertia is an artist on the rise. “Go To Twerk” is climbing the charts. He refers to Jeff Adair – the video producer – as amazing! And because he’s been ripping and running, including running to the gym," he couldn’t linger for long. “I’m getting the body in shape. Plus, I’m gonna pick up a basketball game," were his final words.  So we let him go.

We talked to him a couple days later. He made it to gym. But he didn’t hit the hoops. Nevertheless, the energy is there and he’s proving to be an unstoppable force. He is inertia. 

For more on Enertia, check out his interview with Vibe.

 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 00:00

Jack Thomas Smith - writer and director

Jack Thomas Smith is more than a writer, director, and a producer. He is a man attempting to shine a spotlight on the human condition – not to titillate – but to reveal and to understand. It was that desire that, in part, inspired his movie "Infliction."


"Infliction" tells the story of brothers who go on a killing spree in North Carolina. But rather than descending into the torture porn that is so prevalent in today's horror movies, Smith opted for a meaty and story-driven tale. As a matter-of-fact, while you'll find "Infliction" in the horror section of the Amazon store, Smith considers it a psychological thriller that's rooted in a horribly sad dysfunctional cycle.


"I once knew someone who came from a very abusive home, and I saw firsthand how it affected them and society as a hold.


"When you send people into the word who are battered and beaten, and often time it starts in the child zone of abuse and neglect ... unfortunately, some don't overcome the environment of what has happened to them."


And so his characters are men who have been sent into the word battered and beaten. Yet, Scott's empathy and compassion permeates the movie, and perhaps this is why his audience has been touched by the film.
'I've been to screenings all over the country and I do QA session with the audience. It's been amazing how people have been connecting with the film. One person shared a story about their abuse, and how the film hit home. Another woman shared she had been abused, and the point that you captured is the need for the abused to reclaim their lives and empower themselves."


Similarly, the response has on twitter has been crazy supportive. And while there have been some negative reaction, most of it seems to revolve around false expectations. "Infliction" isn't "Saw" or "Hostel." It's about people, not about stabbing.


Scott has been honing his craft long enough for the poor reviews not to bother him. "When I was eight and I saw "Star Wars," that was the moment that I realized that [movies] is what I wanted to do!" As a teenager, he would use his 8MM to do comedy and horror skits with his friends.


"Disorder" was his first feature film. Released in 2006, the movie also deals with murder and mayhem, with the protagonist suffering from schizophrenia.


What's next for Smith? He is currently working on financing – what he calls the most challenging part – for his new movie "In The Dark." The move, which Smith also wrote, is a set on small island in Michigan that becomes overrun by zombie-vampire like creatures. Smith promises a bigger budget and more start power in this one. And, as in all his movies, a message of substance.


When asked what advice he'd give to up and coming filmmakers, Scott says "Go to business school and hone your craft. Study the art of filmmaking and writing.


"What a lot don't grasp is that it's a business: how do you make a screen play a reality, budget, presentations, tax credit, foreign sales, federal presales .... the business end is very complicated.


And when asked how he'd like to be remembered as a director and producer he answers, "I want people to think that I made films that were intelligent and made people think and talk. They weren't mindless. I always want to make films that have some underlying them. As long as I can do that, that would be awesome.


Scott takes a pause and reflects. "I'm passionate about what I do." That passionate burns in all of Scott's movies.

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:23

Cash Bliz

Artist Feature: Cash Bilz

Home city: New York City

Label: Unsigned

Producer: Soul Facebook.com/pages/SOUL/104088789645580 and Twitter @soulonlinenet

Connections: Facebook.com/Cash_bilz and Twitter @IAMCASHBILZ

Claim to fame: Performing beside such artists as Pimp C, Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy

Influences: Biggie, Andre 3000, 2 Pac, Jay Z, Nas, Donnie Hathaway, and Marvin Gaye

Latest single: Bullsh!t featuring Troo 

They say: "Cash Bliz's sound is lyrical, fresh, the actual meaning of dope."

