Interview: Casanova Takes HipHopDX "Behind These Scars"

Filed by Rebecca RobertiRebecca Roberti

New York, NY – Casanova is a man few words, and his reticence becomes immediately evident when probing questions about his past, present, and future are asked. Still, the Brooklyn rapper seems content with his place in history, and uses it as a launching pad for his newest album, Behind these Scars.

“What was more important for me, than anything else, was to make people see what I’ve really gone through in this industry,” he told HipHopDX exclusively. “Some these songs explain, in detail, how I got these ‘scars’ — physical scars, emotional scars — but more importantly, these songs explain why you have to take the good with the bad, no matter what.”

Behind These Scars is a fresh, introspective take on his history that’s liberally peppered with the classic New York sounds and styles that Cas (government name: Caswell Senior) first became known for back in 2016, when — with no previous experience — he got into the studio with a few friends and released his breakthrough hit, “Don’t Run.” Thanks to heavy radio play from DJ Self at New York’s Power 105, “Don’t Run” became a bonafide hit for Casanova, and not long after, Memphis Bleek JAY-Z fame discovered and signed him.

But Casanova says that the Roc Nation signing, and JAY-Z affiliation, is a nice topper to the cake that his career, not the whole course itself. “A co-sign is nice,” he said. “A co-sign means you’re doing something right. But I’ve been in the studio with a lot people — learned a lot things — and my goal is to become a better artist. I think for me, since nobody wanted to give me the fame, I have to go out and work for it myself. Which is fine — because I’m gonna outwork everybody and get what’s mine.”

“What’s his,” for right now, is a solid EP filled with “up close and personal” bars that denote a life well-lived, and a life filled with ups and downs. Since he didn’t even get into the studio until he was in his late 20s, he came into the game with less a party vibe and more a straight-ahead, no-bullshit vibe that’s distinctly his.

Although his Fabolous-assisted single, “So Brooklyn,” has caused a bit a wave, other standout tracks include “So Drippy,” in which he gets a field goal assist from Gunna and Yung Thug, and the growling “In My Hood,” in which Casanova steps into the ring and stands alone with one-two sucker punches over the beat.

And though he came into the game when he was older than the average young stunna, Casanova credits social media platforms with giving him that edge. “I’ve been seeing nothing but good responses, thankfully,” he said. “Thankfully, social media has helped me — for some reason, I always go viral because I’m always in the right place at the right time. I go viral for a good day or two and more people listen to my music. They get to know my music through social media. And that leads me to believe that I’m gonna get my turn at the top, regardless.”


Tory Lanez Reveals New Throwback Look Ahead Of "Chixtape 5" Release

Filed by Judi PeartJudi Peart

Tory Lanez is rolling it back to the 2000s in the lead-up to his Chixtape 5 project. The Toronto-bred rapper/singer lit up social media with fresh looks from a bygone era, rocking a durag, baggy jeans and Timberlands.

Chixtape 5 will feature samples from 2000-2006. Earlier this year, Lanez teased several snippets containing flips hits such as T-Pain’s “I’m Sprung” and Fabolous’ “Trade It All.” 

Tory’s new mixtape is scheduled to drop in November, but he recently dropped the Chixlist, a playlist songs “that have inspired the Chixtape project.” The cover art includes another throwback with its picture a pink iPod Nano.

Although Tory likes to pay homage to other people’s music by putting his spin on it, his penchant for doing has caused some trouble. Last month, he was forced to defend himself after being accused biting Roddy Ricch’s “Ricch Forever” for a track titled “Watch For Your Soul.”

Tory told Ricch, “I used your beat because I loved your version and wanted to tell my own story about my dog that got killed. I didn’t use anything yours but a Beat (Millions niggas go on other beats everyday).”


"Rolex" Producer BL$$D: From Selling Beats Online To Working With Hip Hop Stars

Filed by Elsa MajewskiElsa Majewski

Atlanta, GA – Multi-platinum selling producer Tariq “BL$$D” Sharrieff has a résumé many Hip Hop producers would covet. He’s worked with Swae Lee, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Future and Young Dolph, among others.

The Florida native’s first hit single, Ayo & Teo’s “Rolex,” has amassed over 700 million views on YouTube but you’d never know it talking to BL$$D. He continues to work hard as if he hasn’t found such success. It’s this humble approach that’s helped him build relationships and secure over 40 placements within the industry.

With his accomplishments, BL$$D could solely work with some the most notable artists in the rap game. Yet he surrounds himself with young and hungry talent under his All Pop International banner, a production company he started to work directly with up-and-coming musicians.

BL$$D spoke with HipHopDX to discuss his journey from selling instrumentals on the internet to having multiple records on the Billboard charts. He explained how he was led by blind faith and a strong will to never give up on his dreams.

HipHopDX: I know you have a lot hits and placements, but I want to start from the beginning. When did you make your first beat?

