Thursday, April 3, 2014


Thank you for your support. I am excited to announce Come Home With Me has now become an official website! For more content please visit

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Oxymoron Tour: Denver vs. Schoolboy Q

The Oxymoron tour came to Denver last night and the sold out show was one for the books. Audio Push, the duo from Inland Empire, California opened the show and kick started the incredible energy that remained a theme for the rest of the night. You may know these cats from "Teach Me How To Jerk," but luckily their discography stretches beyond that and their performance was a great opener for the larger acts of the evening.

Vince Staples took the stage next and he humbly introduced himself as a rapper from Long beach, California. He was charismatic and confident as he encouraged crowd participation turned up to Long Beach classics such as "Drop It Like Its Hot" and the Snoop Dogg featured "Down 4 My N***as."

Isaiah Rashad was without a doubt, the champ of the evening. You could tell he was loving the high energy that Denver was feeding him and in return he demolished the stage with the flawless material from Cilvia Demo. Finishing strong with "Shot You Down" featuring Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q, it was the perfect segue to the headliner of the tour.

The crowd was on another level by the end of Rashad's set and eager for Q, but once Isaiah returned to the stage to sign as many autographs as he could manage, it was clear to everyone in the venue that they were stalling. Schoolboy Q walked onto the stage in perhaps the most un-enthused entrance I've ever seen and it set the tone for the rest of his performance.

Early on in Q's set, a person in the crowd threw an object onto the stage that hit Schoolboy in his chest. During concerts, people are constantly throwing blunts, cds, accessories and clothing, trying to get the attention of the artist and this seemed pretty routine. However, Q, with his number one album and new star persona jumped into the crowd to try to confront the offender. With a packed house, this was impossible and therefore Q resorted to asserting that he hopes "his momma dies tonight." He never came back from this incident and the rest of his set reflected it.

Schoolboy Q's performance last night was much like his album, there were gems such as the showcase of "Blessed" and "Hell Of A Night" that made you appreciate him as an artist, but as a whole there were sections you wished you could just skip over.

Fishscale Anniversary And Its Influence On Hip-Hop

When interviewing artists, I always ask them about their musical influences, as who inspired them to write and fall in love with hip-hop is extremely telling about themselves as artists. I began noticing a pattern; everyone named Ghostface Killah. It’s impossible to love hip-hop and not respect Ghost, but to be named by every single rapper I talked to regardless of their location and age got me thinking. Ghostface is often left out of the normal conversations surrounding the hip-hop greats and that would be a big mistake.

Eight years ago, Ghostface Killah released his fifth studio album: Fishscale. Named for the finest quality of cocaine, Ghost perfects the storytelling drug rap flow that he and Raekwon pioneered in the early 90s.  Twenty-four tracks deep with production by J Dilla, MF Doom, Pete Rock and Just Blaze and guest appearances by the entire Wu-Tang Clan, Ne-Yo and Biggie, Fishscale is undeniably classic caliber.

“Shakey Dog” begins the album and the beat captivates you immediately. By ’06, Killah had long before confirmed his ability to flow over samples and “Shakey Dog” showcases that mastery as Ghost finesses over Johnny Johnson’ and His Bandwagon’s “Love is Blue.” Telling the story of an attempted robbery of Cuban drug dealers with his friend Frank, the imagery is incredible. “These fuckin’ maricons on the couch watching Sanford And Son, Passin’ they rum, fried plantains and rice. Big round onions on a T-bone steak, my stomach growling.” Ghost’s screenplay like flow is at its best on Fishscale.

The Chef is featured all over this album and with “Kilo” the duo demonstrate their in depth knowledge of the drug game. Without a hint of glorification, Ghost differentiates between the small time hustlers versus those dealing with Kilo’s of cocaine and as he eloquently articulates, “whoever got the kilos got the candy man!”
The whole Wu-Tang Clan reunites for “9 Milli Bros” and the gritty New York sound that the clan popularized is so authentic over MF Doom’s “Fenugreek.” The intro takes thirty-five seconds easily as each member, with their distinct timbre, take a turn on the mic in a roll call like format.

