In recent years, style has become an essential element of hip-hop, and it has gone in many directions – from pioneers like Andre 3000 to newcomers like The Cool Kids. Some artists try to emulate the likes of Kanye and Pharrell (stylistically and otherwise), and others create their own lane and make a name for themselves because of their uniqueness. One of those artists is DC-bred Tabi Bonney, who broke through a few years ago with his infectious single “The Pocket.” Now a few years removed from that single, he’s prepping his sophomore album, Dope Meets Fresh…Fresh Meets Superstar. He sat down with iHipHop to discuss bringing hip-hop to the White House, why he doesn’t follow trends and why Andre 3-Stacks is the ish. Your fellow DC comrade Wale is consistent in exclaiming that DC fans hate on any progress that he’s making. Do you ever get the same feelings towards your success?Yeah, but I wouldn’t say overall. I don’t think he means DC fans period, either – probably other rappers in the area more so than the fans. I’ve gotten nothing but support, and even if there is a little hatred, it’s overwhelmed by the love. I read that you have your own clothing line, Bonney Runway. So many rappers have clothing lines nowadays, what makes yours different?Well my line started way back when I was in college. I’ve always been into fashion, and I didn’t do it as a trend or a fad. My line is also more of a euro-chic. It’s not urban at all. There’s a new wave of fashion-inspired artists, and it’s slowly becoming a much more accepted quality in hip-hop. Whose one artist who’s style you’re inspired by?Definitely Andre 3000. Speaking of Andre, have you seen his new line, Benjamin Bixby?No, not yet. But I’ll definitely check that out. Who’s one modern artist that inspires you musically? And they don’t have to be from hip-hop.Jay-Z. I’ve looked up to him since he came out, when I was in college. Lyrically, no one else could ever compare. A lot of people are saying Jay is too old to rap and that he should hang up the mic. What do you think?But “American Gangster” was a beast! If anything, he’s been the most consistent rapper. And he inspires me especially more than just in the music art form, I look at the business too. He’s accomplishing things that haven’t been done in our genre. He’s showing us that you can take everything to another level. You, Wale and other DC artists are known for infusing Go-Go into your music. But, is there really any popular demand for Go-Go on the radio?I think on the radio in DC it’s just Go-Go, period. But I don’t per say use Go-Go the same way Wale does. I don’t rap over Go-Go beats. But I think it’s still in popular demand – like back in the days of Salt N’ Pepa and Kid N’ Play – that’s all they used to rap over. I was with a few friends when I first saw the video for “The Pocket,” and since then we’ve all thought of you as just a cool and stylish dude. What made that song just stick to people’s brains?I think it was the inflection in tones. I think that’s the science in hooks. Other than that, it’s completely different sound and just me. I saw you perform live in New York at Wale’s mixtape release party, and you just did “The Pocket.” Are you getting sick of a lot of fans knowing you just for that song?No, because true fans know me for more. I’ve had a handful of other videos and the people that aren’t in-the-know know me just for that. Everybody will see me when the next album drops, everybody will see the difference. How do you expect your album to do, and where do you see yourself by the same time next year?Definitely way bigger than what I am right now. Hitting up a couple of awards, digging deeper into the history of hip-hop. Right now, there’s no other artist doing what I’m doing – completely independently. I don’t have any backing from investors or a major deal, and yet I’m having runs on MTV Jams and MTV Africa. As far as my plans for the label, it’s going to be something like a modern-day Rocafella. Do you classify yourself with the new era of backpackers – Lupe, The Cool Kids, Mickey Factz?Not at all. My music is completely different. My music is more like the popular kid [in high school] sitting at the popular table. Everybody can’t sit at that table. So my music puts people onto what they don’t know about yet. I don’t follow trends. I know you went to FAMU in my home state, and you have a degree so you’re one of few formally educated artists that I’ve ever spoken with. With that being said, tell me how you feel about Barack and bringing Hip-Hop to the White House.I think it’s great. To me, it’s not even a comparison [between McCain and Obama]. His running mate doesn’t even matter – it’s going to be a landslide already. It’s a new time, and it’s a new day and age. Since you’re based out of DC, would Barack winning the election affect you more directly?Yeah I think so. It’s a transient city so you see the difference with a new president or a different party. Certain people come and go from the city, and at this point I live down the street from capital hill. Tell me a little about the artists on your record label, Organized Rhyme, and what listeners should