BL$$D: Oh so you going from the beginning, beginning. I was 12 years old in the car with my parents listening to the radio. I think it was one the Britney Spears songs that the Neptunes produced, and I was like “Yo, dad who makes the artists sound the way they do and who puts the music behind them?” He was like, “Yo, son that’s the producer.” And from that moment I was like, “Maybe I want to be a producer.”  I was playing basketball with this one kid, and we’re the only two people on the court. We’re just chopping it up. He was like, “I’m a producer, I make beats.” I’m like, “How you’re 12!?!” He was like, “I got this program, FL Studio.”

When I got home, I ran to the computer and downloaded FL Studio. I was like, “Yo, I’ma be a producer now.” The only thing is it’s really complex. Being a 12-year-old, I had no idea how to work it or what to do, so I walked away from it and kept being a kid. Then a month later, I remember having this dream — it was so vivid. I was within the program and God was giving me a step-by-step tutorial on how to work it. I woke up the next morning like, “Yo, that was a weird-ass dream, let me try this.” I tried it and it worked. From that moment on it just clicked.

So, for about a year or two, I just started making the worst beats known to man. Although I knew how to make beats, I didn’t know how to make good beats. Eventually from being in different groups on Facebook, I connected with other producers who mentored me and took me under their wing. When I turned 16, I started selling beats online.

That’s when I fell in love with the music and really I fell in love with the euphoria from watching other people enjoy something that God blessed me with, and I was addicted ever since.

View this post on Instagram

BL$$D & Boomin'

A post shared by Tariq "BL$$D" Sharrieff (@blssd4l) on

HipHopDX: I know you were enrolled in college, and I’m sure your parents led you that way. They’re paying for your education and eventually, you dropped out. What gave you the strength and the courage to go against the people that you love and follow your passions?

BL$$D: Honestly, it’s a one-word answer: God. In my second year in college, my ex-girlfriend and I were driving back. I was on the highway, only car on the highway at 4:35 a.m. I was just cruising back, just listening to beats, and all a sudden, I just saw like the brightest light I’ve ever seen in my entire life pop up in the left-hand corner the sky. I felt what felt like a candle being burned within me. I heard this voice, “From this moment on fully pursue music, leave college, move to Atlanta full-time and I’ll guide you the rest the way.” When you hear something like that, you don’t really question it.

I came home the next day] and I talked to my parents. At first, they were so against it because they sent me to like private school my whole life. They dropped so much bread on my education. They were like, “Hell no! We’re not letting you. I don’t care if God talked to you better pay us this money back.” (Laughs)

I was like, damn, all right. Well, at least I tried. Then the next morning I remember being woken up by my mom sitting on the bed and she was like, “Son, God appeared to me in a dream last night and I gotta let you go.” After that, I moved to Atlanta with two other homies to this apartment complex in Midtown. Two or three days right after I moved in, this multi-million dollar recording studio opens up right next door. I ended up interning there for a year and a half. I met everybody who would go on to have a major role in my career. So it’s crazy, but you just gotta believe.

HipHopDX: That eventually led to your hit record “Rolex” that has 700-plus million views on YouTube, it’s crazy. Can you talk about the process from being an intern to your first hit? I’m sure it was a lot ups and downs.

BL$$D: Before “Rolex” came out, I was in one the hardest periods my life. I had to struggle and grind more than I’ve ever had to in my entire life. My whole life, I’ve always had this safety net behind me. My parents had good jobs. I was blessed to have a really fortunate upbringing. I always had everything I wanted and needed, things were good. After I decided to leave college, my parents were like, alright, we’ll let you do this and we’ll support you for a little bit.

But after that six, seven-month period, I was on my own. I’m not making money, how am I going to be able to pay rent? And literally — I swear — every single month miracles would happen. I would just have the money I needed for rent, usually either the day or right before so many situations popped up.

One day my phone got stolen. Some guy randomly gave me $600, which is what I needed for my rent that day. I was like, “How does this happen?” It really showed me that as long as you rely on your faith and work hard every day, God will always make sure you have exactly what you need. It might not be a penny more, but you’ll have just what you need to get by.

I know a lot people struggle with that. They might not have wealth in abundance, they just get bits and pieces here and there. But just know it’s almost like a bunch crumbs leading up to a big ass Thanksgiving dinner. You just gotta take it crumb by crumb until you get the feast.

HipHopDX: I’m glad you said that because on social media, people see your highlights, but they don’t see the process. You have a lot highlights but that took some grind. It also took time.  I know you have over 40 placements. Can you talk about some the other artists that you’ve worked with?

BL$$D: Yeah, so recently I’ve been doing a lot great work with Young Nudy. That’s my brother. My boy Swae Lee, we’ve known each other for a long time, so we got a bunch great records. Hopefully, you’ll be able to hear them soon. 24kGoldn, my big sister Priscilla Renea. This artist that goes by Money, watch out for her ’cause it’s going to hit you from left field.

HipHopDX: That’s great. I saw your photo with Pharrell. How was it meeting him?

