By: Starrene Rhett Mario captured hearts, young and old, as the cute 16-year-old kid crooning, “you got what I need” and ever since then, we all noticed. Now, four years older, with more facial hair, and double the sex appeal, he’s back and ready to release his third album, Go, in August. Having made his acting debut in Freedom Writers, and ready to capture more hearts with his more evolved, mature sound, his star is just beginning to rise. It seems as though things are starting to fall into place and he’s got his on take on why we love him. Hiphopcrack: Your new album, Go is coming out this summer. What can people expect? Mario: I got a lot of different producers that I worked with on the project. A lot of the album is definitely more aggressive than my last album – more up-tempo records on this album, but the slow records that I do have feel like up-tempo records so when you’re listening to them, you’re not being bored or drowned out by slow music or whatever…the first single is called “How Do I Breathe.” It’s a mid-tempo record, but I’d say it’s an intro type of record because it’s not like anything else on the album. It only grows from there. Hiphopcrack: Did you work with Ne-Yo on this album? Mario: I did. I worked with Ne-Yo on a song called “What’s it Gonna Be” on this project. We’re still panning out songs on what we’re going to keep and what we’re not going to keep so this song may or may not make it but as of right now it’s on my album and it’s called “What is it Gonna Be.” It’s a lot different from “Let me Love You.” It’s a more up-tempo record and it has a harder beat. He’s a very versatile writer so when we get together we always do something different. We did about three records but only one is making it. Hiphopcrack: What other producers do you have on there? Mario: Scott Storch, Dre and Vidal, Pharell, Timbaland, Nightridaz, which is my production company, we got three joints on my album; Akon and the Stargate — who have the first single. Hiphopcrack: How old are you if you don’t mind me asking? Mario: I’m 20. Hiphopcrack: Ok, you’re 20 now. How does it feel to have matured from being a teen singer to an adult? Mario: Some people still look at me like the little Mario until they meet me and they talk to me and realize that I have grown and there’s a difference. But for me, it’s natural. I don’t realize how young I am until somebody says, “Oh, he’s only 20.” I’m doing my thing; I have a lot of responsibilities so I don’t feel like that young Mario anymore – personal and business, so it’s been natural growth for me. Hiphopcrack: Speaking of growth, don’t you have a beard now? Mario: [laughs] Sometimes I keep it on, sometimes I cut it off but as of right now, I got it off. Hiphopcrack: How does the new album reflect your growth from when you first came out? Mario: Wow…vocally, it does just what I’m talking about — The conviction, how I’m saying it, the swagger on the record – I would definitely say the look of the album, when you see the pictures, there’s a lot of growth there and confidence. I think all of that has to do with the other. So that’s definitely what I’m talking about; the songs and how I express them on the album…how they feel more than anything. It feels more mature, it feels sexier, it feels more confident. Hiphopcrack: We know that in the industry that women feel a certain pressure to be thin or to look a certain way but I’ve noticed lately with other singers in the game that it’s been more about being able to dance and poplocking, but you’re more of a hardcore singer, so do you ever feel pressure to be up on stage dancing more than anything? Mario: I do, but it has to be controlled. When it comes to choreography, that’s when we get ready for it and I do it, but I was a singer first. I was a singer before I was a dancer. When I go to the club, I definitely dance but I feel the pressure. I don’t feel like when you listen to my music, that’s what you see or hear, I feel like I can do it if I want to but I don’t have to. But of course when you do a show, you have to add the dancing and the choreography but that’s not what makes me. Hiphopcrack: So, what does make you unique from the other dudes out there? Mario: I think it has a lot to do with the songs and the concept of the record. Hiphopcrack: Do you also write? Mario: Yep. I wrote four songs on this album. Hiphopcrack: Cool. How did you come up with the track “How Do I Breathe,” you mentioned it a little bit earlier? Mario: “How do I Breathe” came about with me and Stargate, producers from over seas who are here now. They work with pretty much everybody now. When you hear the record, it feels sort of like “Let Me Love You,” but I’d definitely say it’s more mature and the conviction is different. The track is a little more up beat and it’s fresher. When we did the record it was pretty much just me, being in my vulnerable state talking about a situation where…I had a girl at the time and we were going in between being together and out of a relationship and so on so it was like “”How can I breathe without you by my side?” “How can I see when your love brought me to the light?” It’ one of them vulnerable joints but other songs on the album are more aggressive like “Go.” It’s definitely an aggressive club joint where I’m talking to a girl about taking her home. There are definitely different personalities on this album. Hiphopcrack: So what’s your situation like with the ladies right now? Mario: It’s lovely [laughs]. I’m meeting a lot of different young ladies – Hiphopcrack: Young and old, I bet. Mario: [laughs] Both. It’s interesting. It’s really cool, man, It’s fun, but at the same time, it’s more about working right now, I’m very busy right now it’s very hard to meet one person when I’m going around meeting all these different people. I gotta keep my options open. Hiphopcrack: Speaking of you being busy, you’ve transitioned into being an actor, so do you have any new acting projects on the horizon or is it just about music right now? Mario: Actually, the DVD for “Freedom Writers” is out but I’m reading a lot of different scripts right now. A lot of different scripts are in the works. We have about 5 different scripts that I’m reading for, however, I don’t know what’s gonna come out of that so right now, I’m just looking to shoot my next film after the summer and see what comes out of it. Hiphopcrack: Would you say you’re more passionate about music? Mario: Absolutely. Hiphopcrack: Speaking of your passion, for music, what do you expect your impact to be as an artist as far as your singing and your style – Mario: Setting the bar, bringing out classic music. I think artists have been doing that but we’ve just been pushing a little further, and we’re going to set the bar and create my lane. Hiphopcrack: That was my last question but do you have anything you want to add? Mario: The album comes out in August. The first single is called “How Do I Breathe,” it’s hittin’ your radio stations right now so you can call and request it. It’s about to go down.
