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Hear Flatbush Zombies’ Vicious Origin Story on New Song ‘Headstone’

February 23rd, 2018 · Guitar

Brooklyn rap trio Flatbush Zombies unveiled a vicious new single, “Headstone,” from their upcoming album, Vacation in Hell, out April 6th. It also released a black-and-white video for the track directed by Luke Monaghan and filmed in the group’s native Flatbush, Brooklyn neighborhood.

One of the group’s three MCs, Erick “Arc” Elliott, produced “Headstone,” crafting a meaning beat from piano and drums. Meechy Darko opens the track with a limber hook setting the dismal tone: “Been thugging from the cradle to the grave/ Now your favorite rapper name on a headstone/ Too late, he already dead.”

Elliott, Meechy and Zombie Juice spit verses packed with references to classic hip-hop artists, albums and songs. “Only god can judge me slipping, I’m infinitely big pimpin/ Though the genesis, dead presidents, drop a gem on ‘em,” Eliott raps, while later, Meechy Darko spits a couplet for Kanye West that not only samples “Jesus Walks,” but name-checks The Devil Wears Prada (like the West lyric) for good measure.

Vacation in Hell follows Flatbush Zombie’s 2016 debut album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey. The group is also prepping a documentary that covers the making of the record and the group’s life on the road and at home. Elliott is set to release a solo instrumental album as well, ARCstrumentals 2, out February 16th.

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/hear-flatbush-zombies-spit-hip-hop-history-in-headstone-w517030

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Hear 5 Seconds of Summer’s Yearning New Song ‘Want You Back’

February 23rd, 2018 · Guitar

5 Seconds of Summer have released their new single, “Want You Back.” It’s the Aussie group’s first new song in nearly two years. They also announced a 26-date tour, which kicks off next month.

The pop-flavored track reflects on a lost love and captures the yearning that often follows a breakup. “No matter where I go, I’m always gonna want you back, ” Luke Hemmings sings on the chorus. “No matter how long you’re gone, I’m always gonna want you back/ I know you know I will never get over you.”

The group has spent the past year in Los Angeles writing and recording the follow-up to its 2015 sophomore album, Sounds Good Feels Good. The as-yet untitled LP is slated to be released later this year via Capitol.

In the meantime, 5 Seconds of Summer will embark on a 26-date tour, which begins on March 20th in Stockholm, Sweden at Debaser Strand and wraps on June 6th at Cine Joia in Sao Paolo, Brazil. In between their overseas dates, they will perform at 13 venues across the U.S.

5 Seconds of Summer Tour Dates

March 20 – Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
March 23 – Antwerp, BE @ Trix
March 24 – Cologne, DE @ Gloria
March 26 – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
March 29 – Milan, IT @ Fabrique
April 4 – Paris, FR @ Yoyo
April 5 – London, UK @ Heaven
April 8 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
April 9 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
April 10 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
April 12 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
April 13 – Toronto, ON @ The Danforth Music Hall
April 15 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
April 16 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues Chicago
April 18 – Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom
April 19 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues Dallas
April 21 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues Houston
April 23 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
April 25 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco Theater
April 26 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues San Diego
April 27 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
May 2 – Singapore, SG @ Capitol Theatre
May 24 – Sydney, AU @ Metro
May 29 – Melbourne, AU @ 170 Russell
June 4 – Mexico City, MX @ Lunario Del Auditorio Nacional
June 6 – Sao Paolo, BR @ Cine Joia

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/hear-5-seconds-of-summers-yearning-new-song-want-you-back-w517044

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Why Are Albums So Long Right Now?

February 23rd, 2018 · Guitar

With 24 tracks, clocking in at one hour and 46 minutes, Migos’ Culture II lasts long enough to listen to all of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and still make it more than halfway through The Dark Side of the Moon. Its Number One debut on the Billboard album chart is the latest twist in streaming’s reshaping of music consumption: the rise of mega albums.