BL$$D: Pharrell is my idol. I just felt like this connection to him. As a kid in high school when I was producing, a lot people are like, their goal is to win a Grammy. Their goal is to get plaques, blah, blah, blah. My only goal was to meet Pharrell. That’s all I wanted. We ended up meeting at this Interscope party. I remember it was right after “Rolex” came out.

I was introduced to him and I just talked to him. It was a short conversation, but I felt the energy. And more than that, I felt my lifelong dream being accomplished. If I could manifest that from being a 13-year-old kid then anything is possible.

HipHopDX: Absolutely. With all the success that you’ve had, have you had a moment to digest it and take everything in?

BL$$D: Honestly, it’s really just … it’s surreal, it’s unreal. But one thing I do and I’m very stringent on this, every day I set aside seven or eight minutes to meditate, no matter what’s going on. I might be in a session, boom, dip f to the bathroom. Just really just reflect on everything that I’ve been blessed with, get into the right headspace and ask God to bless me with more incredible, awesome memories and beautiful moments.

If you don’t meditate or if you haven’t tried meditation, definitely read into it. Check out the app Headspace. Google it and center yourself. Because if you’re not centered and you’re not grounded, then how can you elevate?

HipHopDX: That’s facts. It’s something I learned later. There are so many things that come to you when you meditate. So who haven’t you worked with that you want to work with?

BL$$D: Hmm, that’s a tough question ’cause I really been blessed to work with some incredible names, a lot my favorite artists. But I gotta say I really want to work with Beyoncé. I feel like we can do something very special together and make something for the world that that is going to be cherished forever.

HipHopDX: What about some those favorite artists that you did work with? Who are some them?

BL$$D: Future. I remember being in high school my senior year. I’d be driving my little sister to school and like we would just listen to Pluto nonstop. When he hopped on “Relationship,” my mind was blown.

Young Thug is another one. I remember the first time I heard Thug, it was on the Streets On Lock mixtape that Migos and Rich The Kid dropped. He had a song on there with MPA Duke. When I heard his voice I was like, “I don’t know who this guy is but I know he’s going to be special.” I remember I was talking with my friends at the time, I was like, “Yo, this guy’s got to be the next Lil’ Wayne.” And then, you know.

HipHopDX: He took f. What’s the worst thing about working in the studio?

BL$$D: It’s like a time chamber. You come here like 2 or 3 p.m., it’s bright outside, birds chirping, sun shining, all that. You get so caught up and then go outside for Postmates or something, it might be completely dark outside. You’re just like thrown f, or it might be like bright again ’cause it’s the next day. They say time flies when you’re having fun. So, I mean, I’ve lost track a lot things just being locked in the vibe. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

HipHopDX: Yeah, it’s like a casino really.

BL$$D: Yeah, for real. This is literally the casino because every time you’re going in your energy is like your money. So, you’re building energy every time and it’s like you’re playing roulette, you know what I mean? And sometimes you win, it’s a jackpot. It’s a huge hit record. Sometimes, you lose it and it doesn’t do anything or it never comes out. But it’s all about the fun you have playing.

HipHopDX: Yeah, that’s a good comparison. Speaking that, what record have you done that took f and you had no idea it was going to be that big?

BL$$D: I gotta say “Rolex.” When I sent them that beat, I knew I really liked it, but I had no idea that it would be so platinum and literally create so much joy throughout the world. But that’s the beauty it. It’s usually the songs that you don’t even like that much or don’t believe in as much that end up being your biggest records. People have always told me that but experiencing it has been unreal.

HipHopDX: What artist do you have the most chemistry with? Almost to where you don’t have to say anything y’all connect sonically in the studio.

BL$$D: Honestly, that’s a tough one. ‘Cause I feel like I have a great chemistry with a whole lot artists I work with. Over the past week, I’ve been locked with my boy 2Feet Bino. It’s almost like we have like a telekinetic connection. We just clicked, the ideas just flow and we really don’t even have to speak. He’ll just be like, “Yo, give me something like this,” and within 10, 15 minutes, we got it.

I can’t even put his music into words. It’s like the perfect combination joy, pain, litness and emotion. We’re working on a project called 2 BL$$D right now. I just know when the world hears it, it’s really going to touch people in a way they haven’t been touched by music ever before.

HipHopDX: So on the flip side that, you met Pharrell — one your influences — and it was what you imagined. But sometimes they say don’t meet your heroes because they turn out to be not what you thought. So, is there anybody you met you weren’t impressed by or just didn’t vibe with?

BL$$D: I got to say I feel very fortunate to be named BL$$D because I’m blessed to have not been in any those circumstances. Everybody I’m around, I have a true genuine respect for it and that respect is always reciprocated.

HipHopDX: I see you started your own production company, can you talk about that?

BL$$D: Me and my big brother Aaron Reid, we got A-Pop and we’re always looking for talent. We’re looking for songwriters, we’re looking for producers, talented artists. If you want to become a part something bigger than yourself, if you want to build the next biggest wave to infiltrate the music industry and if you want to make music that lasts forever, follow @AllPopInt on Instagram, meditate every day. Stay blessed and keep prospering.

