Archive for the 'Next Up' Category

Next Up + Video Premiere: Salomon Faye

Monday, June 1st, 2015

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Salomon Faye is a hodgepodge of every New York borough and it’s no surprise why. Growing up in Harlem, living in Brooklyn and bouncing around each of the Big Apple’s sectors the 22-year-old emcee is wise beyond his years and has learned a whole lot just from living in his neighborhood.

Born in Paris to a Senegalese father Faye has a more diverse background than most New Yorkers who venture to clutch a mic. He moved to New York at a young age and hasn’t left the area. It’s there where his music career was born before he ever decided to put his thoughts to wax. The rich cultures of New York City and its surrounding areas constantly provide inspiration for The iLLuzion emcee and it’s obvious when you listen to his music.

“Harlem gives me a particular perspective of the city. [It shapes] my taste in music, soulful music, my taste in apparel, women. I really love [it]. Black is beautiful. Even growing up in Harlem and being an artist I ventured out of Harlem to cover the whole realm of New York. I spend a lot of time in Brooklyn as well. I’m real familiar with the underground scene over there, the nightlife scene, the hip-hop scene over there. But currently my focus is in Harlem.”

Recently releasing his latest EP, Stimulation to noticeable acclaim, Salomon has finally given the world a solid body of work while expressing who he is and what he wants to become. It has also warranted attention from other creatives in the hip-hop world without a major platform, something Faye finds encouraging.

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Next Up: Chavis Chandler

Friday, May 15th, 2015

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Chavis Chandler defines overcoming adversity. From the outside looking in, it’s clear that his steady incline in the rap game is due to the constant improvement in his music–a combination of his unique voice mixed with his own original style. Internally though, the 24-year-old Detroit native has had to deal with a lot within the last calendar year.

Just being able to work on music has been a blessing for Chavis. During the recording process of his last project he was arrested as his past was beginning to catch up with him. Over the course of subsequent months Chandler spent most of the time in court. The culmination of the lessons learned from his past was released this week with The Call of the Wildan admirable deluge of self-expression in the form of emceeing and singing.

“It was stressing me out and I made all of this music based off of who I want to come in the game and compete with. A lot of people look for partnership and alliances with other people. Me, I’m not really into that. I’m more on the competitive side of the music.”

Things started looking up for Chavis earlier this year. He performed with Action Bronson at SxSW and everything seemed to be on the right path. It was when he returned home from Austin that another setback would befall him. But like all adversity he’s encountered, Chavis shrugged it off and moved forward.

“The day I came back from SxSW, the next morning the sheriff was at the door evicting me from my house. It was something where I was like, ‘whatever’ and I just gave it up and found my way. I feel like something really big is about to come for me and all this worldly material shit is whatever. I just want to make music and I’ll sacrifice whatever for that.”

Chavis Chandler’s Detroit blood is why he’s been able to turn problems into solutions. It’s where he learned how to be a man. The cold Midwestern winters and extensive underground rap scene has battle tested him for the national hip-hop scene and perhaps more importantly, the difficulties of life.

“I’m from the same neighborhood as J Dilla and I’m one of the only young emcees that’s from that same neighborhood that’s doing this kind of music at this caliber. I feel like if you grow up in Detroit you can make it anywhere. It breeds you so different… I found inspiration based off of the people I was listening to and what they were wearing. A lot of people fucked with me in my hood for that. People was calling me gay and shit so of course I had to beat a lot of motherfuckers up. I had to defend what I was wearing and that shit alone just shows you how crazy that can drive you just being in a city full of small-minded motherfuckers.

“The people I want to compete with is like Kanye [West] and Jay Z. I want to come into the studio with them niggas and play a record and be like, ‘Yeah, nigga this is what I’m working on and I want motherfuckers to go crazy over it…’ I want to leave my footprint in this shit and I want people to know who I am.”

– Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

Preeminent Visual:

Latest Release:

Banner photo via Doug Coombe

Related: Chavis Chandler – The Call Of The Wild (Mixtape) | Chavis Chandler ft. Icewear Vezzo – Gang Signs

Previously: Next Up: Al-DoeNext Up: Astro | Next Up: Dave East | Next Up: Cozz | Next Up: DeJ Loaf | Next Up: Rome Fortune

View all Next Up features HERE.

Catch up on all NahRight interviews and features HERE.

Next Up: Nino Man

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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Nino Man is the epitome of the New York rapper: a hard working hustler who knows how to get it and never when to stop. The 29-year-old Harlem native has been in the streets relentlessly over the past few years and has finally forged enough important relationships and cultivated his own platform whilst flipping over the hourglass waiting for his time to shine.

Being from Harlem has provided Nino the DNA to create his own path with no worries. In fact hip-hop was once a non-worry for him as survival was the primary focus. The daily grind and struggle those from 112th & Lenox Ave face is enough to keep anyone from the area battle tested and ready to take on anything.

“Being from Harlem means you can just go through anything. Harlem is a real flashy place; real trendy. You learn a lot being from Harlem–growing up street-wise, money-wise, every category, so being from Harlem, you can make it anywhere.” Being from the notorious Big Apple borough also helped him connect with others who laid the hip-hop foundation before him. Jadakiss was one of those people.

Nino and Kiss met through his manager. And once the young gun started vibing with the veteran and the music started playing, it was only a matter of time before the two would officially join forces. Since then the duo have worked on a ton of music together. Nino also recently appeared on Shade 45’s Sway In The Morning. It was an opportunity for him to showcase what he has to offer while also explain the bond between himself and his mentor. Continue reading this post…

Next Up: Raven Sorvino

Friday, February 27th, 2015

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From Roxanne Shanté and Queen Latifah to today’s crop women have always been a part of hip-hop culture. Some of current day hip-hop’s women receiving the most notable attention often yield more controversy than memorable music. Take Iggy Azalea for example. Or Nicki Minaj. Or even Azealia Banks. Many rap critics find themselves asking, “Where are all the other female emcees?” Well, there are plenty, if you spend any amount of time looking.

Rapsody is dope. Nitty Scott, MC is beginning to build her empire. And then on the west coast, there’s Raven Sorvino. The Leimert Park resident and Richmond, Texas native has been making a name for herself in the rap game as of late but she’s way more than a dope spitter. The 25-year-old’s unique style and whit is just as eye opening as her knack for ear-catching lyrics. Continue reading this post…

Next Up: Al-Doe

Friday, January 30th, 2015

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Al-Doe is the epitome of New York but not the “New York rapper.” The 29-year-old Bronx native’s early roots in the entertainment biz came far from the hallways of Big Apple project houses and high school lunch tables. Instead, his story began through a visual medium.

You see Al is Puerto Rican. It’s something that has been both a help and a hinder for him. He got a lot of his initial exposure as an actor during his childhood. Being featured in both soap operas and primetime TV programming, Al-Doe got a taste of the big time before he was even a teenager. It wouldn’t be until much later that he would even pick up a mic and rap.

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Next Up: Astro

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

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New artists and styles come and go with each passing year. That new wave you thought was poppin’ just six months ago has already been replaced by a new sound (or something rehashed). Producers have become the hit-makers and rarely does an act or group claim the attention of hip-hop’s audience for very long. It’s the reality of the music business these days and in the age of the Internet rapper there’s so much to pay attention to.

It ain’t like it used to be. And at least one rapper kind of wishes it was. Actually, we know thousands of rappers and fans who wish hip-hop would go back to the good ol’ days but we typically think of those people as old. Well, here’s a twist. What if one of those people was born after hip-hop’s Golden Age? That’s Astro.

The 18-year-old Brooklyn native wasn’t even alive before some of his favorite albums were released but that isn’t stopping him from finding what he likes. That same Internet that has clouded the airwaves of hip-hop is simultaneously responsible for educating younger fans who thirst for that old fashioned quality. It’s evident in his music too. Dissatisfied with what was available to him during the time he became a rapper, Astro went back in time and found something he loved.