On Spotify, the duration of the top five streamed albums rose almost 10 minutes over the past five years, to an average of 60 minutes. It’s a trend embraced by Drake (2016′s Views was one hour and 21 minutes), Lana Del Rey (2017′s Lust for Life was one hour and 11 minutes) and Future (his two back-to-back albums in February 2017, Future and Hndrxx, totaled two hours and 10 minutes). What’s driving the trend?

“Stacking albums with extra songs is a strategic way to achieve certain goals,” says Malcolm Manswell, a marketing manager for Atlantic Records. In 2014, Billboard incorporated streaming into its chart calculations (1,500 on-demand streams equals one LP), and two years later, the Recording Industry Association of America adopted the same formula for album certifications. Longer albums that generate more streams can lead to Number One chart debuts and gold and platinum plaques. Last fall, when Chris Brown released the 45-song Heartbreak on a Full Moon, it was certified gold in less than 10 days, even though none of its singles cracked the Top 40. Album certifications remain “the indication of a great artist,” says Manswell. “On the sponsorship side, this stuff helps labels sell an artist or argue for why a brand should use an artist.”

Exploiting loopholes is nothing new in the music business. “I don’t think [releasing an extra-long album] is different than bundling tickets to your concert with your first-week sales,” says Daniel Glass, president of Glassnote Records. The bundling strategy, where fans that purchase tour tickets then get a code they can redeem for an album, is a favorite of rock and pop acts; Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and Pink used it to ensure they debuted at Number One in 2017. (Billboard only counts a ticket sale as an album sale if a fan uses his or her code.)

In addition, listening habits are changing and becoming more grazing-focused; in 2015, the company Midia Research reported that 60 percent of streaming-service subscribers are more likely to listen to “individual albums and tracks just a few times…because they are discovering so much new music.” Having more songs on an album allows an act to satiate listeners’ appetite for the new without losing their clicks.

“I don’t think it’s a sales trick as much as [a response to] audience behavior,” says Glass of big rap and RB albums. “Hip-hop has been more in touch with their fans than anybody in the last few years.” And it’s paid off; in 2017, according to Nielsen Music, rap and RB succeeded over other genres by a wide margin, earning 29.1 percent of all on-demand streams. “People are releasing way more music, especially when it comes to hip-hop and RB,” says Nick Holmsten, vice president of content and global head of shows and editorial for Spotify. “Some people do it as a lot of music at the same time, others have releases every three or four weeks.” Mega albums can also drive revenue. “If the user preference is to stream a whole album, there’s economic incentive for having more tracks in play – real income across millions of users,” says Tracy Maddux, CEO of CD Baby, a digital and physical distributor.

Not everyone buys into the new approach. Constructing his throwback-flavored 24K Magic, Bruno Mars went for a vinyl-length 33 minutes – and was rewarded with an Album of the Year Grammy. “More isn’t always better,” says Joie Manda, executive vice president of Interscope Geffen AM, who has overseen releases from Rae Sremmurd and Machine Gun Kelly, among others. “If you throw out 100 songs a year like you’re buying 100 lottery tickets, that’s not a good plan – you can compromise the quality of your album by having more songs.”

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/migos-drake-future-albums-long-streaming-w516991

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Parquet Courts Detail New Danger Mouse-Produced LP ‘Wide Awake!’

February 23rd, 2018 · Guitar

Indie rock outfit Parquet Courts unveiled a two-part garage rock song, “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In And Out of Patience.” It comes from their upcoming Danger Mouse-produced album, Wide Awake!, out May 18th via Rough Trade.

Over fast drums and guitars, singer Andrew Savage and the rest of Parquet Courts begin a call-and-response interrogation of everything from mass transit to existential nightmares: “The MTA/ Took the first of it/ Twenty minute delay/ Wasn’t the worst of it/ Saw it underground/ You could burn to death/ Now you’re right on time to take what I got left.”

Wide Awake! follows Parquet Courts’ 2016 album, Human Performance, and their 2017 collaborative LP, Milano, with Italian musician Daniele Luppi. The band linked up with Danger Mouse after the producer, a self-professed fan, reached out to the band. 