We say: Cash Bilz, Troo, and Soul deliver the same attention to lyrics and beat on "Bullsh!t" as Cash Bilz did on "Peace of Mind." His musical influences are clear but he is commited to paving his own way. To the song's point, that's what happens "when hip hop's not a hobby, it's a lifestyle."

Thursday, 24 July 2014 22:13

Arika Kane

Arika Kane is an artist on the verge! She has charted on Billboard, her music has been played in heavy rotation on VH1, and she has performed on the stage with artists like Babyface. Now she is busy promoting her very popular (and very hot) new single. But she took time out of her busy schedule to get "Up Close and Personal."

Ten Questions w/Arika Kane

1. Your sound is decidedly R&B. Are there other blue-eyed soul singers (Teena
Marie, Lisa Stansfied, Annie Lennox, for example) that have influenced you? And
what is it about R&B that moves you?

Singers like Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, Alicia Keys were strong influences on me growing up. I was also influenced by the greats like Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer. I am moved most by R&B because it combines rhythm & blues and always equates to a feeling in your soul that we can all relate to.

2. If you could duet with any singer, who would it be?

Alicia Keys. I feel her soul, luv her!

3. What is something that your fans would find surprising about you?

That I love sports, and I'm a competitive person. I grew up with an older brother so I had
no choice but to hold my own. Lol

4. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Staying true to who I am, my beliefs and my music is my most proud accomplishment ;-)

5. Ifyou had your choice between a career of 10 Grammys but no Gold or Platinum recordings or 10 Gold and Platinum recordings but no Grammys, which would you choose? And why?

Both would be nice! Lol. I would say 10 Gold & Platinum records
because that means the Fans love and actually bought my music. The Grammy
Awards aren't based on sales. But again, both would be nice! ;-)

6. How old were you when you first stood in front of an audience and sang? Were you nervous then and do you ever get nervous now?

I was in 6th grade, it was my school talent show called "pops night" Yes I was nervous the whole time and cried after. Yes I still always get butterflies right before I hit the stage. Though the difference now is that I don't let it overwhelm me. After the 1st few notes, I just relax & enjoy my time on the stage ;-) ...feeeeew

7. Male artists have groupies. Do female artists have groupies as well? (Or in the words of TLC, do they just have "Scrubs?")

Lol!! That was funny. Well I would say the scrubs are the guys around the way you just bump into when your out & about & don't really care who you are. The other level would be theportion of actual respectful male fans. And then of course there is the total
opposite of that where you run into the scary ones! lol

8. Singing is your first choice. But if you had to do something else, what would it be?

Probablydesigning clothes, building brands that support & encourage women. However,
My music career will be a good bridge to still also fulfill those dreams!
Looking forward to the future..

9. Twitter has a 140 character limitation. Does that make it the best place for a "battle" because words have to be selected carefully and to the point? Or is it theworst place because that's not enough characters for a full thought?

Oh it is the best! Being simple & selective is right up my alley, so it's perfect
and also helps me to respond/interact with more of my fans. It also seems more
personal when it's shorter.

10. Tell us about your latest project: Favorite song? Inspiration? Where available?


"It's There" is my latest Single. One of my favorite projects to date. It is
featuring the talented Brian McKnight. The inspiration for the lyrics came from
the strings & the pianos. It's a magical, motion picture ready duet that
speaks to any soulful partnership that has overcome life's obstacles. It's
available now on Itunes, Amazon, Google Play.

Saturday, 17 May 2014 15:39

Shawn Mayer

About three weeks ago, I was surfing online and came across an "American Idol: Where Are They Now?" article. As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder not just what happened to the contestants but what it feels like to be in the spotlight, and then for the spotlight to fade. It hasn't to be hard.

To ask Shawn Mayer, It's harder than I could imagine.