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Next Up: Dave East

Friday, January 16th, 2015

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With the West Coast resurgence happening in full bloom as of late and the south cranking out hits left and right many have been looking to New York for that next BIG thing.

The conversation is becomes controversial when you start to discuss talent or even the city’s own radio stations showing little in the way of love for local artists. If a rapper takes a more traditional, Big Apple route when it comes to sonics he/she often gets labelled as a “nostalgia” act. It’s as if New York sound is something that should be left in the past. Some artists like the A$AP Mob or even French Montana steer clear of sounding like their backyard, for better or worse. And then there’re guys like Dave East.

The 26-year-old emcee isn’t your garden variety New York rapper. He isn’t the stereotypical boom bap seeking backpacker so many newer artists are sometimes shamed out of being. He’s just him and it’s starting to pay dividends. Growing up in Harlem but spending a lot of time on the 41st side of things, Dave and his affiliation with Queensbridge and Ravenswood landed him a lot of relationships aside from music. Those relationships culminated in a large co-sign, but it would be his music that ultimately attracted the attention of one of the city’s legends.

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Next Up: Cozz

Friday, January 9th, 2015

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If there were ever a Richard Sherman story in hip-hop Cozz would be it. The 21-year-old South Central, Los Angeles native began his youth with dreams of being rich but acted on them differently than your average perceived kid from the area.

Rather than slanging dope on the corner or sticking up the vulnerable the rapper born Cody Osagie chose to lay low. Being the beneficiary of a two-parent household also helped and there was no Doughboy to his Tre Styles. And while Cozz didn’t necessarily participate in the fast life he certainly witnessed people who did.

“I knew gangbangers and I had a moment in my life where I wanted to do it out of stupidity and me just being young and immature. I grew up in the heart of the hood but my parents kept my head on straight.” In his more recent years Cozz has used hip-hop as a distraction. And it’s been a damn good one. Ironically though, rap wasn’t originally in the plans for the head on straight kid. Rather it was a way to express himself and his experiences–perhaps the ones he never wanted to have.

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Next Up: DeJ Loaf

Friday, December 19th, 2014

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DeJ Loaf certainly isn’t the first artist from Detroit who’s a little out-of-pocket. The 23-year-old rapper, singer and songwriter’s buzz has skyrocketed as of late particularly due to her deviant clash of eccentric yet catchy melodies and the rough realities of where she came from. It’s the Motor City’s Eastside that claims home to DeJ. It’s there where she experienced the hard-knock detriment of being raised in a single parent household and witnessing how past struggle constructed present disadvantage.

“I came from a rough place. Everyone knows Detroit is a tough place to come from as a young child trying to survive. It definitely plays a big role.” The D is where the start and almost end of DeJ’s days as an artist lie. Before releasing her breakout song “Try Me,” her internal clock and will were coming to a standstill.

“I was in a dark place and I was on the verge of giving up musically. I was like, ‘Man I don’t know what I’m going to do, what is going on?’ I was just going to put my music out weekly and that’s how ‘Try Me’ came out because it was one of the first… Once ‘Try Me’ was going crazy I was like, ‘Oh wow!’ I’m onto something. People just love the song.” Giving up is far from what’s on DeJ Loaf’s agenda now. Recently appearing on 106 & Park and even performing in front of an impressed Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, Loaf and her ascend have provided her new life. A couple of other hometown heroes would help with the process as well.

Last month Loaf, amongst other luminaries from her native land, released “Detroit vs. Everybody,” a six-minute deluge of illustrious savagery repping all relevant in the city. Royce Da 5’9 would be the one to reach out to DeJ to appear on the track featuring everyone from Eminem to Big Sean. And while she’s never spoken to Em, it would be surprising if this turns out to be their only collaboration on wax.