“The ethos behind every Parquet Courts record is that there needs to be change for the better, and the best way to tackle that is to step out of one’s comfort zone,” Savage said of collaborating with the DJ, who has worked on records by A$AP Rocky to the Black Keys. “I personally liked the fact that I was writing a record that indebted to punk and funk and Brian’s a pop producer who’s made some very polished records. I liked that it didn’t make sense.”

Parquet Courts will embark on a North American tour this spring in support of Wide Awake! The trek kicks off April 24th at White Oak Music Hall in Houston and wraps June 8th at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. 

Wide Awake! Track List

1. “Total Football”
2. “Violence”
3. “Before the Water Gets Too High”
4. “Mardi Gras Beads”
5. “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In And Out of Patience”
6. “Freebird II”
7. “Normalization”
8. “Back to Earth”
9. “Wide Awake”
10. “NYC Observation”
11. “Extinction”
12. “Death Will Bring Change”
13. “Tenderness”

Parquet Courts Tour Dates

April 24 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
April 26 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Levitation
April 27 – Norman, OK @ Norman Music Festival
April 28 – Dallas, TX @ Sons of Hermann Hall
April 29 – Englewood, CO @ The Gothic Theatre
May 5 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival
May 23 – Boston, MA @ Royale
May 24 – Providence, RI @ Fete Ballroom
May 25 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
May 26 – Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount
May 27 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Theatre
May 28 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
May 30 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
May 31 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
June 1 – Lawrence, KS @ The Granada
June 2 – St Louis, MO @ Ready Room
June 3 – Nashville, TN @ Basement East
June 5 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
June 6 – Carborro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
June 7 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
June 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/parquet-courts-detail-new-danger-mouse-produced-lp-wide-awake-w517033

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The Last Word: George Clinton on Alien Encounters, Trump’s Lack of Funk

February 23rd, 2018 · Guitar

Parliament-Funkadelic founder George Clinton is an irreplaceable walking museum of American musical history, with a career that began in Fifties doo-wop (the Parliaments were originally a Newark, N.J., singing group), and continues all the way to Kendrick-era hip-hop and beyond. Clinton put out an excellent, memorably titled memoir, Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?, in 2014, and he suggests he’s already done enough additional living for another book – though he’s more focused on an upcoming documentary and a new album. He called in for a characteristically amusing and enlightening Last Word interview while on the road for his latest tour, which is set to run through April.

Who are the funkiest people who ever lived?
When I’m just tryna funk, it’s gonna be the Staple Singers, man – Pop Staples. And Ray Charles. Ray could take “Eleanor Rigby” and make that funky. He ends up doing that to anything – to me, that’s raw funk. And then [Motown session bassist] James Jamerson – that is a musician.

And who is the least funky person alive?
Oh, my God! [Laughs] Probably Trump. Can’t be no funk in the Trump! [Pauses] He ain’t gonna like that.

Where did the idea of “free your mind and your ass will follow” come from? And do you stand by the advice?
I think I was just saying it as a stream of consciousness, you know? But as I get older, I see it as the same thing as “Let go and use the Force, Luke.” If your head ain’t right, everything you try to fix is going to be messed up, ’cause your brain is what you need to fix it.

Same idea as “Maggot Brain,” really.
Yeah, same thing! Same thing. If you got maggots in your brain, everything you think is gonna be rotten.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop looking for anything else to be LSD. If you knew that it was never gonna be like that first hit, you could’ve stopped a long time ago.

So you never regretted LSD?
As soon as Woodstock happened, LSD was over. It became commercial, $5 a tab. Then that mind-manipulation thing it did became dangerous because anybody could program your ass when you’re on it.

How do you feel about white artists doing black music?
I’d bite off the Beatles, or anybody else. It’s all one world, one planet and one groove. You’re supposed to learn from each other, blend from each other, and it moves around like that. You see that rocket ship leave yesterday? We can maybe leave this planet. We gonna be dealing with aliens. You think black and white gonna be a problem? Wait till you start running into motherfuckers with three or four dicks! Bug-eyed motherfuckers! They could be ready to party, or they could be ready to eat us. We don’t know, but we’ve got to get over this shit of not getting along with each other.