By: Hot Gossip Gal Usher needs to get a grip..he is demanding that USHERFOREVER, a fan site for the singer hand over the domain name to LaFace Records after fans of his have dissed his future wife Tameka Foster. He did his letter thing where he asked bloggers and sites to stop posting stuff about his boo-boo and obviously it hasn’t worked..so now he is getting heavy with the webmaster who is considered one of his biggest stans…sorry fans. Well she was up until this I guess.
By: Rizoh Rihanna’s “Umbrella” has been reigning in the U.K. for 10 weeks in a row. The summer smash which features Jay-Z has indeed become the longest-charting No.1 single since Wet Wet Wet’s “Love Is All Around,” which ruled for 15 weeks back in 1994. “Umbrella” is currently ahead of Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” featuring Keri Hilson and Enrique Iglesias’ “Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song).”
By: Rizoh Yesterday, we reported that Lil Flip was arrested for credit card abuse. According to his attorney/manager, Sandy Lal, the charge is complete nonsense and will quickly disappear. “Flip had absolutely no involvement with any sort of credit card fraud,” says Lal. “He never personally handles any travel arrangements. That is left to promoters and travel agents. Any wrongdoing of any sort is clearly in their hands. It’s unfortunate that Flip was a victim to this charade and his name has been tied to this situation due to his celebrity status.” Lal goes on to say that Lil Flip’s Houston criminal attorney, Stanley Schneider found that neither Flip nor anyone associated with him had any knowledge that a stolen credit card was being used by a person hired to arrange his travel. “A complete investigation will easily show that Lil Flip is innocent of all charges and is actually a victim of a scam.”
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno In Jamaica homophobia looms large so it’s no surprise that a lot of artists from the area have that mentality as well. Gay right campaign group, Stop Murder Music, has been on a mission to stop the homophobic lyrics seeping from reggae music. The group came up with a pledge called the Reggae Compassionate Act, a document that promises the signer that he will no longer record, perform or re-release songs with homophobic content. The group already got Beenie Man, Sizzla, and Capleton to sign the pledge. Now after three years of begging, Buju Banton has finally signed the pledge as well. "There’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia,” Beenie said in a statement. Everything flew to a head last year when Buju was slated to perform at a benefit concert and protesters rallied to have the show cancelled. Buju’s homophobic song, “Boom Bye Bye,” a hit in the 90’s, details the shooting of gay men in the head, pouring acid on them and burning them alive. Protesters have actually caused Buju to get dropped from several concerts in the last few years. "I can see why he’s done it,” reggae artist DJ Kemist told NME.com. “He doesn’t want to jeopardize his whole career over just a few songs. But it doesn’t mean it’s going to change any of his opinions."
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno On Sunday night, after a Lil Wayne concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York, both Wayne and Ja Rule were arrested on gun possession charges in separate incidents. According to the Associated Press, police saw Wayne and another man smoking weed by a tour bus near 61st Street and Columbus Avenue at about 11:30 p.m. The officers took the two men into custody and found a .40-caliber pistol. Wayne and his homie were both charged with criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana. Ja was arrested about an hour earlier on West End Avenue. Police told the Associated Press that he was in a luxury sedan that was going too fast. Officers stopped the car and arrested the occupants, Ja Rule, the driver and another man, and found a .40-caliber gun. There’s no word if they bonded out the same night.