Shawn Mayer has always had the music in her. A free spirit from a small town in IA, she was raised to work hard and follow your dreams – wherever they took her. Where did the dreams take Shawn? At the age of 15, they took her to Nashville, and a few years later, to NBC's "Nashville Star" where she placed second and received more exposure than she ever could've imagined.

"Nashville Star" resulted in a stateside tour and a two year publishing deal. Shawn shares that the tour was fantastic exposure and while she never wanted to write, "It was an awesome experience."

Still, despite the bright lights of stardom shining down on her, something was missing. Being in Nashville, and being on its show, meant she needed to do country music. But country music wasn't in her soul.

"In the beginning, I just wanted to do music. And if that meant that I had to sound like something, I was happy to play."

But every good artist will readily admit that one must always be authentic; and in time, not following her true passion began to weigh on Shawn.

"I grew up listening to the Eagles, Tom Petty, and Fleetwood Mac. I wanted to do something with more edge. But the only way that I could get gigs in the Midwest was to do country."

Even bar gigs allowed for no more versatility than covering popular country songs. Not to mention, after the tour was over and the writing deal came to an end, Shawn discovered that the people who supported her, only supported her doing country music.

Music and life, because music is Shawn's life, was taking a downward spin and her story was starting to sound like the country songs she had grown tired of singing. Shawn was in a funk and she needed to find herself and her voice again.

Lucky for us, she did.

Shawn began to apply the craft of songwriting, which she had honed during her publishing deal, and write the passions inside her. And while playing an acoustic gig in Nashville, she was "discovered" by some producers from Holland. They invited her to come to Europe and do a few shows. Shawn didn't have to think about her answer. It was what she had been waiting for. What resulted was a two week tour of Europe and the songs that fill her EP "Holland 2013."

"I got together with some talented musicians locally and in 3 days knocked out the songs." The songs harken back to what she had been missing: the rawness of music, simple tracks without the overdubbing, rock and rock, and her singer/songwriter sensibilities.

It's not that Shawn Mayer doesn't like country. She loves country, particularly older country. But she feels like, "I've fallen out of today's country world. My heart is soul-rocker. So that sound is what has moved me." As for Nashville Star, she adds it had a, "Monumental effect on my life and gave me a huge opportunity and platform that I might not have gotten otherwise ... but sometimes you feel like you're pouring your heart out and it's being taken for granted."

While she made many connections during her songwriting days, she admits that her perspective on "connections" has changed. "Knowing the right people is important. But I've been re-inspired. I've realized that everyone is connection in their own depending on what you can share."

That "re-inspiration" is allowing Shawn Mayer to create the sounds that suit her best. Like the Melissa Etheridge rocker edge of "Right Mistake" or the emotional and introspective "Another Day."

"I have the freedom to almost create anything. I'm inspired to dig deep and not strive to belong."

Her creation will culminate with a full-length album due September of this year, and what she hopes will be another tour of Europe. Of the new album, she says, "it's going to be something different and unique."

More than unique and different, it will be full of songs that are true to Shawn Mayer. So while having the limelight fade wasn't easy. For Shawn and for us, it's created a more authentic, a more vibrant, and a more passionate artist.

And in the end, isn't that what every great artist should be?

Saturday, 29 March 2014 13:50

Alexis Jones - Anyday

Alexis Jones is a 24 hour woman.


She is hard at work – busily promoting "Anyday" - her second album, connecting with artists across the country, trying to build a fan base, releasing her mix tape, "Diary of an R&B Singer," and holding down a full-time job. Not to mention, she recently fully overhauled her website: alexisjonesmusic.com. All of this in a very small market – Raleigh, NC – that's not known for its music scene or its support of native artists.


As Alexis puts it, "Right now I'm independent. I would love to have a record deal, have my music be my career. But right now I'm still working, and I can't rely solely on music ... I want to wake up and do music every day."


Big dreams for a girl whose first choice was not music. Truth-be-told, originally, Alexis wanted to be an athlete; she played college sports. But after graduating school – and finding herself – a love for music was awakened.