You and Bootsy Collins had an alien encounter, right?
Yeah, and we wasn’t high. A light hit the car, and a substance like mercury out of the thermometer rolled up the side of the car.

Liquid metal that moved, like in Terminator 2?
That’s exactly what it looked like.

“You just have to figure your way how to dance your way out of your constriction.”

How have you been able to find such consistently great musicians over the years?
They usually be out of the box, but still appealing. Somebody you can’t control, or won’t do it normal. I learned that anything that get on your nerves – the parents don’t like, the old musicians don’t like, and kids seem to be liking it – that’s usually the shit. But you then have to learn how to balance it. It can’t go all up into the crazy, ’cause that’s what you’re flirting with.

Parliament came from your doo-wop quartet, the Parliaments. You’ve said when doo-wop was dying, you were sad but excited to see what was next, right?
Even though I loved the Fifties doo-wop, you couldn’t hold on to it. You had to change, or you was gon’ be antique real quick, like the Ink Spots. And then we were at Motown and you had the Rolling Stones, simple rock roll became the new thing. So we turned the volume up and got slick, almost jazzy musicians – Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Bootsy playing simple, but making it smooth and brand-new – with the concept of clones or whatever we was talking about.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of this country?
I’m optimistic about it, because whatever happened, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. If He did it, He did it all. You just have to figure your way how to dance your way out of your constriction. And pray, have faith and all that shit.

Would you be cool with a hologram of yourself going on tour after you’re no longer with us?
I already made a hologram. I did it with the whole band. Maybe they can have it start performing in Vegas or some shit. I wanted to give something to my family.

What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone?
He made me sick, but he gave me the antidote. 

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/parliament-funkadelics-george-clinton-aliens-trump-lsd-w516975

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Toto Plan Career-Spanning Limited Edition Box Set ‘All In’

February 22nd, 2018 · Guitar

Toto will rerelease and remaster the majority of their catalog for the limited edition box set All In, a massive 13-CD, 17-LP collection that includes two discs of unreleased material.

All In, available to preorder now through April 10th ahead of its fall release, will include the band’s first 10 studio albums – Toto, Hydra, Turn Back, Toto IV, Isolation, Fahrenheit, The Seventh One, Kingdom Of Desire, Tambu and Mindfields – and the 1998 odds-and-ends collection Toto XX, with all of them albums “personally remastered” by Toto along with Elliot Scheiner.

The box set will also featured the previously unreleased Live In Tokyo EP – a collection of tracks from the “Africa” group’s 1980 tour and another new compilation titled Old Is New, a 10-track collection featuring seven unreleased songs as well as “Spanish Sea,” “Alone” and “Struck By Lighting,” the three exclusive songs from Toto’s recently released greatest hits collection 40 Trips Around the Sun.

All In also boasts a Blu-ray featuring the 1990 concert film Live in Paris and Toto IV in 5.1 surround sound. Each of the limited edition box sets, which won’t be available in stores, also includes an 80-page hardcover book and an 8″ x 8″ certificate of authenticity signed by band members.

A CD-only version of All In will be released later in 2018.

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/toto-plan-career-spanning-limited-edition-box-set-all-in-w516972

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Dave Navarro Recruits Courtney Love, Billy Idol for Mental Health Charity Show

February 22nd, 2018 · Guitar

guitarists Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison are recruiting Billy Idol, Courtney Love, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes for a mental health charity concert. The event will take place April 16th at Los Angeles’ Belasco Theatre.

The Above Ground event will benefit the Recording Academy’s Musicares Foundation. It will feature the all-star lineup covering two classic records: the Velvet Underground’s 1967 album, The Velvet Underground Nico and Adam and the Ants’ 1980 record, Kings of the Wild Frontier.

