Tag Archives: Hip Hop Wired Exclusive

CERTIFIED FRESH: Australian-American Rap Duo GUMBO Music Talk Debut EP, Expat Life & BLM

GUMBO Music Nate & Kevin

Source: Kai Godeck / GUMBO

Nate Wade and Kev Hannibal of the Hip-Hop duo GUMBO Music were raised in North Carolina and New York City, respectively, but didn’t even end up meeting until they were both on the other side of the world. Now based in Australia, the two men have forged a friendship rooted in fatherhood, expatriate experiences and Hip-Hop.

This ‘rap duo’ idea just happened to work out just as COVID-19 peaked worldwide and global shutdowns were already underway.

“With most ex-pats, you just sort of gravitate towards those you assimilate with,” Nate shares. “So it becomes a group of African Americans, a very small group, there aren’t a lot of us, but we’ve known each other for so long, just being homies. The music thing didn’t start for us until six months ago.”  

Before they started working together, both Nate and Kev were doing their own writing, solo. But their debut EP, This Is GUMBO, fits like a glove, it’s a cohesive project that showcases Nate and Kev trading slick one-liners and sharp concepts on everything from the title track to songs like the blithe “You and Me,” a meticulous love story complete with a surprise ending. “It’s crazy how the music really just came together so easy. It was so organic,” Kev explains. “It was too smooth, too good to be true, to be honest. It was just, ‘I’ll see you on Tuesday so we can record.’ And we were writing up as we were together. There were barely any times that we wrote outside of being in the studio together.”

When the whole world was in the thick of the COVID pandemic, two American expats living in Australia, decided to join forces and call themselves GUMBO without even realizing that musically, they would end up being each other’s perfect ingredient.

GUMBO Music Nate & Kevin

Source: Kai Godeck / GUMBO


Hip Hop Wired: What’s life like out there? How is it raising kids in Australia? 


Nate: Life out here is… They like hanging out, taking days off and going to the beach. Their work ethic is very different, they lead a life of leisure as some would say.


Kev: Raising kids here, we just try and give them balance. I started taking my daughter home twice a year before COVID so she’s getting to understand and see, “Okay. This is my family here. This is American culture.” She’s still young so you know, you have to spoon feed them our culture, who we are, what we’re about and where we come from. She’s always like, “Daddy, I wanna go back to Grandma Sherry’s house.” She knows there’s a big difference between the two. She’s like, “There are so many buildings! So many lights in New York!”

And here there are just beaches and trees…


HHW: What’s it like creating an EP in the middle of a pandemic so far from home?

Nate: It’s kinda like a gift and a curse almost, because when acts were able to come here prior to COVID, you could access people a lot easier than we probably could back home because it’s a numbers game, all of Australia is Florida, population-wise, [but geographically] It’s as big as the States. It’s just that there’s nobody here and you can’t live in the middle, there’s no water. So everyone lives on the coastline. There’s only five million people in all of Australia, so imagine trying to subclass them into music, then trying to subclass those people into Hip-Hop, them numbers change. Drastically.


HHW: There’s some semblance of a Black Lives Matter movement going on down there, correct? 

Nate: I think what they had going on in Australia at the same time, which didn’t get a lot of media attention, was that the Aboriginal people had been having a lot of deaths in custody, so they’ve been fighting their own fight where they kinda moved in unison together. 

Kev: They kinda piggybacked off the movement because they consider themselves the original Black man as well.

Nate: The white people there, they stole the land of the Aboriginals and put their flag on it. The same thing that happened here, happened in the West Indies, happened in the States… The British moved around the world doing the same thing.

I believe in the 1970s they still had the White Australian Policy.

Kev: It was only 50 years ago, when the Aboriginal people were considered human beings.


HHW: What’s it like to be a Black man in Australia right now?

Nate: I feel like in the States we dealt with racism more directly because we’re grassroots Americans. Like, our grandparents went through what they went through so we’re only one or two generations removed from that. When most expats move to wherever they move to around the world, you see how powerful Black culture is around the world. Our friends back home? They don’t understand that until they leave. Black culture is the most duplicated thing you’ll ever see. Even here. There are white kids that would die to be a part of that culture. You realize how much of an impact it actually has, from music to fashion to everything. You realize the impact that it has on the rest of the world. And it’s huge.