HipHopDX: What’s the best business advice you can give to up-and-coming producers?

BL$$D: Don’t sign any contracts or any paperwork without having anybody look over it. That’s a death wish. Do not do that. Make sure your brand is protected and you’re building your brand properly. Know your worth. There’s a lot people selling beats for very cheap on the internet. I feel like we’re in a culture where quality is less than quantity right now ’cause everybody wants to just make hundreds beats and sell them for $25 or $50.

Stand your ground on your value. You always get what you deserve. It might be harder and it might take longer to get there, but when you get there, people will know what it is. Be firm in your beliefs and just don’t stop believing. Watch the tutorials every day. Make sure you’re always making at least one beat every day. Even if you’re not necessarily feeling tired, push through it. That can be the song that changes your life.


Travis Scott Reportedly Considering Knee Surgery Following Rolling Loud Injury

Filed by Jenette DanieleJenette Daniele

Los Angeles, CA – Travis Scott is reportedly considering going under the knife for a bum knee. According to TMZ, the Astroworld phenom injured himself during his headlining set at Rolling Loud New York over the weekend.

Although he powered through the rest his performance, sources close to Scott say he went to see orthopedic specialist Dr. Neal Elattrache at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute once he returned to Los Angeles.

Scott was then diagnosed with a dislocated knee, more specifically, a stretch or tear in the patellar tendon. Sources said it’s possible the knee can heal on its own, so doctors want to wait a “day or two” before confirming the surgery is necessary.

The basketball enthusiast, however, reportedly prefers to get the surgery in an effort to speed up the healing process.

Watch Scott’s Rolling Loud performance above. The injury apparently occurs as he’s jumping up and down on the stage.


Interview: Brittany B. Says Expect Music From Blac Chyna "Very Soon"

Filed by Alvera CastaldoAlvera Castaldo

Los Angeles, CA – Between being a multi-hyphenate creative and starring on this season Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, Brittany B. obviously has a lot on her plate.

From songwriting for the likes Terrace Martin, Bhad Bhabie, Ledisi, Tyla Yaweh, working as an A&R for Warner Music and pushing herself as a solo artist, the Compton native seems different from the fame chasing members the series appears to pump out.

However, don’t be fooled — she brings plenty drama herself as well. 

“Just last year, I was writing and working with Bhad Bhabie and now I’m at a record label working alongside being on TV,” Brittany told HipHopDX over the phone. “Who knows what the future is going to bring?” 

Evidently, the future includes releasing more her own music and eventually watching the world react to the newest artist she’s developing, Blac Chyna

Elsewhere in the DX interview, Brittany explains the reason for trying reality television, what artist development means in 2019, her latest single “Reputation,” working with Blac Chyna and more.

HipHopDX: For someone your esteem who has worked with a ton notable artists on the songwriting side, is an executive at a major label and has momentum within her own solo career, what was your reason for joining Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood?  

Brittany B: I really think that Love & Hip Hop is a good platform for African-American people. I say that because we don’t have that many shows for music and entertainment. The story who I am as someone who has all these accolades and reputation, you need to know who I am. So, name another platform with that many viewers who would introduce someone like me? There’s a lack that. There’s a lack platforms like that introducing individuals who represent young, black Hollywood. I understand that Love & Hip Hop has its own reputation being a drama-filled soap opera but, overall, I don’t think it hurts the brand. I think it helps the brand.     

HipHopDX: Is it awkward going into the Warner Music fice now or do people there ask you about episodes you’ve been in? 

Brittany: Yes, I do get people asking me what’s going on and have a lot questions about the show. I don’t think it’s that different though honestly. It’s mostly the usual questions is it real or fake.  

HipHopDX: A lot people caught on to you through your work with Bhad Bhabie and now you’re working with Blac Chyna. From your perspective, can you describe artist development in 2019? 

Brittany: I feel like there’s a lack artist development these days. Because we took the time to develop Bhad Bhabie as an artist, that’s why she was successful. You can’t skip the process from A to Z. You have to do A, B, C, D, etc… You have to do the middle work and the groundwork. Someone like Chyna who is a part pop culture, black culture and Hip Hop culture to a degree, she was perfect to come on Love & Hip Hop with me. It’s just to tell my story but introduce this new chapter for her new life doing music. With the artist development that we’re doing, I really believe that her music is going to authentic to herself, true and it’s going to be good. That’s the part artist development that people miss is making sure that the music is authentic and not just for the trend.

I’m not working with her just because her name, but I’m working with her because she has a story. That’s what good music is supposed to be — your story on record. It’s whoever you are sonically. With Bhad Bhabie, that’s what worked with her because we actually took the time to know her story feels like, sounds like, what is she saying and how does that come together musically. I think it’s time. I think it’s determining what that brand is. For Chyna, it’s the same thing. It’s interesting with artists these days. Some necessarily don’t have a brand or story but, cool songs. That’s not good development. That’s not even being an artist really.  

HipHopDX: So when should we expect music from your collaboration with Chyna? 