To that end, Alexis, who was also raised in a musical family, spends her free time working on her music. She has an in-home studio, which allows her to balance her day job with her musical career. It also saves her time and money. She has broadened her talents from singer to singer-songwriter, arranger, and producer, and she has stretched herself emotionally.


She recalls, "I was singing other people's music at first. But I knew I wanted to write my own. So I locked myself in a room and for two hours just sat there until a song finally began to come. I've been writing ever since."


"The difference [between the first and the second album} can be heard on the album," she continues. "You can hear the growth in my writing skill, my vocal skill. My first album was simpler. I put more feeling and more emotion into the second one."


That's not to say Alexis isn't proud of her first album aptly titled "Alexis Jones." As a matter-of-fact, one of her favorite songs, "Ready," is on that album. "I wrote it and it touches me every time I hear it." But she recognizes the importance of growth, and she is striving to prove herself in a realm chock full of up and coming artists.


Alexis has also stepped into videos – an important piece of the equation for today's stars.


"I did my first video in 2012 at the time of the first album. People not only want to hear you. But the fans want to see you in action. See you move, talk, and sing. That's another way to connect with you as an artist." Several clips and videos, including "Ready" and "Run This," can be seen on YouTube.


More than music and videos, though, Alexis wants to create a brand. Part of that brand includes being known for the versatility of her music – R&B, POP, Neo Soul – to topnotch production and writing skills. She looks to people like Keri Hilson, Timbaland, Pharrell, and R Kelly as individuals who have managed to build a brand.


Because the Raleigh market is so small, she has endeavored to reach beyond her city limits and connect with other artists.
"Sometimes you feel like you are making music for yourself and for your neighbors. So I've tried to connect with other artists across the country."


"What makes music more difficult is that I don't think local radio stations support independent artists like they should. You go to Greensboro, NC, they spotlight. They are respecting that there are other people out here with talent. I don't understand it. So I'm working on different singles. I'm networking with other artists outside Raleigh. I'm trying to make that one single that will possibly give me a chance."


She hopes that one single will be on "The Diary of an R&B Singer." Released March 21st, the mix-tape includes Alexis' tracks mixed with industry tracks.


While Alexis loves music, she admits that it's hard work. She also admits that she doesn't do it by herself. Her family is a huge support network. Plus she has a deep faith.


"I'm spiritually guided. My faith is something I rely on and it keeps hope in my heart each and every day. As a person, you always need something for guidance. We can't do it on our own. So just me believing (in God) it gives me strength."


Faith + Hardwork + Talent = Alexis Jones singing any day.

Saturday, 01 March 2014 15:09

Box Mann - Thinking Outside The Box

Jeffrey Meyers, AKA Box Mann always enjoyed writing poetry but in 2005 at 15, poetry evolved into rap music. However, it wasn't until 2008 that he began to take it seriously. Today, he is not only serious about his own music; he has a passion for all music. With an ambitious go-getter attitude, a distinct voice and an infectious laugh, Box Mann plans to establish himself as a successful rap artist and savvy businessman.

It's actually the day after his 24th birthday celebration at Prive Nightclub in Atlanta and Box Mann has taken some time out to chat with timothedavis.com. Although he's admittedly still a little groggy from the previous evening events, Box Mann is more than clear about his vision for himself in the music industry.

Okay so I have to ask you about your stage name. Can you explain Box Mann and how you came up with it? It could be misunderstood...if you know what I mean?

(Chuckling) You know I let people come to their own conclusions about my name. But the truth is, it's not what you think. It's a childhood nickname. I used to box when I was younger and people started calling me Box Mann and it stuck. I've been Box Mann ever since.

So you are originally from New Jersey, but grew up in Connecticut. Now you reside in Atlanta. Yet, you had an extremely loyal following in Connecticut, so what made you leave?