HHW: It’s always interesting because no one has to be convinced that Black culture matters, but Black lives? It’s a whole issue.

Nate: It’s people’s interpretation of what Black Lives Matter means. We know where it stems from as in the core of police brutality and things like that, but it starts with us too and how we treat each other and how we… Some of these are vicious cycles that we’re not going to fix in a conversation or some years, it’s just what we have to constantly work on.  


HHW: You talked about the group of African-American expats out there, how did you guys manage to strengthen your friendship beyond being from the same place?

Kev: It was more about us keeping our children together to see other beautiful little Black girls, because it’s so whitewashed here. So our main purpose was to keep our daughters together and continue building a family inside of this country and it was like, “Well, we both do music.” Then COVID hit and we were like, “Let’s just do music.”


HHW: And the music is legit. You two sound as if you’ve been working together for years.

Nate: I think what helped us is that we both grew up loving the same things. Loving the Lox and Mobb Deep, loving Little Brother and all the other Hip-Hop we fell in love with. So we figured we’d try and make that from a genuine place. We’re not doing it for the ‘likes.’ We don’t need the money, we have normal jobs. We just like doing that shit, that made it easy, It’s like a heavenly flow.


HHW: What are your favorite songs from the project?

Nate: I actually like “This is GUMBO” because it’s not a traditional song, it’s really just rapping for three minutes. Usually it’s like: Hook, Chorus, Hook, Chorus. Then “See ya later.” I just like the concept where it just flows.

Kev: For me, I think “Serious” is my favorite because my music has been changing over the last few years. People are always telling me, “Just rap. Rap like where you from…” But I’m into the storytelling thing because I wanna take it into other avenues, you know what I mean? So we just decided to rap so people know we have songs for the girls, songs with a little aggression from not being able to go home, missing family and things like that. Sometimes I wish I was back in my grandmother’s basement in Queens so I could get into that grimy energy: gunshots, people screaming outside, the cabs, etc. Doing those types of songs have me feeling like I went back home in my mind for a second.  


HHW: The world seems to be watching the U.S. government and the man in the White House right now and although you two aren’t here, your families are. What are your thoughts on the space America’s in right now?

Nate: Everybody works for Fox News all of a sudden and everybody has a damn degree in Political Science. Man, I don’t know. What’s scary is that he still got 74 million votes. So I look at it like, Democrats have four years to get it together. If they fuck up in these next four years, you better believe he’s coming back with a vengeance. So I hope they do right. Because they’re glitter acting like gold too.

Kev: I just feel like, no matter who’s in office… At this point, so much has happened to us as a people, like, what else can happen? Even during the Obama administration, we had our Black man in there but more people were killed by the police. More has happened to us under their administration than anything else. So I just feel like it’s more about us, and what we’re gonna do for each other and with each other. Putting our money together, trying to stand together… All the president is, is a puppet anyway for the most part. They don’t really control anything. So again, I feel like they’re done so much already, what more can they do to us? Except for what they’re doing now, making us get vaccines, which, who knows what they’re putting in there… They took our banks, Black Wall Street, from chained slavery to the school to prison pipeline now. I just feel like it’s on us now.

Source: HipHopWired.com

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ Producer Yoshinori Kitase Details How The Game Came Together & More

Yoshinori Kitase Details How 'Final Fantasy Remake' Came Together & More

in Source: Square Enix / Final Fantasy VII Remake

When it comes to video games, some come and go, while others leave a mark in the industry and cementing its place in the hearts of gamers around the world. Final Fantasy VII is one of those games, so it was a no-brainer Hip-Hop Wired.com jumped at the opportunity to interview the Final Fantasy VII Remake’s producer Yoshinori Kitase.

It’s been almost 5 years since Square Enix shocked the world and gave us our first glimpse of Final Fantasy VII Remake inducing tears of joy out of fans of the game (including myself). Now we are literally just days away from the game’s release. In our conversation with Kitase, we got the opportunity to ask him about how the idea of a remake came together, why did they decide to make break the game up into multiple parts, if we have to worry about the coronavirus delaying part 2 and more.

