Drake gives us a tour of his hometown of Toronto, Canada in the video for his first single, “Headlines” off his sophomore release, “Take Care”, due out October 24th. Directed by Lamar Taylor and Highly Alleyne, of the Weekend XO Team, the video features landmarks such as The Guild of the Rogers Center. Although this is his first single, Drake proclaims that it is not the best song off the album but is just the song for the moment. In an interview with Billboard.com, Drake stated that he always tries to put forth a song with a message and doesn’t pick his first singles on the basis of strength. He makes sure that the content is very relevant to right now. Stay tuned to The High Up for more information on Drake. In the meantime visit Drake’s official website at www.drakeofficial.com . Watch Drake’s “Headlines” video below and let us me know what you think.
-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter for the latest in entertainment news!
After releasing his highly anticipated debut album, it looks like J. Cole’s “Cole World: The Sideline Story”, will debut at #1 next week on Billboard’s Top 200 with a projected 250,000 copies sold. As it has been difficult for artists to sell records in the recent past, J. Cole shows no signs of running into this issue. I can only hope that he continues to produce classics as he did on September 27th. If he continues on this track, we may see him on a paralleled success path as his mentor and Roc Nation boss Jay-Z, but only time will tell. For more on J.Cole visit his website at www.jcolemusic.com and follow him on Twitter @jcolenc.
-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter!
While attending the Tree Sounds Fashion Show event, my ears were graced with a sound that was leaving them wanting more. This sound came from Hip-Hop J.U.S.T.I.C.E League recording artist Laws. I was compelled by his lyrical content, unique delivery and captivating stage presence. I knew that no ear should be un touched by his music and that I wanted to know more about this rising star. Aspire Online Magazine and The High Up were able to catch up with Laws recently at his studio to talk about his amazing talent, his journey, and his upcoming mix tape, “Your Future Favorite Rapper: Vol. II”.
THU: So I heard that you were born in Brazil. Can you tell us more about where you grew up?
LAWS: I was born in Brazil and raised in New York and moved to Tampa, Florida in high school.
THU: How was the move from New York to Tampa, Florida for you?
LAWS: It was tough. We moved in the summer time so I didn’t know anyone and didn’t get the chance to meet anybody since school was out. That’s actually when I picked up rap.
THU: Who are your musical influences in Hip Hop?
LAWS: My musical influences in Hip-Hop are Big Pun, Eminem, Mos Def, Jay-Z, and Nas.
THU: How would you categorize your music in Hip-Hop?
LAWS: It would probably fit in the category of lyrical more for the content but not meaning that I put 150 words over one beat. While its lyrical, you can also dance to my music so I would call it Lyrical Dance. Music that will not only tell you a story but also keeps you moving in the club.
THU: If you could collaborate with anyone, not just HIP-HOP, who would it be?
LAWS: I would like to work with Adele, Tom York of Radio Head, and Nikkiya.
THU: I read that you started participating in free style battles in Florida. Tell me more about how you got started.
LAWS: I started battling at 15 years old. We actually went to the club and used fake I.D’s to get in. It was before 8 Mile came out and battling was a big thing. It’s like I just had to take the chance and see if I could do it.
THU: Tell me about the time you were invited to your first major radio station and getting your first single played on the air. I read that you were invited with the winner and the winner didn’t show up and you were given the chance to play your song on the radio.
LAWS: You know about that?! (laughs) Yes. I was in a battle and I actually lost. I was invited to the radio station with the winner and the winner didn’t show up so I took that chance to play them my single on the air. That was actually my first relationship with a radio station. It was my first major connect.
THU: How did you link up with J.U.S.T.I.C.E League?
LAWS: It was in 2007 and I was doing freestyle battles and had released a project with Rawkus Records, which didn’t really do too much and they heard my music from that project. They saw me perform when I was opening up for KRS One. I ended up working with them for like a year. This is when I learned how to craft my lyrics into songs because free styling is way different from putting a song together. They basically worked with me and molded me. They became great friends of mine and even took me in for two years to help me grow as an artist.
THU: I really enjoyed you on stage. Do you have a persona or alter ego that hits the stage other than yourself?
LAWS: When I write to a beat, its like making love or at times doing it rough. When I’m on stage, its like I’m destroying the beat from the inside out. I really just lose myself in the moment and have fun with it. I really don’t remember what I did afterward because I was so into it.
THU: You had a unique name for your mixtape called 4:57. Can you tell us the story behind that?
LAWS: Yes. Well I used to work at a hospital in Florida. Well, two actually, and I would always want to be out of there at 5:00 on the dot so I would clock out at 4:57. One of my co-workers at the time told me that I should name my album 4:57. This was actually a year before it was released and so naming it that was actually like paying homage to her.
THU: So what’s next for LAWS?