Although the standout tracks are when Ghost rides solo. “The Champ” is Killah’s assertion of his reign in hip-hop. Ghost’s rhymes are confident and filled with fire, which is a perfect match for the Just Blaze boxing themed track. Complete with the bell that distinguishes boxing rounds, and a commentator voice proclaiming Ghostface’s title, the production only assists the visual that Ghost paints with his words, which is the true championship of his career.

The numerous skits interspersed are incredible inserts and break up the lengthy album. “Bad Mouth Kid (Skit)“ precedes “Whip You With a Strap” and the skit tells the story of Ghost trying to get a little kid to behave in his car. The latter track is a reflection of Ghostface’s memories of being beaten as a child. Rather than blaming his mom for the abuse, Ghost admits to how much of a difficult child he was and is critical of the lack of punishments kids receive nowadays. The hook “Take me across her lap, beat me with a strap” is as iconic as the J Dilla production and provides a more humble flow compared to the first half of the album.

“Three Bricks” closes Fishscale and it’s as dark as it is thrilling to hear Big’s voice again, especially alongside another stellar storyteller in hip hop. Over “Niggas Bleed” and “Somebody’s Gotta Die,” this track is directly from The Duets cutting board and features the story of Tony, Frank and Lex also known as Ghostface, The Notorious B.I.G. and Raekwon. Rapping their stick up in such detail as only these three can, the “we run the city” line in the intro is one hundred percent accurate.

Ghostface created a masterpiece with Fishscale and provides inspiration for some of the greatest rappers that followed. When mentioning the important albums of all time, Fishscale deserves to be included.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Tribute To The Notorious B.I.G.; Ready To Die 20 Years Later

17 years ago to this day, The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered. Although far too young and at the peak of his music career, what Biggie Smalls left behind remains a legacy that is legendary. 2014 also marks the 20th anniversary of Ready To Die. The albums importance in hip hop can’t be denied and 20 years later, it’s still celebrated.

Ready To Die is one of the greatest debut albums hip hop has ever received. In 1994, Death Row Records had taken over mainstream rap and the crown in NY was wide open for reign. The Notorious B.I.G. held nothing back with his entrance to the industry and he began the resurgence of East Coast hip hop as well as claiming his spot as the new emcee to watch. His storytelling ability was unparalleled and artists for decades following continue to be influenced by his vivid lyrical flow and move-like presentation.

The album begins with “The Intro.” A heartbeat provides the rhythm and Puff’s voice increases in volume with every second as he supports a woman giving childbirth. Curtis Mayfield’s “Super Fly” and Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” fades in painting a picture of Biggie’s childhood. Each track offers more insight into the life of Biggie from “Things Done Changed” where he reflects on the major increase in violence and murders in his community, to the single “Juicy.” The latter samples Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” and brings light to a generally dark album. With simplicity and cadence, Biggie triumphantly describes his success: “celebratin’ every day, no more public housing/ Thinkin’ back to my one-room shack, Now my mom pimps a Ac’ with minks on her back.”

With little features, Ready To Die is Biggie in his rawest form. Although a guest appearance by Method Man on “The What” is an incredible duet expressing the gritty, combative and cocky style that was at the core of 90s hip hop. However, on “Gimme The Loot,” Biggie collaborates with himself, transitioning seamlessly between two characters that plot and then execute a stick up. His lyrical description is at an all time high during this track as he vividly spits scene by scene through the robbery, police interference and shoot out. Ending with a coughing spell from a celebratory blunt, the stick up was successful.

As much as Biggie was a gangster, he was equally a lady’s man. “Me & My Bitch” and “Big Poppa” cater to the women and provide a softer, human dimension to the artist. “Me & My Bitch” tells the story of the ultimate wifey of a hustler who knows no boundaries when it comes to holding it down. With production by The Bluez Brothers, Chucky Thompson and Puffy, Biggie raps with a slight gentleness, making it clear that despite his normal sound, The Notorious was a romantic. “Big Poppa” follows “Me & My Bitch” and his flow is nothing short of iconic. “Things to make you smile, what numbers to dial/ You gon’ be here for a while, I’m gon’ call my crew/You go call your crew/ We can rendezvous at the bar around two.” You can’t help but smile at his smooth pick up lines and charisma that was as infamous as it was effective.