Hip-Hop Wired: So when did the great idea of doing a remake of Final Fantasy VII come together?

Yoshinori Kitase: I had been loosely thinking about the idea ever since we were mid-way through the production of the “Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series (from 2005 and on). It became more concrete in my mind afterward, when the Final Fantasy series celebrated its 25th-anniversary milestone in 2012, where we were thinking of how we could take the franchise even further. (Ultimately though, the actual project didn’t even kick off until a few years onward).

HHW: Final Fantasy VII is regarded as one of the greatest games/RPG’s ever made. It also has one of the most loyal fanbases as well, were you worried about remaking a classic? Do you think fans will be pleased with the game?

Kitase: I was slightly worried, but I also believed that if we made sure to take great care of the scenes and gameplay elements that remain strongly in the memories of our fans, then we could meet their expectations. There were many members of the development staff who played and were fans of the original Final Fantasy VII, and they challenged themselves to create something new while paying respect toward it. I’m sure fans will be satisfied.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Source: Square Enix / Final Fantasy VII Remake

HHW: Why did you decide to make this a multi-game project instead of releasing it at all at once?

Kitase: It was easy for us to imagine, even from the story planning stages, that remaking the game to the highest visual levels and going for a more realistic approach to the world, using modern-day technology, would result in a huge volume of work and assets. Simply, with the higher visual quality and the size of the world, it was impossible for a single game. As such, we had two options at that point.

One was to fit all the elements into one game by simplifying each of the elements, which basically would have resulted in a very cut-down digest of the original game, where the players would just follow the main storyline but we would have had to cut a lot of content with that approach, and we didn’t think that fans would have accepted that.

The other was to focus on the portion of the story up to the escape from Midgar, allowing us to avoid omitting any important scenes and to expand on the original, by going deeper into the world and characters than before. Effectively it would be a new game with an emphasis on creating a realistic presentation with substance.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Source: Square Enix / Final Fantasy VII Remake

 We decided that the latter is what the fans are looking for and would enjoy far more.

HHW: You totally reimagined the battle system in Final Fantasy Remake, was that done to give players the feeling that they are playing a brand-new game instead of just relieving the original?

Kitase: The battle system is a more action-oriented evolution of the original ATB (Active Time Battle) system. Players of the original should be familiar with the basics of the system in Final Fantasy VII Remake. This time around, we’ve also introduced elements like moving around, attacking, dodging, and blocking. There are still tactical elements, but the system we’ve created feels very dynamic and helps create a greater sense of immersion.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Source: Square Enix / Final Fantasy VII Remake

I believe this hybrid battle system will feel brand-new to both new players and fans of the original.

HHW: It has been revealed that when the first part drops, it will only cover the Midgar section of FF7 and will be a full-length game. Can you tell us exactly how many hours of gameplay players can look forward to? 

Kitase: As each player enjoys content at a different pace, I’m afraid I’m unable to make a generalized statement. I would encourage everyone to just play the game to confirm that for themselves. I will say, it’s been designed to be comparable to full-length Final Fantasy titles, so I think it will give players an enjoyable experience.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Source: Square Enix / Final Fantasy VII Remake

HHW: The coronavirus is currently ravaging the world and shutting things down all over the globe. Do we have to worry about it affecting the release of the second part?

Kitase: Many companies, not just us, will be putting in various countermeasures such as remote work, etc. Looking at it in the mid- to long-term, I believe it is possible to overcome these difficult times.

Final Fantasy VII Remake launches April 10 only on PlayStation 4.

Photo: Square Enix / Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Altered Carbon 2’s Anthony Mackie Talks Shakespeare, Punching People In The Face [Video]

Anthony Mackie

Source: HHW / Hip-Hop Wired

Anthony Mackie seamlessly stepped into the role of Takeshi Kovacs on Netflix’s sci-fi hit Altered Carbon. The renowned actor has filled big shoes before (see: Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that shied he was gifted), and he was up to the task.