“After losing too many friends to suicide and depression, and having suffered personally with a wide range of mental health issues, we want to raise awareness and funds for the treatment of mental health,” Morrison said in a video clip. 

Navarro promised the all-star band will perform the two “iconic albums in their entirety – exactly as they were recorded and released on vinyl.” A Live Nation ticket pre-sale launches Thursday, February 22nd at 10 a.m. PST and concludes Friday, February 23rd at 10 p.m. PST. General public tickets go on sale Saturday, February 24th at 10 a.m. PST.

Morrison ends the video on a poignant note about mental health awareness, encouraging viewers to “spread the word that it’s OK to ask for help.”

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/dave-navarro-billy-idol-to-play-mental-health-charity-show-w516973

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See John Mayer Play Jazzy ‘I’m Gonna Find Another You’ With Wynton Marsalis

February 22nd, 2018 · Guitar

In June 2006, John Mayer showed off his jazzy side in a guest appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s annual fundraising gala. The singer-guitarist teamed with trumpeter and JALC artistic director Wynton Marsalis, and other members of the organization’s house band, for a heartfelt version of “I’m Gonna Find Another You,” a lovelorn, downtempo track that would see release on his Continuum LP that same year. Audio of the performance, which you can watch in full above, appears on United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas, an all-star compilation of live performances recorded between 2003 and 2007.

Each of the album’s tracks finds Marsalis Co. backing a well-known guest on a song from their own catalog or a cover. Bob Dylan turns up for a 2004 reinterpretation of his Highway 61 Revisited classic “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” arranged by Marsalis and streaming below; Lenny Kravitz appears performing “Are You Gonna Go My Way” in 2007; Eric Clapton offers his 2003 rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “I’m Not Rough”; and James Taylor sings his own “Mean Old Man.”

In a statement, Marsalis discussed how he and his bandmates approached the diverse material featured on the compilation. “When collaborating with each of these musicians, we naturally had a lot of explicit conversations about the blues form,” the trumpeter tells Rolling Stone. “The styles we were playing were kind of American root styles: hymns, folk songs, different types of blues shuffles, country blues shuffles. Most of our rhythm section was from New Orleans – the crossroads of all of those styles – it was easier for us to access the gospel music, early rock roll with the type of back beat shuffle, and the swing rhythm. We discussed all those types of things a lot. We talked about form, and how we would go from one part to the other, when there’s too much arrangement, when to take horns out, all this kind of stuff.”

Also featured on United We Swing are Natalie Merchant, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett. The compilation is out March 23rd on JALC’s own Blue Engine Records and is available for preorder.

United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas track list

1. “The Last Time” feat. Blind Boys of Alabama
2. “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” feat. Bob Dylan
3. “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” feat. Ray Charles
4. “I’m Not Rough” feat. Eric Clapton
5. “Creole Love Call” feat. Audra McDonald
6. “Milk Cow Blues” feat. Willie Nelson
7. “I’m Gonna Find Another You” feat. John Mayer
8. “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” feat. Lyle Lovett
9. “The Worst Thing” feat. Natalie Merchant
10. “Please Baby Don’t” feat. John Legend
11. “Mean Old Man” feat. James Taylor
12. “Are You Gonna Go My Way” feat. Lenny Kravitz
13. “Fool’s Paradise” feat. Jimmy Buffett
14. “Empty Bed Blues” feat. Carrie Smith
15. “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” feat. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks
16. “What Have You Done?”

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/john-mayer-wynton-marsalis-im-gonna-find-another-you-w516876

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Producer Boi-1da on the Road to Drake’s Number One Smash ‘God’s Plan’

February 22nd, 2018 · Guitar

Boi-1da has been a crucial part of Drake‘s braintrust ever since he helped craft the rapper’s first hit, 2009′s “Best I Ever Had.” In 2014, Boi-1da co-produced “0 to 100,” the first SoundCloud loosie to garner a Grammy nomination; in 2015, he oversaw Drake’s turn towards belligerent and brawling as executive producer on If You’re Reading This It’s too Late; in 2016, he soothed Drake’s transition into dancehall, producing the Number One Rihanna collaboration “Work” as well as Views‘ “Controlla.”