I felt like I had maxed out in CT. I had done everything that I could do there, and it was time for me to move on if I wanted to get to the next level. I moved to Tennessee for a little bit, which was kind of a pit stop on the way to ATL. I've been in ATL for about a year and a half now.

How has being in ATL impacted your music, what makes the ATL music scene different from the CT music scene?

There are just more opportunities in ATL for rap artists. Again, I've only been here for about a year and a half, so it's been like starting from scratch. Not many people know who you are. Of course, the Internet helps a lot in getting connections, building a fan base and staying relevant. But down south music is a lot different because of all the independent artists. Also people down south bang out singles while people up north focus on making albums. That isn't a bad thing, but these days' people don't listen to albums anymore. Singles are a good push and sometimes people get deals from putting out singles. The downside is sometimes those people come and go very quickly.

Are you working towards a record deal or do you want to remain independent?

At first I craved a music deal with a major label. As time went on and after attending music conferences I started learning more and more that being attached to a label is like a slave deal with a whip and a chain (laughing). Seriously, it's like a slave deal. I'm all about being independent and not being a part of the machine, but to be independent you have to have a plan; a blueprint. The record labels are the machine, but I'm about building a team and building my own machine. You see there are a lot of people out here who have fame and no fortune. I want both and one way to ensure you have the fortune is by owning your music, publishing rights etc. It's a big deal because think about it, if you put all your time and passion into your music, you should fully reap the benefits and rewards. It's a great feeling to live off your own music. Think about it like this, if you sell 50,000 units independently that's great, because you are making money. If you sell 50,000 under a record label that's horrible and you definitely aren't making any money.

For me being independent is more than creating my own music. I'm just a very hands-on artist. I managed myself from the beginning. If you can't do something for me that I can do for myself then I don't need you. I have my own record label Smash House Studios which was started in 2010. We provide artist development services. An artist can get promoted, make records, do video shoots the whole nine yards.

What would you say sets you apart from other rappers?

I think me just being me sets me apart from other rappers. If I don't like something, I don't like it. I mean I just enjoy making music that I like. That kind of goes back to what I was saying about creating my own machine you know? Under a label it can be easy to lose yourself trying to please others. I like to be diverse and do all types of music. I don't want to be categorized or put into a box. I want my range to be crazy. I like to do the unexpected. I can go from gangsta, to showing a more easygoing metaphorical side. I understand that certain songs aren't for everyone. For example, if you listen to my song "Jello" it's pretty clear that song is made for the club/strip club. Then I have a song "Goodbye CT" that is more metaphorical and telling a story; going into detail about why I left Connecticut. I really enjoy wordplay and putting metaphors together. But then I also have another song called "Dumb it Down" that's one of those songs where you are getting a point across without going overboard metaphorically. So, I just like to be versatile and I want my music to reach a larger and diverse audience.

Who are you rap influences? What artists do you listen to?

I listen to all kinds of music and just have a general love for music. Some of the artists who have influenced me are Jay-Z, T.I., and Joe Budden. I definitely have respect for Joe Budden in particular. I like the realness about him and the way he is real with himself. You have to have a lot of balls to put stuff out about yourself and your personal demons. When it comes to being an independent artist I most definitely have respect for Tech N9NE. I just really respect his grind. I also listen to some local music. You know in ATL you can go to a club and there are a lot of different rappers giving out their music. I mean I don't listen to all of them, but I do think it's important to listen to and support other artists. How can you not support someone, but want them to support you. We are all trying to do the same thing.

You're debut album/mixtape dropped in 2012 called Bacon and Leggz. It's an interesting title, what was thought behind the title?

Well, the bacon symbolizes money and leggz symbolizes females – it's what the world revolves around right? (Laughing) I usually try to make sure my album titles have some meaning. I actually have plans to release an album towards the end of the summer called Frustration Hallucination. The meaning behind that is, as an artist sometimes you are frustrated because you may not be where you want to be in your career. Also, sometimes as an artist you see a dream of making it but everyone else around you can't see it, so it's like you are hallucinating. So that is the thought behind Frustration Hallucination.