In Altered Carbon, hundreds of years in the future the human race can essentially live forever, if they can afford it, thanks to “stacks” that serve as their soul’s hard drive that can be placed in new bodies aka “sleeves.” Mackie portrays Takeshi Kovacs, the last Envoy, warriors/terrorists out to stop the abuse of the aforementioned technology.

While portrayed by actor Joel Kinnaman in the first season, Mackie takes up the mantle in the re-up (with actor Will Yun Lee reprising the role of the OG Kovac).

“Just staying true to the character [Will Yun Lee] had created as the original Takeshi,” Mackie told Hip-Hop Wired of how he approached the role. “I didn’t want to change it up and make him something completely different. There is a through-line that’s supposed to go through all these characters. So I was trying to stay true to that but still put my own touches on it.”

The exciting story packs plenty of action amidst engaging drama.

“I equate it to Shakespeare, this is a futuristic Romeo & Juliet,” says Mackie, whose sentiment was echoed by co-stars Dina Shihabi (“Dig 301”) and Chris Conner (“Poe”), who ably portray AIs (artificial intelligence) in the series.

But a Black man packing a mean punch, in the future, is part of the reason we dug season 2.

Says Mackie, “When I watched those Blaxploitation movies like Shaft, even Coffy, Dolemite, movies like that—when I started my career when people would ask who do you want to be when you make, I was like, ‘Wesley Snipes.’ So to be able to do this and really live out my dream of punching people in the face makes me very happy.

Altered Carbon 2 is streaming on Netflix right now.

Source: HipHopWired.com

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Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul Prepping To Countersue, Has Rights To Trippie Redd “Death” Collab [EXCLUSIVE]

Criss Angel Grand Opening At Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty

Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul and Trippie Red, are caught up in a lawsuit over their 2019 collaboration “Death” over an allegedly uncleared sample. However, the Three 6 Mafia founder plans to countersue, claiming he cleared the sample back way in 1997.

As previously reported by TMZ, On The Strength Records’ Reginald Boyland is suing Paul and Trippie because “Death” samples the Three 6 song titled “Hit a Muthafucka” from their 1997 album Chapter 2: World Domination. According to Boyland, Paul no longer owns the rights to the song, citing a 2015 settlement where he allegedly gave up said control. The Three 6 track samples Boyland’s “Pimps In The House,” which he at the time claimed was used without permission.

However, DJ Paul tells Hip-Hop Wired exclusively that he still has the rights to the song and has the contract to prove it.

“With the Reginald Boyland situation, we cleared this song with him in 1997,” said Paul, adding that Juicy J recently dug up the original contract and shared a screenshot of the evidence. “I’ma read the exact contract here—he don’t know that I have this contract, he thinks that I don’t have a copy, but I just found it about a month ago. I told my lawyer to file a countersuit against him then. But, Sony been dragging their ass to give up permission to file this counter lawsuit but you can believe it’s going to come now.”

Back in ’97, Three 6 Mafia was signed to Relativity Records, which Sony had a stake in (and would fully acquire its catalog in 2007).

Paul added, “The contract says, This agreement entered the 22nd day of September 1997 between Reginald Boyland (herein called Publisher) and Hypnotized Minds Productions, LLC (herein called Producer)…whereas Publisher owns the copyright or controls the rights to reproduce a copyrighted work known as “Pimps In The House”; and whereas Hypnotized Minds Productions, Inc. is a record producer which desires to use “Pimps In The House” as a sample in a song to be known as “Hit a Muthafucka” herein called New Song to be made part of an album for the recording group Three-6 Mafia under contract with Relativity Records, a division of Relativity Entertainment, Inc. (herein called Record Company..).”

Basically, Three 6 control the rights to the new song (“Hit a Muthafucka”) however they choose. The contract is signed by Boyland.

In Boyland’s latest suit, he claims Paul and Trippie owed him money for profits from the DJ Paul and TWhy Xclusive-produced “Death,” which appears on Trippie’s 2019 album A Love Letter To You 4. However, Boyland said after getting no response to his request he filed court docs for his cut.

The Academy Award winner also has a theory on why Boyland is suing him, despite knowing each other since childhood. “His exact words, and I got this on videotape, ‘I was like Reggie why did you sue us when you know we already cleared it?’ He said, ‘Man my momma had just died so I was like f*ck everybody, I had to do what I had to do.’ Those were his exact words.”