Boi-1da managed to one-up himself in January, when another song he co-produced, “God’s Plan,” debuted at Number One on the Hot 100. It’s Drake’s second Number One hit, but the first to debut at the top of the chart, where it has sat comfortably for four consecutive weeks, shattering several streaming records.

And Drake is just one artist Boi-1da works with. He’s also produced showstoppers for Kanye West (“Real Friends”) and Kendrick Lamar (“The Blacker the Berry”); last year he appeared on releases as disparate as Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life, G-Eazy’s The Beautiful Damned and Romeo Santos’ GoldenRolling Stone caught up with Boi-1da to talk about his path into production, meeting Drake, his longtime love of dancehall and the success of “God’s Plan.” 

When did you first start making music?
When I was 15 years old. I was told by a friend about the program that I use to this day, FruityLoops. One summer I was really bored, and I ended up taking my mom’s credit card and downloading it. I started to work on it from there and it kind of became an addiction. I just kept playing around with it until I got really, really good at it. I entered a beat-maker’s competition and ended up winning it a few years in a row.

You hadn’t done any music-making before FruityLoops?
Yeah, I didn’t do music at all. My mom had bought me a Casio keyboard when I was younger, but I wasn’t really into it. I didn’t go to piano lessons; I didn’t know anything formal.

Did you listen to a lot of music?
My parents were big listeners as well as my sister. So I was always in a house with music playing 24/7. My dad used to play a lot of dancehall music, so that’s what I was into really early.

When you took up Fruity Loops, were your friends into it as well, or was it just your thing?
I really started off myself just toying around with the program. Turning knobs and seeing what they do on my own. At the time there was no YouTube to look up tutorials. It was really about figuring it out.

A lot of producers start on one program but then move to others  why did you stick to FruityLoops?
I thought it was the easiest and most comfortable for me to use. It’s easy to get your ideas out, your ideas across. The concept is basic. I’m the kind of guy, I don’t like to sit there and waste hours trying to make a song. If it doesn’t come out when it comes out, you’re forcing it.

When did you decide you were ready to enter Battle of the Beatmakers?
I had really honest friends around me. I would play music for some of my friends in high school and they would be like, This is trash. They’d tell me straight up if it was garbage. Eventually it got to a point where they were like, this is starting to sound good. But I still didn’t think I was ready for the competition – I entered it and I was terrified; I was the youngest person in the competition. I didn’t go in there with an expectation of winning. The competition was like, you come in with your best beats, and it’s your best beat against the other person’s best beat. There’s three judges and a crowd, so the crowd reaction on top of the judges’ scorecards determine if you move on to the next round. Once you use a beat, it’s over, you can’t use that beat again. So you have to plan it out.

You were making dancehall at this point or hip-hop focused?
I was really hip-hop focused. After my whole dancehall era, I fell in love with hip-hop. That was my thing.

And how many years in a row did you win the competition?
Three years in a row. Almost four – I made it to the finals for the fourth one. It was going to be my fourth and my last one, but I think they got tired of seeing me one.

Did that event raise your profile locally?
I started meeting a lot of people when I first went to that event. I ended up meeting guys like Saukrates, one of the first rappers out of Toronto to represent where we’re from, and I ended up meeting a producer by the name of D10 that I ended up working with a lot. He was actually the one who introduced me to Drake. I met a lot of key people that I’m very close with today through those competitions.

What was your first official placement?
Kardinal Offishall’s album Not 4 Sale. I ended up doing four songs on that album. I was 18, 19 – I was really excited to be a part of anything.

How did you eventually meet Drake?
I was working with D10, an amazing keyboard player and producer. He would always talk about his friend Drake and how good he was. I never really paid attention to it until he was like I’m gonna hook you and Drake up; I think you should guys make music. We ended up meeting up and the chemistry was there from the jump. I understand the vision, where he wanted to go. From the jump, I was like, this guy is going to be one of the greatest rappers of all time.