By: Hot Gossip Gal Saturday lunch time and Soul Train was never the same after Shemar Moore left the show. Turns out he is straight up denying the gay rumors that have circulated since he was snapped butt ass naked on a gay beach. Only advice i have boo is you may need a new stylist as this pic isn’t helping those rumors either.
By: Rizoh Next time Lil Flip decides to rap about how stanky rich he is, he might want to first consider a quick credit check. The Houston rap luminary was arrested over the weekend for credit card abuse. According to the Houston Chronicle, Flip turned himself in on the felony charge around 2:30 p.m. Saturday and was released shortly after posting a $2,000 bond. Sounds crazy, right? Wait till you hear this part: Court documents revealed that Flip is accused of buying a $671 Southwest Airlines ticket to Baltimore from Houston on June 8 with an American Express card owned by one Jordan Salinger. That’s a 1,329 less than he paid for bail. Obviously, Jordan Salinger told officials he did not authorize the purchase. Flipperacci, on the other hand, claims that the ticket was purchased by a man named Kevin Frank. Well, that’s just too bad; Frank told authorities he neither knew Lil Flip nor made the purchase. In fact, Flip is said to have bought the ticket himself by phone just one hour before takeoff. The 26-year old rapper is due in court later today.
By: Rizoh Hieroglyphics member Del tha Funky Homosapien is about to release his first solo disc in seven years. The west coast rap legend told smokingsection.net that the album, 11th Hour, will be issued on El-P’s Definitive Jux label. “11th Hour about to come out, know what I’m saying,” said Del. “Looks like I’m possibly f**king with El-P you know for the release of this through Def Jux. I’ve known El-P for a long time. That’s my boy man.” But don’t expect Del to be rapping about spaceships (a la El-Producto). “If you want that,” says Ice Cube’s cousin, “you got to listen to Deltron. This is strictly about me, how I get down, my real world shit and I how I get through it.” This isn’t the first time Del has teamed up with El-P on a creative level. The two collaborated on “Offspring,” from Del’s well-received 2000 album Both Sides of the Brain.
By: Hot Gossip Gal Things were getting a lil heated down in the A this weekend without anyone taking their clothes off it appears. Jermain Dupri was hosting his annual strip off with the big prize this year being $250,000. BUT the club that held the event last year Club Onyx told its dancers/strippers that if they were to enter the competition which was being held at another ATL hot spot, then they would lose their jobs. Turns out JD was not impressed at all with the reaction of the club as he thinks he is the reason for the clubs success. JD said he won’t let any of his celeb friends go to Onyx now…tough talk JD. What I want to know is what can a stripper do that is worth a quarter of a mill……
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno Awhile back there was announcement that Dr. Dre’s 22-year old daughter Manaj, was signing with TM Media Group for various projects. That first project is a documentary called “Daddy’s Shadow”, which follows Manaj as she tries to break into the music industry without her famous dad’s help. Apparently, Dre objects to Manaj having a music career and refuses to help her. Last year, after the announcement of the documentary, Manaj said she was actually cut-off by her father. It appears that Manaj shares a lot of stories and history that Dre himself didn’t want to become public. The film is still under production, but a trailer is now available to view plus you can a sample of her music (yes, she’s an emcee), from TM MEDIA GROUP. Manaj also started a blog last week, MANAJ BLOG , to keep potential fans up to date on her career moves. If you really want the movie, you can pre-order it here WIGGA WRECKORDS .
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno A new way to get people to eat McDonald’s food? Throw free concerts! McDonald’s announced that they will be hosting a handful of free concerts around the nation, most of them going down in restaurant parking lots. Ne-Yo has been tapped the kick the shindig off on July 26 in California’s Venice Beach Recreation Center and Twista doing a show on August 1 at yet to be announced McDonald’s in Chicago. “This is the first time we’ve put together a McDonald’s tour," Douglas Freeland, director of U.S. marketing at McDonald’s, told Billboard.com. "We’re always looking for ways to strengthen brand relevance with young adults, and we know from work we’ve done in the past that music is their number one passion. Our strategy was to involve emerging multi-genre artists who are releasing new music this summer." Other cities involved in the “tour” include Denver, Bloomfield, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, Austin, Kansas City and Madison, Wisconsin. All the artists have yet to be announced, but check MCDLIVE for the latest updates.
By: Hot Gossip Gal Has Foxy had a boob job or what? Looking a lil spaced out here Fox…
By: Hot Gossip Gal Yeah very slow gossip day today..but turns out Justin Timberlake’s newrestaurant in NYC is getting its fair share of a list clientele rolling through. Jay Z and the Rev Al Sharpton got their grub on at Southern Hospitality this week. Jay really needs to work on his face though..I mean what is that look for?
iHipHop Blog Team