The album ends with arguably, Biggie’s greatest lyrical portrayal. “Suicidal Thoughts” details a frightening phone call between himself and Puff, as Big with exceptional lyricism explains why he’s ready to end his life. Lying, stealing, cheating, Biggie puts all his past crimes on the table and by the end, he’s “sick of talking.” A gunshot overpowers Puff’s pleading and the song ends as the album began, with a heartbeat. Except the rapid heartbeat slows until it’s non-existent and the phone operator is the last voice we hear.

Ready To Die encompasses so many layers sonically and is essentially a movie, showcasing Biggie’s childhood to early fame. This debut solidified him as a lasting presence in the game. The caliber of Ready To Die was why they considered the 90s to be the Golden Era and why Biggie is still a legend today. Although many emcees have tried their hand at the theatrical stories Biggie so eloquently mastered, Big claimed the title in 1994 and still remains today as hip hop’s greatest storyteller.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Redman Talks First Paycheck, The Future of How High 2, Hit Squad's Effect on Hip Hop Collectives

Here's a a special Valentine's Day treat for all the old school hip hop fans. Redman opens up about the lack of support from his father, Hit Squads legacy in the game, details on How High 2 and shares his music releases for 2014. Find out what the Doc's secret dreams are as well as why he claims "you need to be an asshole to make money." With over 15 minutes of a legend and veteran dropping knowledge, this is not an interview you want to miss!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Exclusive Interview With A$AP Ferg; Say's "The Music Lost Soul"

A$AP Ferg details his journey from being a child listening to Biggie and Mary J. Blidge to releasing his debut album Trap Lord. Heavily influenced by his parents and having a background in fine arts and fashion, Ferg is an all around artist who utilizes all mediums. Find out why he didn't show up to the B.E.T. Awards, when he was most at peace & who he wants to collaborate with below!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Exclusive Interview With Action Bronson

Action Bronson began his Blue Chips 2 tour accompanied by Party Supplies a few weeks ago and during his show in Denver I was able to sit down with Bam Bam while he broke down where he came from and where he's going. Only discovering his rapping abilities within the past five years, Action reflected on his many influences, his relationship with Ghostface Killah and his transformation from a chef to an emcee. True to Bronson's New York roots, he held nothing back in this raw and fiery interview with Come Home With Me.

Come Home With Me: “From having money on my mind to money in my pocket.” You even say “no emotion over here.” Tan Leather brings a really different emotional content than what we’re used to from you. Can you talk about the vibe of that song and where you’re coming from.

Action Bronson: It was just pretty much the music. Sean from Party Supplies wrote that on the piano and on the road. I was just in the fuckin’ zone. I don’t try to stay on topic or nothing like that. You know different types of things, they make you feel different things and you rap about it and sing about it in your music.

CHWM: You’re background as a chef is really evident in your music. How did you go from Action in the Kitchen to Action Bronson?

Action Bronson: Who knows? (laughs) It kinda just transformed, I just took a liking to rapping and that was that. I broke the leg in the kitchen and from then on I just became a fuckin’ professional rapper.

CHWM: I wish I could rap.

Action Bronson: Listen, you don’t wanna rap, you have to do things, you have to come here and rap in front of people. You have to go to Salt Lake City and rap in front of people.

CHWM: It’s not fun?

Action Bronson: I love it, but I’m, saying, I have to be away from family and shit like that. But I’m not complaining, it’s a good time. I always wanted to do nothing, I dreamt about doing nothing.

CHWM: What are some of your favorite foods?

Action Bronson: I try new things everyday. But I would say bagel and eggs from my mother man. Just get the bagel from the neighborhood, Utopia bagels, they make the best joints. She cuts it up with the butter knife so you get some edges, some scrambled eggs soft, softly scrambled.

CHWM: With cheese?

Action Bronson: Naw, I’m not the cheese and eggs type of guy.

CHWM: Your knowledge and homage to the past on Dr. Lechter was incredible. I know you’ve mentioned Kool G Rap being a major influence, who else inspired you to pick up the pen?

Action Bronson: Everybody from Wu-Tang from Nas, Mobb Deep, everybody that I listened to when I was young. I knew everybody’s raps by heart, so off top I’m gonna come in the game and I’m gonna fuckin’ rap the way I know until you get your own voice and this and that. I think going back to people always comparing me to Ghostface, that’s an honorable comparison and that’s my man, he’s a fuckin’ stand up human being, I fuck with him heavy. I think people got over that quickly, I mean I wouldn’t be where I’m at if they didn’t.