expect from them in the near future.Pretty much…jet setting music for dreamers of leaders of tomorrow. There was a moment when Kanye got on, and a lot of people began to find out about Kweli and Mos Def because they were featured on Kanye’s album. Do you feel that happened at all with you when Wale got on?Yeah, we bonded together. We know that you can’t do it on your own, and we wanted our city to come up just as Texas, New York and Atlanta did. Me, Wale and Raheem Devaughn are headlining DC right now. In a few words, tell me about the new album.Dope meet fresh, fresh meet superstar. It’s not for everybody. It’s only for those cool people that get it – those trendsetters who don’t follow the beaten path. Are you worried about coming off a bit pretentious, since you’re saying the music is only for some people?Um, I don’t think so. Just like everybody wont come to a 50 Cent show or a Celine Dion show – you cant please everybody. If I only cater to 1 percent of the world, that’s 65 million people, so that’s a lot of people that will get my message. Some artists I’ve talked to smoke weed, go for a drive, or spend time with their kids to find inspiration? What’s one place you draw inspiration from?Women and traveling. Hypothetical – You’re going to the Grammy’s next week. What do you wear?I wear a Bonney Runway hoodie, Maybe some up high-top Gucci shoes and mix that with some ill slacks. Speaking of wearing things – do you have a stylist or are you genuine with the clothing picks.Its all me. I don’t need a stylist. I might probably need one when I get super busy though. E-40 was the headliner for the Bay Area a few years back and used a lot of energy to try to make the Hyphy movement actually happen. Will the DC movement actually happen?It’s happening, man. You got Raheem on the forefront. You got Wale that just got signed at Interscope – he is making the biggest buzz on the underground. Then you got me whose not even signed and just imagine what it’ll be like when the album drops.
Posts Tagged ‘Wale’
This past weekend, as Rock the Bells came through the wonderful (and amazingly hot) city of Miami, I joined my friend and hip-hop head to a show I’d been anticipating for longer than I’d like to admit. What was hyped to be the biggest and most important Rock the Bells concert yet, was actually the biggest and most important hip-hop concert I’ve been to. Here’s an account from a Rock the Bells concert-goer. 12:00 pm: As my friend and I pulled up to the venue, which happened to be a waterfront outdoor festival venue, excitement and true hip-hop was definitely in the air. Just a few glances around, and I saw everything from some ridiculously colored limited edition kicks to some shades that only the hipster-est of the hipsters could pull off. However, before I could get too excited about what was about to go down, I quickly realized I had to wait in a will-call line (in the blistering heat) that was already 300-people deep. 1:10 pm: As my shirt completely soaked through, my camo shorts turned see-through from poorly-placed sweat stains and even my socks began to moisten, I was not in any mood for a hip-hop show. However, after over an hour in line and a few cuts through the crowd, I got my ticket and my comrade and I made our way inside. I’d felt as if I’d missed an act or two, but as I looked at the lineup and the upcoming acts were B.o.B., Wale, The Cool Kids, Jay Electronica and Dead Prez, I had no reason to fret. 2:30 pm: After Atlanta-bred B.o.B. killed the small-and-growing crowd with a few tracks like “Haterz Everywhere” and “Mellow Fellow,” I anxiously awaited the arrival of The Cool Kids, who unfortunately never showed. So, to kill the time I checked out the vendors with their unbelievably overpriced t-shirts and made my way back to my seat to check out the infamous Dead Prez. The political duo blazed the stage in very Miami-esque attire, and performed anthems like “That’s War” and “Hell Yeah.” Arguably the act I anticipated most was DC rapper Wale, and by the time he came to the stage after Dead Prez, I was finally read to hop out of my seat and rap along with him. The mostly-underground Wale did tracks off his mixtapes, 100 Miles and Runnin’ and The Mixtape About Nothing. The crowd was suprisingly into the performance and the amount of support Wale got was definitely impressive after a major act like Dead Prez. 6:00 pm: Promptly after Wale came by far the most forgettable act of the day, Immortal Technique. The overly and tiringly political Immortal was like a smelly wave of Washington DC bullshit-polluted air that every fan got a strong whiff of. He definitely did not belong in the lineup of Rock the Bells, and I have to say his performance was the only one that actually prompted me to eat some Rock the Bells grub. 6:14 pm: Two corndogs, $12 and a mild case of indigestion later, Immortal was off the stage and Shaolin’s finest, Raekwon & Ghostface, made their way to the stage. The overweight and under-zealous duo still blazed the stage with old anthems and a few new Ghost tracks thrown into the mix. Though the duo probably should have gone later in the day, they had a nice 