What keeps you motivated to do what you do? What keeps you grinding?

Quite simply, what keeps me grinding is the passion and love for music. Even if there was no money made from it, I would still rap. That's real talk.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 04:40

Dream Work Conquer - Jeff Adair

East Texas is known more for its cowboys and country boys than its cinematic accomplishments. Yet it birthed Dallas's premier video producer: Jeff Adair

Jeff Adair is a native of East Texas who relocated to Dallas in 2006 with a corporate editing and producing gig. While the work was good and the money was better, what Adair wanted to do was flex his artistic muscle; he wanted to direct films. So in 2010, he joined forces with a couple of producers and went independent. Now he is directing some of the most artistic and visually compelling videos in the state. He's proud of his work with RC and the Gritz, A.Dd+, Pooca Leroy, Hulk Entertainment, and Juicy J and Project Pat Whiz. He should be. His work can be seen on MTV and YouTube, and it is flawless.

But that's the middle of the story. The story starts in East Texas where Adair spent his afternoons skateboarding with his friends. To talk to him, his journey from skater to producer sounds almost organic.

"I grew up in the country but was watching videos from Cali. My brothers were cowboys and shit but I was obsessed with skating and skate videos. And I tried to mimic what I'd see with a handheld."

Obsession or love? Who's to say? Perhaps they are two sides of the same coin. In either case, it drove him to move from East Texas to Cali and then to Dallas, all in an attempt to hone his craft.

Pursuing his dream paid off. Sixteen months ago he opened up his own studio, and all the while he has been producing, writing, and directing videos. Requests to collaborate stream through his door daily.

Ask Adair why he's been so successful and he states, "People see my grind, and they can relate it to their own. They know I'm trying to make the best product for them and for my brand."

The best product includes conceptualizing unique videos for all of his clients. "It's always different ... as I try to gauge the best visual."

Of course, Adair believes that videos are of paramount importance to music artists nowadays. But that belief isn't self-serving; it's genuine.

"Music and videos go hand-in-hand in today's day and age. It's more than posting your song to YouTube. You definitely have to have a video. If you have a song, people can see you and be your fan. My suggestion: Work within your budget, find a film director film and start building a visual portfolio; that's the blueprint."

Not that this comes easy, even for Adair. "In the entertainment business you have to be superhuman, you gotta make sacrifices, make investments, and find a friend."

He also encourages creativity, "Do shit that is different. Whether you're standing in front of a car or you have chicks shaking their ass. Keep it creative. Stay open minded, and remember that everyone is fighting for the spotlight."

That's Adair's start. But what's his future? To make more videos, of course, but also to increase their budgets, upp the scale, and to connect with major labels.

Not to mention, what video producer/director doesn't want to segue into the movie business?

Adair already has a few movies under his belt, he's listed on IMDB, and he's been nominated for a several awards. But he craves more.

"I want to move to the West Coast and produce and direct a found footage movie like "Paranormal." I'd like to start out as a short form movie director in Cali - living, surfing, and skating with my family – and grow into a commercial movie producer with an Indie flair."

Big dreams indeed! But Adair believes that you dream, you work, and then you conquer. The mantra has worked for him in the past. If it continues guiding him, it won't be long before his dreams are reality.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 03:51

15 Greatest Hooks of Hip Hop

Marty A. Johnson – talk show host – and I have known each other for a long time, and music is a shared passion. While we agree on most things musically, we don't agree on everything. So when we decided to compile a list of the greatest hip hop hooks, it only took a matter of minutes to realize that we were going to have to complete two list – if our friendship was to remain intact!

Check out the lists below. Let us know what you think. Who did we miss? Who would you add? What are your thoughts? Have we selected the GREATEST HOOKS of HIP HOP?

What Marty said:

1. Biggie and Faith, "One More Chance." Biggie Smalls was and still is one of the greatest rappers of our time. His music speaks for itself.