As for the 2015 lawsuit, Paul said he was in a dark place, thus the settlement. But now the Memphis rap legend is sober, and all his paperwork is in order.

“Reggie’s name is in there, he gets paid off the song,” says Paul. “But Sony didn’t have our back and they let us take the fall on that lawsuit that he pulled. He gonna try to say that Trippie Redd was supposed to hit him. No Trippie Red wasn’t supposed to hit him. I control who samples that song, and who don’t—me and Juicy do. I gave him some rights to the song, but I didn’t give him that control. That song came out in ’97, he been getting paid off that.”

Recently, Three 6 Mafia announced reunion shows, which Paul also thinks inspired Boyland’s lawsuit. He says in closing, “Desperate times call for desperate measures. Stop it, buddy.”



Source: HipHopWired.com

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PREMIERE: Peep Velliano’s Visuals To “4 Certain”


Source: Velliano / Velliano

Houston’s Velliano‘s been on his grizzly for a minute now in an effort to bring his city back to it’s “Still Tippin’” glory days and with his latest clip for “4 Certain” he seems closer to achieving that goal.

In his black-and-white visuals to the cut, Velliano flosses a grip, burns some greens and politics at a mall while kicking some head boppin’ ‘ish to keep your neck loose for the rest of the day.

“This song came about organically, it was all about my emotions at the time,” Velliano tells Hip-Hop Wired. “Then the video was just me mobbin’ around the town with my videographer – just having fun with the song. Overall I’m very versatile lyrically. You will hear some different sounds from me throughout this new year.”

Peep Velliano’s latest Ignacio Gonzalez-direct clip to “4 Certain” below (you can also stream the song on all channels right here) and let us know if you’re feeling what the young gunna got in the chamber.

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EXCLUSIVE: Raekwon Talks ‘The Appetition’ EP, More Music On Deck


Source: Drew Gurian / Red Bull Studios

Raekwon The Chef stays cooking. The Wu-Tang Clan rap legend just dropped a new EP titled The Appetition to let fans know he hasn’t lost a step, and to whet their appetites.


Source: Drew Gurian / Red Bull Studios

The project is actually a collaboration with Red Bull Songs and was recorded at Red Bull Music Studios.

“It’s a three-piece meal,” Rae told Hip-Hop Wired while in NYC. “We came together to collaborate with Red Bull Studios. My team knew I hadn’t been in the studio for a couple of months because we been on the road touring with the Wy for the 25th  –anniversary tour].”

He added, “Sometimes when you not next to the bag, as a boxer would say, you gotta get to the gym. Red Bull Studios was the gym for me at the time.”

The Chef linked up with writers K-So Jaynes and P. Wright and producers LordQuest and Twhy Xclusive, and they were tasked with creating a few songs in three days—and they delivered. The R&B flavored “Solid Gold” is a smooth number, the rugged “Chef It Up” is classic Rae while “Shells Kitchen” sounds like the soundtrack to an ill caper.

The Staten Island native has worked with some of the game’s best rappers and producers, but always keeps an eye on the up and comers.

“I like to bring in talent from off the street and give them a shot,” says Rae. “I been there with the higher-ups and I been there with all different kinds of producers but for me I love to see what the future has to offer. So it was a perfect fit for me with Red Bull. They told me I had 72 hours to make a great project happen, and I was up for the challenge. I met the youngsters and they definitely delivered.”

Part of the goal was to document the creative process of a legend and hungry new jacks, and Rae was with it.

“Every artist wants to engage with tight producers and people that really want to win. They was so passionate, and they brought it out of me,” said Rae. “I been around higher-ups who didn’t deliver, that’s just sometimes the breaks. You listen to something, ehh, It’s not giving me a vibe, it’s not lighting up the room, it don’t feel right. I really go in with no blindfold on and just say Yo, do your thing. I remember being that guy that wanted that shot.”

The Appetition EP is out today (Jan. 17) via Rae’s own Ice H20 Records on all the usual streamers. And of course, a proper new album is also due out later this year.