Brittany: Oh, I can’t say that yet. Just know that we have a number records ready. You might be seeing something very soon.

HipHopDX: In regards to your solo work as an artist, how much has or do you expect Love & Hip Hop to help that aspect your career?

Brittany: I feel like Love & Hip Hop as I grow with the show, my brand will as well. It goes hand in hand. I feel like more than ever, people know more about me and the many layers me. Me being an artist, me being an A&R, me being a songwriter and ultimately being a young black entrepreneur in Hollywood. So it gives you a boost in that area which is the purpose.

I want little girls to see me and say they can do that. I want them to feel like they can be a Syl Rhone or Ethiopia Habtemariam, that I can be Cardi B the next day and that I could also be Ester Dean the next day, I can wear multiple hats. I don’t look like the average A&R. I don’t act like the average A&R and I do my job well. I want that aspect to be shown. I’m grateful for Love & Hip Hop in giving me the opportunity to show that and promote that.  

HipHopDX: You also just released your new “Reputation” single. Can you discuss that for a moment and your upcoming project?

Brittany: My number one strategy is just to release good music and quality content that is true to me. Something that 10 years from now, I can listen to again. I think it’s important for me to continue to drop music because as a creative, it’s my resume. It’s how I continue to show people my gift and my talent aside from placements and working with other artists. As my platform grows bigger and bigger I want to make sure that I do that. In regards to the project, expect some big features and some singing, rapping and some soul. I’ll be dropping in first-quarter sometime next year.        

HipHopDX: As an A&R, you essentially serve as the middle person between the label and the artist. What does your average day look like?  

Brittany: My days vary. I could be waking up on flying on a plane with an artist. I could wake up and be on tour with an artist. I could be waking up going to a conference or meeting with an artist. I could be at video shoots. Most the time for me, I’m getting up and going to the fice so I can listen to beats or submissions sent to me. I’m scheduling recording or writing sessions.

I’m also reading sessions, working with songwriters and meeting with artist managers who have artists, producers, and songwriters. That’s typically my day-to-day. The coolest part my job is that I can literally do it anywhere. Those meetings might not take place at an fice. It might take place at a pool or restaurant. You can listen to music anywhere. You can connect with people anywhere. That’s typically what my day is like. Or, I might be with Blac Chyna at the studio.    

 

View this post on Instagram

 

YALL KNOW I KEEP IT REAL! ? Am I being too hard on them, or am I right to be apprehensive about the tour? #LHHH

A post shared by BOSS BRITT ? (@brittanybmusic) on

HipHopDX: For someone who has worked with everyone from Terrence Martin and Ledisi to Bhad Bhabie and Freddie Gibbs, how do you keep yourself so creatively versatile? 

Brittany: I just did a record with DJ Mustard. I did a record that’s coming out with Summer Walker and Kash Doll. It’s definitely diverse. I do that by being flexible with the state music. Just understanding it and always being ready to listen and learn. I listen to a lot music. I may play Dreamville on one track and on the other is Rico Nasty or Daniel Caesar.

To me, there is no such thing as genres. It’s just good or bad music. That’s what I’m listening for. I just listen to everything and absorb it. That’s how you’re able to put your spin on things.        


Ice Cube Lashes Out At Cop Who Killed Atatiana Jefferson

Filed by amkr03eydamkr03eyd

Ice Cube is speaking out against the white Fort Worth, Texas police ficer responsible for shooting and killing an unarmed black woman, Atatiana Jefferson, through a window in her home.

In a series tweets, the N.W.A legend called Officer Aaron Dean an “animal” and demanded murder charges.

“We need Murder charges and prison time for this animal,” he wrote on Monday (October 14).

Once those charges were filed against Dean later that day, Cube then insisted a conviction was in order.

“Now we need a conviction with no hugs from the judge,” he tweeted on Monday (October 14).

According to CNN, Dean was arrested around 6 p.m. CDT on Monday (October 14) and posted bail roughly three hours later. He was being held on a $200,000 bond.

Attorney for Jefferson’s family, Lee Merritt, tweeted,”The family Atatiana Jefferson is relieved that Aaron Dean has been arrested & charged with murder. We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & appropriate sentencing. The City Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture policing.”

Jefferson’s brother Adarius Carr told CNN, “He did get what I wanted him to get, and this is only the start. There’s no way this is enough. We know this is a good step in the direction where we want to go, but it’s definitely not the end.”

Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said Dean was served a written administrative complaint on Sunday (October 13), placed on detached duty and stripped his badge and firearm. He resigned the following day.

“My intent was to meet with him today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department,” Kraus said. “However, the ficer tendered his resignation this morning before we met.”

Kraus also explained had Dean not resigned, he would have been fired for several policy violations, including the department’s use force and de-escalation policies, and unpressional conduct.

Jefferson was killed on Saturday (October 12) while babysitting her 8-year-old nephew. Dean arrived at her home after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report her home’s front door had been left open.