CHWM: At first the comparisons were really out there, but I feel like they’ve totally disappeared now.

Action Bronson: Ghost is definitely one of my favorite rappers, I can definitely recite entire albums of him, I can recite entire albums of Nas, I can recite entire albums of M.O.P. All these people influenced me in my music and not even Hip Hop shit, things that I listened to growing up, like Spanish music.

CHWM: That’s really clear in even the samples you use.

Action Bronson: All that type of shit, that’s just what I do.

CHWM: Why do you think the Ghostface comparisons stopped so much?

Action Bronson: I don’t know, it’s not something that everybody said, like “omg this is Ghostface reincarnated.” I remind everybody of the Golden Age, that’s just what it is. It’s just what rap use to sound like, the shit that they remember from rap. I got 35 year old men coming up to me, 40 year old men, coming up to me like “oh man you’re the fuckin’ greatest, you remind me of Pun, Nas, Easy-E.” I just remind people of the Golden Age, I’ll never be caught up in that, I’m 3k, I’m not on that old shit.

CHWM: That’s interesting, because this year New York with Hip Hop has gotten huge backlash, but your name has been constantly mentioned as one of the only New York rappers to keep it real. What are your thoughts on that?

Action Bronson: I’m fuckin’ from New York, I don’t give a fuck, that’s rap straight up, bottom line, that’s where rap is from. I don’t care about anything else. Good music is good music, if you make good music, people are gonna like it. It doesn’t have to be mainstream, it doesn’t have to be on the radio 24 fuckin’ 7. You don’t need that to have a career. There’s plenty of people that tread the line. I made a career off the Internet, are you kidding me? It’s a big fuckin’ joke. At the end of the day, just do what you feel, make your art and people are gonna like it or they won’t and that’s really what it is. I been doing this now, first time I put a joint out was three years ago and I always rep New York, I don’t know anything else. So that’s always what I’m gonna do.

CHWM: Are you interested in achieving more mainstream success or radio play?

Action Bronson: I don’t give a fuck about anything honestly, I just do my music and if people like it, they like it. I sometimes shoot myself in the foot, I’m being brutally honest with you right now. You know sometimes motherfuckas be like this song is gold and I be wishy washy. I’m a victim of it, I’m not even gonna front. That’s being brutal. Sometimes you’re your own worst enemy. But you gotta keep your reputation in tact. Because when all this other bullshit is over, you’re only gonna have what you built yourself and your character. That’s the only thing that’s gonna take you through life, is the character that you built. Fuck all that flashy shit, quick money, it’s gonna be gone in two seconds. It’s about longevity.

CHWM: That’s exactly what I was gonna say, it’s about longevity.

Action Bronson: You build fans, you tour a lot. I touch people, I see people everyday. I don’t do interviews, I did this because of the article you wrote about me. You showed me love. That’s why I did this.

CHWM: Wow, I didn’t know you read it, thank you, that’s how much you inspire me. One thing that I found out is that you do graffiti.

Action Bronson: I’ve always done graffiti.

CHWM: Have you ever incorporated your own artwork on your cover art or into your music?

Action Bronson: I incorporate into the music yeah. Everybody that I know is through graffiti, that’s how I met all my friends. If it wasn’t for graffiti, there wouldn’t be any me, any rap. That’s pretty the much the basis of it all. And sometimes it’s corny to be like fuckin’ with the elements. But I met all my homies through graffiti, we all did graffiti together and now we just live life. I do it all over the place, give me a can, I’ll do something right now.

CHWM: Let’s get this man a can haha. But your imagination is so vivid, how do you develop the elaborate stories you tell in your songs?

Action Bronson: I’m an only child, you have to have an imagination. You gotta make stories up and play lands. You just smoke weed and fuckin’ sit there. I look at things differently. I know everybody’s gonna say that, but I really do look at things differently.

CHWM: One of my favorite moments of Blue Chips 2 is the Practice rant. 2013 was the ten-year anniversary of the original press release and it’s so damn epic. I know this tape was a collab with Party Supplies but did you have input on some of the hilarious samples?