So his talent was already apparent?
Um-hmm. Everything was pretty local back then. Locally, he was exceptional, better than everybody.

What was the Toronto scene like at that time?
When I was coming up it was very gangsta hip-hop dominated. We have Glenn Lewis, we had Kardinal, but at the time 50 Cent was like the biggest artist. Hearing Drake’s music and seeing that it could stand up next to someone like 50 Cent and he’s not even being gangster was pretty dope. It was really relatable, especially to somebody like me – I’m not a gangster.

Was production your full-time gig then?
No. At the time I was working at Winners, a retail clothing store. I was working factory jobs. I would go to work then spend all night doing music, go to the studio, go to work in the morning. At a point I was like, I need to quit because this job is draining my creative energy. I would get all these ideas for beats and songs in my head at work, but by the time I got home, I was too tired to do anything. So I got tired of that. I took a chance on myself.

“Best I Ever Had” was your first big hit; did you feel like that was going to be a big record?
I liked that beat a lot. But I didn’t think it was going to be part of a hit record. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever done. But after hearing what Drake did it, I knew that a lot of people would like it. But becoming a worldwide hit, we could have never called that.

Did you start getting more calls overnight?
The phones started ringing off the hook. Publishers start calling. I was on MySpace at that time, a lot of artists hit me up to get tracks that sound like “Best I Ever Had.” I hate that – I already made “Best I Ever Had.”

A lot of producers, once they have a hit, try to work with as many different people as possible. But for most of your career, you’ve kept your circle pretty small.
I enjoy working with Drake. He’s my favorite artist to work with. We have crazy chemistry when we work. My motto is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’ve always stuck with the game plan. I’ve worked with other artists as well, but Drake has always been my main focus. He’s the greatest to me.

It’s been almost a decade now that you’ve been making hits, and mainstream hip-hop has changed so much during that period  how do you adjust?
Keeping my mind open, not sheltering myself musically. I want to get in with a lot of people, and I listen a lot – to what’s new, to what people gravitate towards. Even if I don’t agree with it, I keep listening until I figure out why people like it.

Was there anything recently that puzzled you at first but you eventually figured it out?
I’m not gonna call anybody out. But when you’re introduced to something brand new, sometimes you just don’t know what’s going on. For instance, the first time I heard 808s Heartbreak by Kanye, I didn’t get it. I listened to it a year after, and I was like, this is completely genius. Sometimes things don’t register immediately. Now it’s one of my favorite albums – to this day I listen to songs from it every single day. Still. But I was a year late on it.

It’s interesting you mention that album: A lot of people talk about Drake’s early sound relative to that record, but around If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, he shifted towards something fiercer, and you’re often credited with helping that transition.
Drake gave me the opportunity to executive produce that album with him. I love hearing Drake spaz out and just rap – I feel like he’s the best when he does that. Just the best. It was a time when we wanted to make a lot of energetic music, and that’s what we did – we locked in, and it was all energy.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’re also credited with boosting dancehall in the mainstream. How did you make it back towards that sound which you loved when you were younger?
That was such an early influence, my first love musically. I didn’t know anything else outside of dancehall when I came to Canada. My dad would only listen to dancehall and reggae. That was the only thing I knew about. My family and I would huddle in front of the radio every Friday to listen to 88.1 ’cause that was the only time in Toronto they played reggae and dancehall on the radio. I’m Jamaican; dancehall is basically in my blood.

At that time, there was a lot of trap music going on. I had a discussion with my friends – I really want to make something different. I missed how dancehall used to make people react. It would make girls want to dance. I tried to bring that whole feel back, and then people like it. It was another thing where it was like, this might work; it might not. But I just wanted to do something that made me feel a certain way when I was a kid. Maybe it will make someone else feel how I felt. I didn’t know it would pop off like that. But when I heard [Rihanna's] “Work” and [Drake's] “Controlla,” I was like, this is gonna work. And they did work.