Rolling Loud Hong Kong Canceled For Safety Concerns

Filed by Ryan FerroRyan Ferro

Hong Kong – Rolling Loud won’t be making its Hong Kong debut in 2019. Festival organizers have announced the cancellation their upcoming events in West Kowloon due to safety concerns.

The festival series was scheduled to host shows with Migos and Wiz Khalifa as headliners on October 19 and 20. But anti-government protests in Hong Kong have altered Rolling Loud’s plans, forcing organizers to change course.

“We are saddened to announce that Rolling Loud Hong Kong, which was scheduled to occur on October 19th and 20th at Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District, is being cancelled,” the festival announced Facebook. “After consulting with security experts, it has been determined that it is not possible to organize the upcoming Rolling Loud Hong Kong edition as we had hoped without endangering the safety and well-being our fans, artist and staff.”

Rolling Loud added, “While we regret having to cancel the festival, this is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we look forward to bringing the Rolling Loud festival experience to Hong Kong in the future to celebrate the city’s rich culture and buzzing Hip Hop scene.”

Protests in Hong Kong were sparked by a since-withdrawn extradition bill, which raised concerns about fugitives facing unfair trials in China.

Hong Kong operates with more freedoms than mainland China since it was a British colony up until 1997. But the Communist Party China has increasingly sought more control over Hong Kong, which has led to the current conflict with protestors seeking a full democracy.

Read Rolling Loud’s full statement about the cancellation below.

Rolling Loud Hong Kong Canceled For Safety Concerns


Joe Budden Laments Over "Extra Eminem Bullshit" That Contributed To Slaughterhouse's Demise

Filed by Malissa FranzMalissa Franz

Fans Slaughterhouse have been clamoring for a reunion since KXNG Crooked announced his departure last year. But Joe Budden, one the group’s core members, has consistently maintained that will never happen.

During the October 12 episode Budden’s YouTube series Pull Up, he and Freddie Gibbs were chopping it up about career longevity. The ever-outspoken host not only reiterated a reunion wasn’t in the cards, he also revealed he’d once suggested his fellow Slaughterhouse members Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5’9 and Crooked replace him.

“That’s why I ain’t doing it,” Budden said. “I can’t speak for why they’re not doing it. When I suggested that they find probably another rapper to take my place and still put out music, they didn’t think that was the greatest idea, and that was years ago. That might’ve changed.”

Budden then outlined his initial issues with the group.

“But my fight, with that even, without the extra Eminem bullshit is just ownership,” he explained. “I cannot devote this much my time to a project, eat a fourth from the project, and then it have to go up the chain command?

“I gotta make sure all these niggas are making sure our project do what it gotta do and then we gettin’ the scraps from the bottom? That was my fight. We an independent outfit.”

Slaughtherhouse formed in 2008 and released two studio albums, culminating with 2012’s Welcome To: Our House. 

Check out the full episode above.


Queen Latifah To Receive Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Medal

Filed by Ryan FerroRyan Ferro

Cambridge, Masschussetts – Queen Latifah is mere days away from receiving a mark achievement in honor her contributions to, “black history and culture.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Grammy Award-winning star is due to be awarded the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal by Harvard University on Tuesday (October 22).

Six additional recipients include BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, artist Kerry James Marshall, among others.

Latifah is also attached to the new Black Thought and Shawn Gee produced AMC Hip Hop TV series Songs That Shook chronicling a number polarizing records including Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks.”


Interview: Conway The Machine Talks Griselda Records' Origins & Learning From Eminem

Filed by Malissa FranzMalissa Franz

Conway The Machine has established himself as one this era’s elite lyricists. With the help his brother Westside Gunn, the Buffalo native has helped his city emerge from the shadow New York to claim a spot on the Hip Hop map.

But Conway’s journey has only just begun. After making a name for himself as part Westside’s Griselda Records, the two signed a deal with Eminem’s Shady Records in 2017. Two years later, the Griselda crew is preparing to drop their Shady debut in November with solo albums from Westside and Conway expected to follow.

In September, The Machine decided he wasn’t gonna wait around for his major label debut though. Instead, he dropped a new project titled Look What I Became... as a prelude, giving fans nine tracks to enjoy while they wait.

Following the project’s release, HipHopDX caught up with Conway to discuss his career and his latest work. The hard-working MC opened up about Griselda’s success, his relationship with Eminem, competing with labelmate Benny The Butcher and much more in the first half a two-part interview.

HipHopDX: The Hip Hop world outside Buffalo started taking notice you with 2015’s Reject 2. I remember catching up with your work about the time the Don’t Get Scared Now EP dropped in 2016. I’m curious — what was your career like prior to that breakthrough? Can you paint a picture what it was like coming up in the Buffalo scene?

Conway: Just a bunch battle rapping and local shows and stuff like that. I would go on the road and do like little showcases and shit like that in different cities like in Atlanta, New York City or wherever I had to go. But it was mostly just battle rapping and local showcases. It was pretty cut and dry that I was probably one the best to come out the city at an early age.

HipHopDX: Westside has ten spoken about how you’re the better rapper and always holds you in such high regard. When did his vision for Griselda first surface?