Action Bronson: Absolutely, we worked together on that shit. We would be sitting there going through records, going through samples, going through music, we just do it together. The whole project was done collaboratively.

CHWM: Dope, it was dope to have him here tonight too.

Action Bronson: He’s amazing, he’s on tour with him. Hopefully I can bring him through Australia and through Europe and hopefully Japan. I wanna bring him everywhere. He deserves it and he fuckin’ rips it up on the fuckin’ guitar. That’s a big part of the show right there. I’m gonna do “[Amadu] Diablo” with the defender.

CHWM: One of my favorite lines is “My silhouette resembles Jesus in all seasons.” You’ve kind of pioneered this sub genre of Hip Hop, incredibly lyrical but also really hilarious material. Is that a conscious decision to be a comedic rapper?

Action Bronson: That’s just my personality. You have to let yourself show in your music or else what are you doing it for? I don’t make candy shit. I write what I feel at the time. It might not always have a structure all the time, but there’s some sort of melodic element. It’s always gonna make you laugh or something’s gonna make you go “wooh what?” You go through a lot of emotions listening to me. It’s like a soap opera. It’s like daytime TV but good daytime TV, like Days of our Lives, All My children, Dynasty, it makes you feel like that.

CHWM: So is there a TV show in the future?

Action Bronson: Who knows man, I’m trying to get fuckin’ actor money. So why not? I can do it. If Ja Rule, if Coolio can be in a fuckin’ movie, I can be in a movie.

CHWM: What movie would you create?

Action Bronson: I don’t know, some sort of obscure sports maybe. Something like Worlds Strongest Man, that’s like very depressed. I have to go through my mind for the script, I can’t give it all out.

CHWM: Next interview we’ll talk about that. You mentioned before you’re been on tour almost nonstop and I’m pretty sure I’ve made it to every tour, but what always amazes me is how genuine and thrilling your performance is every time. How do you keep your set authentic performing every night and often the same songs?

Action Bronson: These songs I’m doing now off Blue Chips 2 are pretty new, I haven’t performed them at any other place. I haven’t performed for the whole last three months of the year. So this is all fresh to me, I don’t practice, I just literally go out and do the show.

CHWM: You the franchise player.

Action Bronson: Exactly, I’ve got to this level, we know that I can rap. It’s not like I’m over here fuckin’ around. You know I’m gonna come through and rap. I’m not gonna rap over my adlibs. I’m gonna rap over a beat, just my voice, nothing else is playing, just me the whole time for an hour. And I go out there and I adlib, whatever the moment is, that’s all I do. I don’t got out and fuckin’ plan my shit, it don’t work for me.

CHWM: So it’s natural for you?

Action Bronson: It’s natural.

CHWM: Has it always been natural?

Action Bronson: I don’t know. I just started, I just found out.

CHWM: You just started? You had one hell of a year…

Action Bronson: I pretty much just recently found out in the past five years that I could rap.

CHWM: Yeah I mean 2013 was huge for you.

Action Bronson: If that was huge then fuck I need to be doing some work.

CHWM: So what’s next?

Action Bronson: Work. I’m touring a hell of a lot, I’m not gonna be home for like two months now. I gotta turn in an album and get ready for that. Japan, Australia, New Zealand twice, two different times. That fifteen-hour flight is not looking good right now.

CHWM: Do you get first class?

Action Bronson: Fuck you think? You think I fly coach? No chance. I been flying first class for two years now. I haven’t always had it, but now I have to fly first class. I need fuckin’ famous chefs curating the menu on the flight.

CHWM: Give a shoutout

Action Bronson: Shout her, she’s the best. We out here.

Much love to Action Bronson for keeping it real and consistently putting out dope music. If you haven't already, download Blue Chips 2 now and check out the tour announcement video below.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Earl Sweatshirt Brings Out Tyler The Creator, Domo Genesis, Jasper Dolphin and Taco

Earl Sweatshirt’s solo tour stopped at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Monday evening and the majority under aged crowd packed out the venue chanting for Odd Future’s arrival. As the start of the show time came and passed, rumors began milling around that the hold up was due to a surprise appearance by Odd Future’s front man Tyler, The Creator.