In the last year, you got more into the pop radio lane  a Lana Del Rey credit, a G-Eazy credit. What’s it like working in that space vs. rap?
That was dope. Working with Lana, I really got to step outside of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about different structures with songs. We’re going to continue to work. We also have great chemistry and the songs just flow together. It was a great experience to work with somebody outside of hip-hop. Then I brought my world into her world and vice versa. It was a nice little blend. We made that record from scratch, started from nothing. We began with a piano and her signing and it turned into “Summer Bummer.”

Obviously “God’s Plan” is your latest hit  how did that beat come together?
Drake had that halfway finished already. I just came in and added to it. The record started with him and [producer] Cardo. I came in and changed the whole bounce to it. I can’t take credit for the whole record – it really started with Cardo. It came together pretty well.

You were credited on both “God’s Plan” and “Diplomatic Immunity”  is it ever difficult when one of your records outshines the other?
They got attention on different levels. “God’s Plan” is a massive, catchy, radio-friendly song that can easily be played in the club. “Diplomatic Immunity” was a record where Drake got a lot off his chest. That’s a statement. People love “Diplomatic Immunity” – some people love it just as much or even more than “God’s Plan.” I’m never mad that one record does better than another because they’re done for different purposes. The purpose of “Diplomatic Immunity” was to feed the hardcore rap audience. “God’s Plan” was to feed everybody.

Has your relationship with Drake evolved over the decade plus you guys have been working together?
We’ve both grown musically. But we’re always on the same page – we’re always ready.

What is next for you in the coming year?
This year I’ll be putting out a compilation album with a lot of the different artists I work with. And other than focusing on working with Drake, I’ve been working with Joyner Lucas, the first artist I ever signed. We’re working on his debut project; he’s another amazing talent – a spectacular rapper and visionary director. I believe that his project is going to be well-received.

What led you to start signing acts and putting out your own project?
It’s time to start doing stuff for myself. I always felt like I wanted to. Now it’s the right time.

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/producer-boi-1da-on-making-drakes-hit-gods-plan-w516950

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Nicole Atkins Announces Spring Tour, Drops ‘Brokedown Luck’ Video

February 22nd, 2018 · Guitar

Nicole Atkins will embark on a tour of the eastern United States this spring in support of her latest LP, Goodnight Rhonda Lee.

Following a pair of March dates, the trek kicks off in proper with an April 18th gig at Birmingham, Alabama’s Saturn and concludes May 5th at Woodstock, New York’s Bearsville.

In addition to the tour dates, Atkins also shared her new video for “Brokedown Luck,” starring the now-sober singer navigating her way through a zany party filled with puppets, Elvis impersonators, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas cosplay and more. Atkins arranged the horns and co-wrote the song with Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Goodnight Rhonda Lee is Atkins’ first LP since the Nashville-via-New Jersey singer underwent a month-long treatment for alcohol addiction.

“I got the idea of committing to more of a soul sound for this record when I was in rehab,” Atkins told Rolling Stone in November. “There was a music producer in there. I won’t say who he is, but totally different style than me. A hip-hop guy. One day, he’s like, ‘Play me your stuff.’ He said, ‘You’re really good, but you need to stop fucking around with this indie-rock bullshit. You’re a soul singer. Just do what you do.’”

Nicole Atkins Tour Dates

April 18 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
April 19 – Asheville, NC @ Salvage Station
April 20 – Charleston, SC @ Royal American
April 21 – Charleston, SC @ High Water Festival
April 22 – Decatur, GA @ The Earl
April 24 – Richmond, VA @ Capitol Ale House
April 26 – Baltimore, MD @ Sound Stage
April 27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot Saddle
April 28 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
May 1 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
May 2 – Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre
May 3 – Bridgeport, CT @ The Acoustic
May 4 – Boston, MA @ Sonia
May 5 – Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville 

Article source: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/nicole-atkins-sets-spring-tour-drops-brokedown-luck-video-w516977

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