“We got tons of music coming,” said Rae before diving into another boxing anology. “It was all about having a platform that we could just get Raekwon back in the swing. It’s like when you see boxers and right before the fight in their last sparring session and you like, ‘Okay, he ready to do what he need to do.’ That’s how I took this whole situation. I wanted to give my fans something they could hear from me first before I actually splash them, because we going to splash y’all.”

Part of the deal with Red Bull includes a behind the scenes mini-doc about The Appetition‘s creation. The 13-minute doc gives you a look at the process of Rae auditioning beats and locking in to record fresh new darts, which you can peep below.

Listen to The Appetition below.

Source: HipHopWired.com

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HHW Premiere: MCM Pluto – “Wicked” [Video]

MCM Pluto

Source: West Visualzz / press handout

MCM Pluto’s gotten around in his young life and because of that wants to share some of his wisdom with anyone willing to listen and possibly relate.

Born in Kansas, raised in Oklahoma City, and currently residing in Dallas, the well-traveled young artist is ready to make his mark in the music game and today (Nov. 1), he continues to travel down the road to stardom with his latest release, “Wicked.” Highlighting how his fans adore him at his shows to pulling out stacks to show how far he’s come, MCM’s newest visual is proof that he’s going about his business the right way.

“The message of ‘Wicked’ is all summed up in the hook!,” says MCM. “The concept, simply, means life will not be good if you tried to mess with me or my people. I’m a very loyal person, so I take that seriously. I think most anyone can relate.”

Check out the latest work from MCM Pluto below and let us know if you’ll be bumping this to kick off the weekend, and you can spin it here too.

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Spragga Benz Talks ‘Chiliagon,’ Jamaica’s Censorship

Spragga Benz

Source: press handout / tma

A few days before this year’s West Indian Day Parade in New York City, Spragga Benz was a guest at SUNY Empire State in downtown Brooklyn. The dancehall pioneer was seated at the front of the room alongside two music executives and Dr. Carolyn Cooper, a professor at the University of the West Indies.

They would be discussing the future of dancehall and reggae music as well as what that progression means for new artists. “The youth are doing their thing,” Spragga says, following the panel. “It’s a whole new generation from 1995. A different set of youth.  They’re expressing themselves and it’s not fair for us to say that what they’re doing isn’t right. Or lesser than that because we were free to do what we wanted and our parents were probably saying that what we were doing is stupid or wrong.”

“A man may start out slack and end up conscious. It’s a journey.”—Spragga Benz

On an elevated platform, Spragga offered stories of humble beginnings and incidentally finding his place in dancehall, although his personal business would have been better off without the cameras and the bright lights. “More people wanted me to record and I was like, ‘Alright. This thing is getting out of hand now…” The audience chuckled collectively. He continued earnestly, “Because my thinking at the time was about the type of lifestyle I was living, the type of friends that I had and the type of things we were doing… I’m not going up on no stage.” 

That fear of exposure ended shortly thereafter as Spragga would go on to run the genre in mid-90s and now as he nears 30 years in the industry, there’s a sense of reverence that comes with his name. So much so that his first album in nearly a decade, Chiliagon, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Reggae charts. Spragga Benz is out here breaking personal records for himself, even still. In a recent press release, Lem Oppenheimer, co-founder of Easy Star stated, “We are proud to have helped Spragga get to #1 for the first time in his career. What this shows us is that Spragga is still a vibrant artist, a current creative force, and an important voice in reggae worldwide.”   

The album [cop it here] is a direct reflection of how Spragga defines the word ‘chiliagon’ — “a shape with a thousand sides.” The mix of roots reggae, drum and bass, dancehall, grime, garage and hip-hop highlights an evolution of sound, at least from his end. “That’s how I approach music,” he reveals. “I don’t really box into anything. I have different sides to myself and there’s an inclusion of all different genres of music, but to me a lot of different music comes from dancehall same way. So this album shows the connections and similarities and how a dancehall artist actually sounds over these different beats that actually aren’t that different.”