Conway: Griselda Records came when we did the Hall & Nash mixtape with me and Westside Gunn. That was actually the first project under Griselda Records. So, it was like a spinf the clothing line he created. That was the birth Griselda Records, that tape right there.

HipHopDX: When it comes to the label’s origins, from your perspective, could you see that Westside’s vision was something that would get as big as it’s become now? Or has it caught you by surprise just how big it’s gotten?

Conway: No, I’m not surprised. We always knew what it was, what we had. We knew the potential that we had. With Daringer production, with me and Benny doing the heavy lifting with the lyrics and all that, and my brother just holding it down behind the scenes with the business side things and also doing the heavy lifting too with his projects. The shit he coming with — the style and just curating fly shit for the culture. I knew what we was gonna bring early. That’s why I was so eager to be a part. And not just to be a part but just to do what I can to speed it up a little. Because I know it’s going to come tenfold.

HipHopDX: Griselda has made huge strides independently, but the big news came when y’all inked the deal with Shady Records. How did the deal come together? Did you initially connect with Eminem, Paul Rosenberg or someone else in the Shady camp?

Conway: We connected with Paul. We was looking for management at the time. So, we was really just trying to figure out what works on the management side things with Paul’s management company. He pulled Eminem’s coat to our shit. Eminem heard our music and heard “The Cow” — that record and other stuff I did — and he just was like, “I want to do something bigger and better for those guys.” So, that’s how we ended up doing the deal that we did with Shady Records and Interscope.

HipHopDX: You obviously got to work with Eminem on the single “Bang.” How much a relationship have you developed with Em? Have you had any deep discussions with him or learned any lessons?

Conway: Absolutely. We had some talks. We kicked it a few times. I went up there to Detroit and holla’d at him. I seen him kicking it backstage at some shows and shit. I always try to get a little lesson or jewel or gem, a tip, some advice, some encouragement.

I’m like a sponge, so I kind already do that with everybody. But I definitely I wanted to do that with him because it’s Eminem. He’s one the biggest artists ever — biggest-selling artist ever and one the most dope lyricists ever. So, I’m really big on lyricism. I know he’s big on lyricism. With him and the same thing with Royce Da 5’9, I want to learn as much as I can from them boys. It’s conversations and talks. And mostly, it’s just what can I do to get better? How can I get better at this craft? And I just watch and learn from them two in particular. I fuck with them niggas.

HipHopDX: You mentioned how the Shady deal came from y’all initially looking into management. I know Westside and Benny just linked up with Roc Nation, so I was wondering what is your situation as far as management?

Conway: The same situation.

HipHopDX: Gotcha.

Conway: We all moving as one unit. I was in the same situation, I just wasn’t there that day when it was announced].

HipHopDX: Makes sense. This new project you just put out, Look What I Became, is executive produced by Westside. What’s the dynamic like between y’all in the studio? What does your brother bring out you that maybe somebody else can’t?

Conway: I guess the comfort. I’m just more comfortable knowing that once the music leaves my hands … it’s hard to explain. It’s like you know you got LeBron on your team or something like that. If I need a basket, I can just pass this shit to KD. It’s that comfort knowing I’m in good hands. Once I send these songs to bro, I know what’s going to happen and how fly my shit going to be. That’s what I get. He makes it easier. I feel more relaxed and more free.

HipHopDX: On this latest project, your lyrical prowess is unmistakable. You spoke about learning lessons from Eminem and Royce. I’m wondering who are some the MCs that inspire you as a writer and make you want to compete at that elite level?

Conway: Definitely guys like Em, Royce, JAY-Z, Sean Price, Elzhi, Black Thought, Andre] 3000, Scarface, Ice Cube, Prodigy, Kool G Rap], niggas like that. Westside Gunn. Just guys like that.

HipHopDX: On “Tito’s Back,” it was fun hearing you and Benny going back and forth. Do you feel like there’s a competition between y’all that brings the best out you in the booth?

Conway: I think so. I hope it do for Benny too. Actually, I know it do for Benny because steel sharpens steel. I love being in there with him ’cause I know he’s about to come up with some shit that’s next level and if you ain’t coming with your A-game, then it’s a problem]. Not only that, we the type guys who don’t hesitate telling each other, “You coulda said that a little better, you coulda come a little harder, you should change that, say this, shit like that.”

I know for a fact that when Benny on the track with me, even with Westside, I know I got to come with my A-game ’cause I know they coming out swinging. It’s definitely competitive shit for me ’cause I don’t want to have the wack verse. Laughs] That’s how we grow with it when we go in there like that when we doing shit together. We push each other. So, it’s not necessarily just competitive like we trying to outdo each other, but we are writing like we’re trying to outdo each other and that just brings the best out us.

HipHopDX: I think the way you describe it, that unity in the studio with the Griselda crew, definitely reminds me Wu-Tang Clan. It’s like how they went at it in those early days trying to have the best verse on a song and brought the best out each other.