LAWS: Another mixed tape. The next mixtape will be “Your Future Favorite Rapper: Vol. II” which is a follow up to my last mixtape “Your Future Favorite Rapper”.
THU: If you could describe LAWS in two words, what would those be?
LAWS: Rebel and Music
THU: What advice would you give to the aspiring artist who is looking to be in your shoes one day?
LAWS: Be patient, practice a lot, give up your personal life because you will have to, and dedicate yourself to this.
It is obvious that the LAWS movement is about to take over. We at Aspire Online Magazine and The High Up will be keeping you updated with the newest on LAWS and his amazing music and are excited to see what’s next for this gifted artist. To learn more about Laws, visit his website at http://www.myspace.com/lawshiphop and follow him on Twitter @lawshiphop.
-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter!
15 years ago, I was on my way to elementary school, when I heard the announcer over the radio proclaim that Tupac Shakur had passed away. Even though I was young, I had been influenced by his music and was affected by his passing. Although many remember him for his “Thug Life” persona, Tupac was numerous personas in one. An activist, poet, revolutionary, story teller, artist, and writer were just a few hats that this talented soul wore. Born to a member of the Black Panther Party, Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s future was destined to be far from the ordinary. The passion that ran through his mother’s veins were ran through him as he grew into a young man. Starting his musical career, as a dancer for the Digital Underground, Tupac Shakur would be given a chance to display his gifts. As his journey continued, his talent became more relevant to the music community and public alike. He not only revealed the struggles that he had endured growing up in poverty in his music, he also expressed his concerns for society. He provided his listeners with every point of view. At many moments in his career, his music was over shadowed by the controversy surrounding his comments and actions. Along side his friend turned enemy Biggie Smalls (Born Christopher Wallace), he became the head of what would be called “The East Coast and West Coast War”. As many chose sides, two lives were lost, starting with Tupac Shakur’s. Over a decade later, his legacy lives on. His life, poetry, music, and teachings are now studied in universities and his large archives of music are consistently released, allowing us to feel his presence over again. Many believe that Tupac is still alive. The truth is, he is. He lives through the many hearts that he touched and inspired. He lives every moment his music is heard through the speakers. He lives through our memories. When I remember Tupac Shakur, I can only think of the numerous songs that remind me of a certain time in history.
-Amadi Jae for AOM & The HIGH UP. Follow @AmadiJae on Twitter.
Kanye is widely regarded as a premier music producer that is a fair to midland rapper with flashes of being a very good MC from time to time. Jay-Z is considered by most to be a great MC; his consistency, relevancy and longevity alone push him into rarefied air as far as MC’s are concerned. It is not often that artists, especially hip hop artists at the status of Kanye and Jay Z, can come together to make an album. Even if you put Ego’s aside just working out the time and scheduling must be a Herculean feat. So the announcement of Watch The Throne, the Kanye and Jay-Z album sparked instant buzz. The blending of the two musical juggernauts promised something epic, something people probably hadn’t seen since Built for Cuban Linx or Liquid Sword or MadVillainy and it delivered… a pretty good album but not a classic by any stretch of the imagination. The production on the album is very good top to bottom but like a leopard it has a few spots that you could live without. It is not the production, however, but the rapping that proves to be the Achilles heel of this album if you ask me. It’s not that the flow is bad or the punch lines don’t land, the issue is that the album is mostly Sunshine Anderson … you’ve heard it all before. There are certainly glimpses of something more on songs like Gotta Have It, New Day, That’s My B!t&h, Welcome to the Jungle and Murder of Excellence (see song break downs below for specific details about the songs) but those flashes are against a sky filled with a million star tales of excess. I totally understand that the excesses of life are probably a large part of their day to day these days but then that being the case this could have been an 8 song album/EP of all original thought and not a 16 song long full length project of takes on the same theme. Don’t get me wrong it’s not bad, and it’s going to sell like hookers on payday but there is a fallacy of composition here in so much as the sum of the parts (two great artists) do not equal the sum of the whole (an average album). I’ve watched the throne but I can’t say that this album showed me a real glimpse of the once and future king.
The intriguing singer, songwriter and former actress who more than a decade ago took hip hop by storm while sweeping 5 Grammys for her unforgettable lyrical masterpiece The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, is gracing fans with her presence as she kicks off a 17 city tour on December 27th. Ms. Hill will be performing at Center Stage Theater on January 14th in Atlanta. Tickets went on sale today and are rumored to be sold out. Not surprising. My crew is already scrambling to see if we can land an exclusive interview…we’ll keep you posted! Now, my favorite musical collaboration of all time has to be ‘Nothing Even Matters’ with Lauryn and D’Angelo. This song is super sexy, raw and an undeniable classic. Every time I hear it I reflect upon my freshman year at Tennessee State University. Those were the days! All I can say is “welcome back Lauryn. We hope you’re here to stay.” 🙂
Tell us your favorite musical collaboration of all time at Hot Topic of the Day.