Spragga claims that “No Regrets,” a wavy, roots reggae-inspired track from Chiliagon is his favorite on the album. Preceding the LP, Spragga’s “Count Tree” over the “Calaloo” riddim specifically highlights his spirited flow alongside synth-heavy production with just enough bounce to fall within the lines of traditional dancehall. Another single, “If Yuh Ready,” with UK DJ General Levy is specifically grime, or as Spragga describes: “Jungle Music!” His eyes light up, excitedly. “That same jungle music? It’s derived from dancehall music. It’s the same thing just sped up. They use our same bass lines and faster drums.” Naturally mellow, nothing seems to move Spragga Benz like music or talks of progression.

As an OG in the dancehall world, Spragga has made it his business — his literal business, with Red Star Productions — to help motivate and encourage those coming behind him. Red Star is a sort of in-between, for young creatives trying to find their way. “We try to enhance the talent of young artists, bringing what they have out of them,” he explains. “Some may come to us as artists but they aren’t really artists. They might be a better producer or road manager or a writer, whatever it is that you want to do, we’ll push you to do it anyways, because that’s your desire until you find your growth and then you can always divert.” 

“We try to just bring people in, let them be themselves but we try and guide them in the direction they want to go in without tying them to anything. You owe us nothing. It’s just doing you doing your own work and us giving you a platform.”

Earlier in the evening, during the panel, one man in the audience stood up and lamented, “It is the artist’s responsibility to censor your lyrics…” Attendees murmured in their seats. “You owe it to the youth.”

It was only a matter of time before the topic arose of Jamaica’s unyielding moral code of conduct. Spragga held steadfast in his belief that an artist having to censor himself, defeats the idea of his being a creative. “They’re [the government] censoring dancehall artists, specifically,” he shares later. “Because those from other genres are able to say whatever they feel like saying. And I just think we should be free to say whatever we feel and express ourselves in our own way. Every man has his own idea of what’s right and what’s wrong. So leave a man to his own judgment and learning.” 

“A man may start out slack and end up conscious. It’s a journey,” he continues. “Allow a man to walk his journey. Censorship comes in when some people want power over other people. Or when some people feel important and want to be ‘the God’ over what other people are doing and when you have enough people who feel that way, they form themselves into bodies and give themselves titles and feel even more important.” 

“But artists only want to express themselves, we have our own moral compass to follow. A lot of us have children too and come from good homes with parents that give us certain  responsibilities and morals as well.”

Source: HipHopWired.com

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HHW Premiere: Dash Gwoppovelli’s – “Top Down” [Video]

Dash Gwoppovelli

Source: YouTube / Youtube

Summer ’19 might feel like it’s coming to an end but Dash Gwoppovelli isn’t ready to let that warm seasonal feeling go. HipHopWired is coming through with the exclusive world premiere for his latest summer-time inspired visual for “Top Down” to keep that mellowed out and relaxed vibe we love during the mid months of the year.

With Marty McFly at the helm, DG explains what he was aiming for with his latest release.

“This is that feel good music,” says Dash. “When you have been through so much, it’s a sigh of relief to have that moment to relax and ride with the top down. I hope everyone gets to chill for a while like that over the Summer.” 

Check out Dash Gwoppovelli’s JustDoItBrisk-produced “Top Down” (which you can download right here) below and let us know if it’s something you can ride out for the rest of the summer and beyond.

Source: HipHopWired.com

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Omari Hardwick Opens Up About His Start In Poetry, Feeling Misunderstood, And The Darkness That Comes With Playing Ghost [Exclusive]

Omari Hardwick visits iOne Digital

Source: IG @photosbynae / iOne Digital

In walks Omari Hardwick, a complex creative excited to talk about his love for music and poetry. Our conversation would soon reveal that the actor we were introduced to as Ghost is also a writer, a musician, and a man who has spent much of his life feeling misunderstood.

He stopped by the iOne Digital offices on Thursday, May 10, to chop it up with HipHopWired about his new Poetics podcast. During our chat, Omari let us in on how he got his start in poetry and lightly mentioned that friendly moment with Beyoncé at the 2019 NAACP Image Awards. He talked about his brotherhood with Michael B. Jordan and got into how playing Ghost for seven months per year on Power has affected him. Tune in below.