“When I was in New York signing my deal with Columbia I got a call from Paul Rosenberg and [he] was telling me that Eminem was wanting to get into the studio and write with me and I was like, ‘Wow, really, that’s crazy!?’ I’m sure we’ll work out something in the future.” Currently DeJ Loaf is working on her debut album. It’s through that fans and media alike will really find out what the young and unique girl from Detroit is all about.

“I’m definitely going to put an album out top of the year… well not top of the year but like spring. I’m working on that for sure and that’s what I’m really ready to buckle down and do because I’ve been on the road doing shows.

“There’s no limit to the things I can do or get myself into. Music is just a foot in the door for me so you never know. I want to be legendary. I want to be one of the best to ever do it… I feel like I have the whole package. Not all female rappers have the whole package, which is why female rap hasn’t been poppin’ in so long, aside from Nicki Minaj. [It’s] ‘cause they don’t have that ‘it’ factor and that whole package and I feel like I do and I’m confident in that.”

– Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

Preeminent Visual:

Latest Release:

Banner photo via DeJ Loaf’s Instagram

Related: Video: DeJ Loaf, SAYITAINTTONE & Oba Rowland – Detroit vs. Everybody Freestyle | Video: DeJ Loaf – Try Me (Live on Fallon)

Previously: Next Up: Rome Fortune | Interview: Prodigy & Boogz Boogetz’ Young Rollin’ Stoners Album showcases two Generations of Queens Hip-Hop | Interview: Theophilus London “Vibes” with Kanye West & Leon Ware for Sophomore LP | Made in Ohio: Stalley & Rashad on Ohio Culture and Music | Happy 75th Birthday Queensbridge: The 75 Greatest QB Rap Songs | Interview: Diamond D Recalls Fat Joe & Lord Finesse’s Early Days, Says He was Stunned when Big L Passed

View all Next Up features HERE.

Catch up on all NahRight interviews and features HERE.

Next Up: Rome Fortune

Friday, December 5th, 2014

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Rome Fortune is the enigma of new Atlanta’s indie wave: talented, energetic and unexpectedly wise. His ruffled look and off balanced flow are the perfect cover to hide his unbeknownst whit. It’s there where you find the 26-year-old emcee relaying hard life lessons through the masquerade of rap clichés and simple, yet straightforward bars. It’s physically evident too. Three of Rome’s most recent projects (Small VVorld, Beautiful Pimp and Beautiful Pimp II) feature half naked women on the cover. Each represent one of rap’s oldest visual platitudes, each also carry a message hidden to dullest of minds.

Growing up in Atlanta one would think Fortune’s influences marinated in southern sauce (or sawse as Gucci Mane would put it). And they do to some extent. Rome’s childhood was fathered by a northern sound though. His parents and older siblings put the melodies of Wu-Tang Clan and Gangstarr in his ear early rather than the meridional trap offerings of a Master P or Three 6 Mafia. It’s why you hear both when you listen his music. Versatility is what Rome Fortune is going for.

“I can exist in multiple worlds and still be authentic. As long as I’m giving off that emotion that impacts in the way I want it to, that’s all I care about.”

Already releasing three projects in 2014 Rome isn’t finished working. In fact, the hustle has only begun. After performing at a string of shows in New York, he plans to finish off his debut album at the top of next year. It’s the culmination of everything he’s done to this point musically. Beyond his own career, Rome Fortune’s goal is to inspire an even younger generation of hip-hop contemporaries. If his execution of this is any bit as successful as his work in the studio, the ATL’s future is very bright.

“I want to be the representation of this next generation coming up behind me. I want these kids under me to not put themselves in a box. That’s why I make so many different types of music. It’s okay to make rap just a skill set, that doesn’t have to be your whole thing.

“These past two years a lot of genres have been reaching out to me and asking me to try different things and I’ve just been expanding what I want to do and expanding my versatility, making me better rapidly. It’s a constant challenge… I don’t want to do anything twice. I don’t want to make any type of album twice, any type of song twice. Every time I want to reinvent myself.”

– Paul Meara (@PaulMeara) Continue reading this post…