2. Method Man f/ Mary J, "All I Need." Mary J and Method Man won a Grammy for this one.

3. 2 Pac f/ KC and Jo Jo, "How You Want it." This joint is timeless and always get the club jumping.

4. Snoop and Dre, "Aint Nothing But a G Thing." It doesn't matter where you are, as soon as you hear Snoop, you are going to throw your hands up.

5. Jay Z and Mary, "Can't Knock The Hustle." This is one of my personal favorites joints of ALL TIMES. It's Mary and Jay – Z enough said.

6. LL and Boyz II Men, "Hey Love." LL COOL J is the self-proclaimed G.O.A.T and Boy II Men is the biggest selling male R&B group of all time. Both had HUGE crossover appeal. They were an unlikely pair to collab. But "Hey Love" reached all audiences.

7. NAS and Lauryn Hill, "If I Rule The World." When Lauryn was at the top of her game she ruled the charts. Too bad she will NEVER reclaim her glory. At least she will go down in the history books as one of first female artists to win multiple Grammys in one night.

8. Ja Rule and Lil Mo, "Put it On Me." In the late 90's and early 2000's Lil Mo and Ja Rule were the go-to people if you needed a dope hook or a featured rapper on your record. Why not put the two together and create magic?

9. 50 and The Game, "Hate it or Love it." A perfect combination of East Coast meeting West Coast, these two proved unity does exists between both coasts

10. Fat Joe and Terror Squad, "Lean Back." At the time when people thought Fat Joe's career was done, he came back strong with "Lean Back" - a street anthem with a catchy hook that we all loved.

11. The Roots and Eryka, "You Got Me." The Roots are one of the most talented and unrated groups around. "You Got Me" earned them a Grammy and the recognition they deserve.

12. Biggie and R Kelly, "Fucking You Tonight." Though never released as an official signal, "Fucking You Tonight" always get the clubs jumping and the girls in bed! Lol. This is one of those records that is timeless!!!

13. Lil Kim and Puff, "No Time." From Lil Kim's debut album "Hard Core," she reigned high as the "Queen Bee." In the 90's Puffy and Kim were the Bonnie and Clyde of Hip Hop.

14. Kanye f/ Jamie Fox, "Gold Digger." This 2005 release from Kanye made a huge impact and proved Kanye has pure talent.

15. Big Pun f/ Joe, "Don't Want To Be A Player." Big Pun was the first Spanish artist to go platinum on the R&B charts, and he had a MAJOR cross over hit. The smooth R&B sound from Joe gave it that extra flavor.

I said:

1. Biggie and Faith, "One More Chance." Few would argue that Biggie is one of the greatest hip hop artists that we've seen. This song is one of his many classics. But as much as it's about Biggie and his ability to "mac," it's about Faith and her willingness to give him "one more chance."

2. Kurtis Blow and Alyson Williams, "Basketball." Many don't even know who sung the hook on this ol skool classic. But it was Alyson Williams – the first lady of Def Jam – who's sultry contralto makes playing basketball sound sexy.

3. Method Man and Mary J Blige, "All I Need." Mary won a Grammy for this performance; and she should have.

4. Ja Rule and Ashanti, "Always On Time." Love 'em or hate 'em, it's hard to ignore a hook that helped make Ashanti a force to be reckoned with on the R&B charts.

5. Lil Kim and Biggie Smalls, "Crush On You." Uncredited on the album cover but as clear as a bell was Biggie Smalls rapping, "I know you heard me on the radio ..."

6. Lauryn Hill, "Lost One." Before Lauryn Hill divorced music (and some might say her senses as well) she was a profound singer and lyricist. Here she proves both.

7. Kanye and Jamie Fox and Ray Charles, "Gold Digger." - Jamie proved his was worthy to sing AND play Ray Charles.

8. The Roots and Erykah Badu, "You Got Me." - Long distance love affairs are hard and Erykah emoted the difficulty, the pain, and the love every time she took the mic here.