20-minute set before the sun went down on MIA. Next up, De La Soul made their way to the stage, in all their old-ness, and threw tracks like “The Choice is Yours” and “3 Feet High and Rising” into their incredibly exciting set. With the trio jumping around and sharing DJing/MCing duties throughout the set, they got the crowd excited again after seven hours in the extreme hot started to finally hit the fans hard. One of the highlights of the evening and definitely the most comical set was Mos Def’s. I saw Mos absolutely kill Rock the Bells last year, as he went on for about two hours and brought out Talib Kweli and Common to keep the show moving, but this time he went solo. By throwing in a few spanish ad-libs and hits like “Umi Says,” Mos got himself and fans through the dead heat and brought everyone calmly into the evening breeze. As he left the stage, the sun set, and the crowd readied for the reuniting of The Pharcyde! Though I’d never been an enormous Pharcyde fan, the Cali boys definitely had a massive following in the audience, and they utilized that to full effect. They played the classic “Passin’ me By” and my personal favorite song of theirs, “What’s Up, Fatlip?” The foursome jumped around the stage as if it was a decade ago in LA, but no one in the crowd seemed to mind. 8:22 pm: By my fourth $4 bottle of water, I’d started to feel as if another corndog was in order, but my stomach growls told me otherwise. So, I made my way back to my seat to watch the universal potheads of hip-hop, Method Man and Redman. These two are by far the most exciting and personable performers I’ve ever seen live, and the amount of weed they caused to be smoked in the outdoor arena provided what could be confused with a mushroom cloud. Regardless, Meth and Red brought out the oft-forgotten Noreaga to perform “Nothin’,” and just as quick as they’d come on the stage and jumped into the crowd, the How High boys bounced off backstage to undoubtedly spark another L. 9:15 pm: Just when I started to get restless after a 20-minute intermission, and when I’d thought the evening’s headliners just might not show, Nasir blazed the stage like it was Bill O’Reilly’s credibility in Queensbridge. In his gym shorts & tank-top outfit, Nas had thousands of fans screaming along lyrics to “Got Yourself a Gun,” “One Mic,” “Hip Hop is Dead,” “If I Ruled the World” and “Sly Fox.” Though Miami didn’t get a Jay-Z cameo like NYC did, Nas killed it on his own. 10:25 pm: Ten and a half hours into my hip-hop excursion, I sat down in my seat after Nas finished up, and buried my head into my hands, wondering if my ears could handle any more hip-hop. Just when I’d felt I had too much to handle, I heard the unbelievably noticeable voice of the Abstract, aka Q-Tip, accompanied by hype-man Mos Def. Q-Tip came out and did a few new tracks from his upcoming album and old hits like “Vivrant Thing,” before he brought out Phife Diggy, Jarobi and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Tribe was definitely the highlight of the evening. With tracks like “Find a Way,” in which all members sang the hook (including Ali Shaheed!), “Check the Rhime,” “Oh My God” and “Electric Relaxation,” Tribe brought the entire audience back a few years to their heyday, even if the audience members (like myself) weren’t alive at that time. Either way, it felt great to hear and be a part of amazing and true hip-hop at its finest. 12:01 am: As I stumbled out of the venue, I held on to my friend for dear life in hopes that I would not trip and fall onto my face from sheer exhaustion. I’d never, ever, ever been a part of a 12-hour concert for any genre of music, and by the end I was truly grateful for making it out safely. Though I don’t remember much after falling asleep as soon as I hit the chair in my friend’s car, I dreamed about Mos Def and Q-Tip sharing a scotch backstage – probably the byproduct of sitting for a half-day in heat wave weather. Though hip-hop is an enormous part of my life, I now know where my hip-hop threshold lies. I think it’s somewhere between six and seven hours of straight listening. Rock the Bells is amazing at bringing together some of hip-hop’s best performers, but next time, I may just show up a little late, in hopes that I can see enough of the show so that I won’t want to cut my ears off by the closing act. Best Moment: Supernatural and Scratch performing a set where Scratch made the most unbelievable of beats while Supernat freestyled for what seemed like an eternity about everything from Jordan shoes to farmer hats. Supernat is hands down the most ridiculous freestyler I’ve ever seen, but that comes as no surprise. Curious Comments: Jay Electronica was in the house, and he stood by the stage as Nas performed, but he didn’t perform himself. What was he doing? Why didn’t he perform? And why on Earth was he carrying a metal baton 2/3 the size of his body? Best Act: A Tribe Called Quest, as if it was even a question. Least Expected Fans: Young Latino girls with their boyfriends who had no idea who the artists were, but they sure knew how to mean-mug if you accidentally put your hand in front of their face.