The 2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion - Arrivals

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On What Led Omari To Express Himself Through Poetry

“It kind of just is…a poet just is,” he said. “I think you just wake up one day and, before the pen hits the paper, you’re kind of looking at life poetically… I think it was already there. 11 was the first poem written – it was to a girl. That’s all I remember,” he said of the first time he picked up a pen.

While a girl inspired him, he was also heavily influenced by the music he was surrounded by, as he notes the base of many of his favorite MCs (Tupac, Rakim, Common, Big Daddy Kane, and more) is actually poetry.

“It was definitely a girl at first, but it’s all of that music that was in the house,” he said of his upbringing. “Motown was playing. Hip-Hop was competing with Motown. Then I hear Wynton Marsalis and there was no vocalization, it was only instrumentation. The poems would come to me while I was hearing jazz and piano and so, I guess the poetry was there. I was reading Langston Hughes…. Then I learned that my pops was a poet. He’s an attorney by trade, but mom revealed all of these poems once I started to really write. I was probably now 20 years of age, writing in college, playing college football at the University of Georgia, and doing theatre within about a year from that moment. Moms brought me a whole volume of this sh*t he had written. I even learned that I wrote like him. I guess it’s genetic.”

On How He’s Able To Set Aside The Darkness That Comes With Playing Ghost

When it’s mentioned that Michael B. Jordan had a difficult time playing Killmonger in Black Panther, Omari reveals Jordan has been his “little brother” for “twenty-something” years. Though he wasn’t aware Jordan went to therapy after the role, he says his brother is a sweet “child at heart” and so he sees how playing Killmonger, a very dark character, could have disrupted his happiness. With that said, he adds…

“Playing Ghost has been a concurrent therapy session. Ghost is every single Sunday for six seasons – 10 Killmongers. Mike did his thing with Killmonger! But, I’ve been playing Killmonger for six seasons every single week for about 7 months per year.”

So what helped? One summer, his wife Jennifer suggested that instead of spending the summer shooting a movie, he do music… “I think if anything helped, it probably would be the fact that I started recording music – ’cause I was really getting it out, as opposed to writing poems.”

“I was really struggling. Ghost was really beating my *ss,” he confessed.

On Negativity Being So Heavily Promoted On Social Media

“Social media has definitely revealed to me too many people’s thoughts of negativity. I wish I didn’t know people were so negative. Hate is sold,” Omari commented.

The Mark Celebrates The 2019 Met Gala

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On Feeling Misunderstood

“I’ve definitely always felt like I could not describe myself to most people. I still feel that way and I get very frustrated… I get lonely a lot in communication because I don’t think a lot of people can keep up with where I’m going,” he admitted, adding “I was never really bad at communicating or being articulate. What was hard for me was expressing all of the things inside of me.”

“Nina Simone was huge for me – understand me now,” he said, quoting the late legend’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” lyrics. “That sh*t was huge for me. When I first heard that song, I think my writing went different, me as a man I grew differently. She’s one of my favorite artists of all time and, I think, one of the great poets of all time.  That was always a tough thing for me – to be misunderstood and to [find] people that spoke my language.”

Omari told us that back in the day, he would ride his bike to poetry venues and stop at the bus stop, where he often had amazing conversations with homeless people. “I learned not to judge a book by its cover,” he said of his search to find those who understand him.

On Men Not Growing Up And Finding It Difficult To Communicate And Be Vulnerable

“We’ve lost so many men that Omari embracing a friend, or giving a friend a kiss, became a story. It’s one of those things that social media hasn’t really aided. I don’t know why the eye contact has faded… indecision, not knowing how to ask a girl out. I don’t know why it’s faded.”

On Adjusting To Hollywood

“I never wanted people to not feel comfortable next to me, so celebrity is weird for me. I’m still adjusting with it and to it,” he explained.

Check out Omari Hardwick’s new Poetics podcast here. He interviews a different Hip-Hop guest for every episode, as each guest submits their own poem to be discussed and dissected. It’s all about vulnerability, which as he mentioned during our talk, is something the world could use a lot more of.

Photos: @photosbynae, Getty

Source: HipHopWired.com

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