Conway: Exactly. It’s like that. We just push each other. We don’t hold no punches. We just try to bring our best. Daringer come with his best production. He won’t even play nothing that he feel isn’t up to par. We not even going to spit nothing that we don’t feel is up to par. We in a room full generals who know they set and who been doing this long enough and who are good at it — great at it. We respect each other’s opinions.

So, if I’m spitting some shit and Benny be like, “Nah, you can come a little harder,” I’m definitely going to take that and be like, “Absolutely.” Ball my shit up and throw it out. Same with me with him or West. “Nah we should leave that joint f there and use this.” That’s how it was with this Look What I Became album. I had more songs, but we sat down and trimmed the fat on the project like, “Nah, we should leave these shits f and do these joints.” We work like that.

HipHopDX: I spoke with Benny last year and he was telling me about how the city Buffalo influenced y’all’s sound so much. I wanted to get your perspective on that too. How has Buffalo influenced your music and your sound?

Conway: For me, it’s just being a product my environment and just the circumstances and shit. I overcame the life I lived. This shit is inspirational — being in and out jail, getting shot, just being in all types different missions and going through shit in life, selling drugs, dropping out school. My music is about my life.

This is my life, these are my stories. It comes from the soil from here. That’s where it come from. That’s how it inspires me. I’m in Buffalo right now. I record here, I do everything here. Just being in the city and just seeing the city, riding through the hood, being in the hood and shit. I might see somebody and they story might resonate with me and I done made a song about something they going through, shit like that. It’s big in my music.

HipHopDX: You mentioned getting shot and on the interlude “Bell’s Palsy,” you touch on it. You’ve spoken about the physical effects before, but how did it affect you mentally at the time? What was it like going through that?

Conway: You can imagine, man, it was dark days. It was a lot people didn’t think … they thought it was going to take a turn for the worst. Girls I was fucking with at the time stopped fucking with me. Niggas that was supposed to be homies fell back and stopped coming through. It didn’t look like I was going to be anything but in a fucking wheelchair or something like that.

Of course, it weighs on you mentally. And then just seeing my face like this from the Bell’s palsy, that shit just have you not wanting to leave the house. I didn’t want to leave my room. Just going through that — I didn’t like to look at myself. I was insecure. I didn’t like when people looked at me. I thought they was just thinking shit and saying shit and laughing. It did a lot to my mind. Ask anybody that go through that, hell yeah, that shit do a lot to you mentally, man. It almost coulda took a turn for the worst ’cause I was mentally trippin’.

I’m just thankful for people that was in my corner that kept me on track with the right mindstate and helped me get my confidence and my self-esteem back. ‘Cause I gave up, just like anybody would. Shit, I thought it was over. Everybody else gave up on me, shit, maybe they right.

Check back soon for Part 2 DX’s interview with Conway The Machine.


Tyga Signs Multi-Million Dollar Deal With Columbia Records

Filed by Bunny RobertiBunny Roberti

New York, NY – Tyga has found a new home for his music.

According to a press release, the Grammy Award-nominated rapper has secured a multi-million dollar deal with Columbia Records and ficially joined the label’s extensive roster. He’s expected to release fresh material in the very near future.

In a recent interview with Variety, Tyga explained his intentions with the longstanding imprint.

“They definitely understand the global brand,” he explained. “I have a lot fans worldwide — in places I’ve never been like South America, and in places I have been like Asia and Europe. They can help bring that to a larger scale. Doing it independently, you don’t really have those teams to help worldwide.

“Sony, if you look at the history from what they’ve done from Pharrell to Beyoncé to Adele — then you look at Lil Nas X, one their new artists that’s blown up this year — they’ve done a lot for artists globally, for their brand.”

Tyga Signs Multi-Million Dollar Deal With Columbia Records

Tyga’s career reached epic heights after releasing his major label debut, Careless World: Rise the Last King, in 2011. The 21-track album contained the quadruple-platinum single “Rack City” and triple-platinum “Faded” featuring Lil Wayne, among others.

Last year, he unleashed his most successful single to date, “Taste” featuring Migos rapper Offset. It not only went six-times platinum, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it also generated over 1 billion cumulative streams.

The 29-year-old’s most recent album, Legendary, dropped in June.


The Notorious B.I.G. Nominated For Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Filed by Joe NoletteJoe Nolette

Cleveland, OH – The Rock & Roll Hall Fame has announced its nominees for the class 2020. As reported by NPR, The Notorious B.I.G. and Whitney Houston are among the 16 artists selected for the honor.

Other nominees include Dave Matthews Band, Pat Benatar, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Judas Priest, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy.

Noticeably absent from the list is LL Cool J who has been nominated for a spot in the Rock Hall five times but never inducted.

To be eligible, artists or bands must have released their first commercial recording at least 25 years ago. Biggie dropped his first album Ready To Die in 1994. This marks the first year the late Hip Hop icon is able to receive a nomination.

The 2020 inductees will be announced in January 2020. The induction ceremony is expected to take place at the Rock & Roll Hall Fame in Cleveland on May 2, 2020.