Recent Atlantic Records signee B.o.B. hails from Atlanta and is making a big name for himself on the internet. With his infectious anthem, “Haterz Everywhere,” has been getting radio play and was even picked up by MTV as of late. B.o.B. is currently one of the Fab 5 artists on MTV Jams for the summer, and recently released an LRG-sponsored mixtape with DJ Mick Boogie. You can check out B.o.B. at Rock the Bells over the next few weeks and in LRG’s new ad campaign alongside rapper Wale. For now, check out tracks like “Mellow Fellow” and “Haterz Everywhere,” downloadable below. B.o.B. – “Haterz Everywhere” and “Mellow Fellow”
After just a few months of enjoying some relative limelight, Wale has hopped on the fashion bandwagon that Pharrell and Kanye West started years ago. With Pharrell and Kanye being the unofficial Louis Vuitton, Gucci and high-fashion spokesmen, Wale has become the face of established urban clothing lines like Levi’s and LRG. It seems as though Wale’s fan-base is spreading beyond just bloggers and hipster-hoppers, and Levi’s and LRG feel that Wale can be a fresh, new face for their ad campaigns. Check out the ads and Wale’s street anthem “Nike Boots” available for download below. Wale – “Nike Boots”
Cornerstone Promotions has been instrumental in the advancement of so many artists careers – Kanye West and newcomers Wale and Kid Cudi to name a few. Cornerstone has also worked closely with Fader Magazine in finding the newest, freshest talent and either promoting their mixtapes or parties to further their promotion. Basically, Cornerstone helps bring quality music to devoted fans of all genres of music. One of the most impressive things Cornerstone has done in recent years, however, is creating their Cornerstone Mixtape Series, currently sponsored by Levi’s. The mixtape series just saw the release of its 106th installment, and features the hottest DJs in hip-hop creating mixes of the best new songs from various artists. After having everyone from 9th Wonder to DJ Green Lantern to DJ Premier host the mixtape, Cornerstone is furthering their push of great music to knowledgeable hip-hop crowd. Cornerstone Mixtape #106 features everyone from Teyana Taylor to KRS-One and Q-Tip, and can be downloaded below. Cornerstone Mixtape #106
Nick Catchdubs, co-founder of Fool’s Gold Records, is blowing up. After handling the mixing duties for both of Wale’s mixtapes, Catchdubs is set to release a mixtape with Timbaland’s new artist, Izza Kizza, tomorrow. Catchdubs is a DJ first and foremost (a dope one at that) and is currently working on transitioning into the production realm. After meeting DJ A-Trak several years ago, they founded Fool’s Gold Records, which currently houses some of house music’s hottest DJ’s, rapper Kid Sister and newcomer Kid Cudi. Catchdubs has consequently aligned himself with some of the best new hip-hop, and is finally making a name for himself in the genre. To commemorate this, he’s released a brand-new promo mixtape, entitled Slick. The mix is 20-tracks long, but in true DJ fashion, has no tracks or breaks. It is simply a 59-minute mix of everything from old to new and from hip-hop to dancehall to electro. Download the mix here and let us know what you think of Catchdubs. Nick Catchdubs – Slick
It’s been a few years since Young Chris and Neef made hip-hop music that was actually relevant. Though the Philly-bred boys debut single, “Cant Stop Won’t Stop” showed some promise, they never quite lived up to the hype. Years later, and with one less Neef in the picture, Young Chris is still going hard. He’s teamed up with witty wordsmith Wale for two tracks now, “Whole Time” and “Large.” The duo is surprisingly solid, and expect the Young Gunna to make an appearance on Wale’s debut album, due out whenever Interscope gets their ish together. Download “Whole Time” here and “Large” here.
Famed mixtape DJ Mick Boogie has recently hosted a slew of tapes with artists like Little Brother, Talib Kweli, Young Chris and Busta Rhymes. Amidst his DJ duties, Boogie took a break to head to the Nike headquarters and was apparently inspired by the visit. Boogie and 6th Sense joined forces to create the 9-track “Just Do It: A Mixtape Ode to Nike,” which features freestyles over Just Blaze’s “Team USA” track and Wale’s Though the tape is rather short, the duo created and released it in just two days (pretty good turnaround time). Check out “Just Do It” right here and let us know what you think.
iHipHop Blog Team