9. Rick Ross and Chrisette Michelle, "Aston Martin Music." Chrisette is a delicious blend of R&B and neo-soul,her voice made you wanna rent your own two-seater and call ya girl ...

10. Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey, "I Know What You Want." It was an understated performance in which Mariah didn't break glass until the song faded. Even Busta noticed, it was an amazing touch that heightened the song while never taking it away from Busta.

11. B.O.B and Bruno Mars,  "Nothin' On You." Too obvious? Perhaps. But the hook is so strong that you think this is a song featuring a rapper, not a rap featuring a singer. And that says a lot.

12. Ghostface Killah and Madame Majestic, "Cherchez La Ghostface." One word: Memorable.

13. Wale and Tiara Thomas, "Bad." There's a reason this song went platinum: Tiara Thomas. She's not bragging about being bad. She's pained by it. The vocals are raw and real.

14. Biggie Smalls and Kelly Price, "Mo Money Mo Problems." Kelly Price channeled Diana Ross and she was on point.

15. Talib Kwel, "I Try." I'm not sure if there's a more underplayed or more talented rapper than Talib Kweli. He blends socially conscious rhymes with beats designed to make you move. And in the middle of this is Mary J, she's trying. But it's effortless. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013 17:30

NAYAH

There's something almost disconcertingly sweet about Nayah. She's friendly, sincere, appreciative, and two minutes into the interview, she giggles.


It's an odd but wonderful juxtaposition from a girl who wants to own the dance floor ala Beyonce and Rihanna but at heart is thoughtful and modest.


To speak with Nayah is to speak with someone who knows the blessing of having family surround her and understands the strong foundation it has provided.


Nayah started singing at the tender age of nine. As she tells it, she'd follow her sisters at family get-togethers, admiring how they would sing for others, but much too shy to perform herself. One Christmas, her mother convinced her to sing "Silent Night." The rest is history. Nayah's talent was abundantly clear, and her love for singing was apparent. It wasn't long before Nayah was taking voice and dance lessons, while being coached as an artist by her mother and father.


Nayah's appreciation for those experiences is clear: She can't help but sing praises about her sisters and their "beautiful voices." She shares how her parents have provided wonderful support during good and bad seasons. And she talks about her sister T-Dani's ability to write songs.


This foundation, this background, helps provide Nayah's life with balance. Not only is Nayah a singer, she's also a college student. And her education is important to her as her music.


"My goal is to walk across the stage with my Masters and to walk across the stage and perform. I'm going to do that."
Balance, though, is more than just spending the proper time studying for school and working on her artistry. Balance is also about being the artists she wants to be and presenting the "right" Nayah to her audience. It's about being true to her core.


"Nowadays, we listen to anything that has a beat or rhythm. And sometimes you don't think of the message. You think, it's a cool beat. But I want to create the message that I want. I want it to relate to my age, and situations that happen to young girls and guy. Personally I want people to understand me as an artist, and that I can relate [to what they've been through].


"I want you to be able to listen to the lyrics and have a great time jamming to it as well."


What Nayah doesn't want to do is to get caught up. She admits that there are a lot of things that can distract an artist. And if you don't know who you are, if you don't have the proper mindset, you can make decisions you regret.


It's hard to imagine that someone as modest as Nayah will get caught up. While she doesn't put her voice in a genre, she admits that she does get compared to Rihanna quite often. Her response?


"I feel very humble when someone comes up to me and says that your music sounds like Rihanna. She's an amazing artist."


When you bring up her loyal and ever-growing fan base, she beams. "I'm so thankful to have them and I appreciate them. If I could thank every one of them, I would." Sweet and appreciative.


So what's next for Nayah? She recently released "Lights Out," her follow up to her hit "BLVD." 2014 will bring new songs, a new video, and continued growth as an artist.


Nayah is a star on the rise – brilliant, beautiful, but humble – as any shining star should be.

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