At about 10:30, Taco, the charismatic DJ, took the stage to hype up the already crazed crowd with Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson and Drake. After several intense mosh pit sessions, Earl blazed the stage and performed every song from his discography. Domo Genesis, also in the building, joined him for “Knight” and “Wave Caps.” Early on in his set, Earl performed some of his darker and deeper records like “Sunday” and “Hive,” which were received incredibly despite the intensely energized crowd.

Tyler rushed the stage to perform his verses on “Sasquatch” and “Whoa” and together they were rock stars, showcasing such an authentic energy that was exhilarating for everyone in the audience. Tyler jumped on every surface possible, and Taco and Jasper Dolphin grabbed mics for the hilarious “Bitch Suck Dick.” Although Earl undeniably killed it, he was no match for Tyler’s comic dance moves consisting of a blend of twerking, two stepping and rock star staples.

Earl proclaimed, “this would really be the last song, because he only made like 20.” But of course, after the crew left the stage and an Odd Future chant manifested, Doms, Tyler, Earl, Jasper and Taco all returned for the grand finale featuring Tyler’s “Tamale.” Tyler urged the crowd to remain composed until the beat dropped and when that beat did in fact drop, it was pure mayhem in the best way possible.   

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Trademark Da Skydiver Recalls Drawing Inspiration From Method Man's Tical 2

Peep The Full Article At HipHopDx

Exclusive: Trademark Da Skydiver points to his growth on "Flamingo Barnes 2" and lessons learned while watching Curren$y's monthly mixtape run.

On November 19, 2013 Trademark Da Skydiver digitally released Flamingo Barnes 2: Mingo Royale. The New Orleans product spent extensive time as a member of Curren$y’s Jets collective, but by the fall of 2013, fellow Jets member Young Roddy was on a solo tour while Trademark found himself partnering with iHipHop distribution for an iTunes release of his latest product.

“It’s kind of like you have a blueprint for what you need to do in this game in order to be successful,” Trademark said of witnessing Spitta’s monthly mixtape run. “It happened right in front of our faces. It’s just taking that on top of your own knowledge, your own niche and creativity and just doing what you need to do in order to be successful.”

“The Super Villain” says he’s sure the Jets will reconnect when they’re done building up their individual brands to make music again. In the meantime, Trademark his handling his business. He’s signed Blizz to his own imprint, looking to tour and hoping to showcase his versatility behind the microphone now that he has an expanded platform.

Trademark Da Skydiver Says Flamingo Barnes Shows His Versatility

HipHopDX: Let’s start off with something familiar. On “Rite Nah,” you said, “On the come up, getting my funds up, bitch my time is now, right now…” Can you talk about that line and the general idea of “Flamingo Barnes?”
Trademark Da Skydiver: I’m always doing some come up shit. I believe everybody should be working towards whatever goal they trying to achieve. Do it now. You’ve been planning all your life, and too many people take too much time off planning and putting shit together when it just needs to be action. That’s what that line is about…just action. It’s time for action. Flamingo Barnes—just the project as a whole—is showing versatility. It’s showing I can do multiple things, and I can come from multiple angles. I have multiple ideas. It’s just me putting my ideas into reality.
DX: How much do Trademark and Flamingo Barnes go hand in hand? Or this is a new persona much more true to yourself?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Nah, it’s a persona that’s me now. Me being with the Jets for so long, we kept up a particular persona. We had a particular style that we created, and we was true to that. In everybody’s career there comes a time to try different things, trials and ideas that you’ve been sitting on that you weren’t able to try, because everything was such a group effort. You never wanna push the team aside for your own personal things, but it just comes a time to when it’s time to do that. It’s time to give it a shot and see what you can do on your own.
DX: With this new solo persona, where does that leave Trademark Da Skydiver in terms of Jet Life?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Everything is cool. Jet Life is fam, and it’ll always be fam. I’m there whenever needed, when it’s time for us to do Jets, we’ll do Jets. In the meantime, I’m just focused on Trademark and what I need to do. I have a label that I need to get off the ground. I’ve been having this label, sitting on it. So it’s time for me to just run my business.
DX: So are you representing other artists on this label?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Yeah, I have an artist featured on the project right now named Blizz. I have a song with him, the “Million $ Man” joint. He was on the Above The Clouds compilation, and he doing numbers, so everything’s good. He’s making noise right now with little or no promotion, ‘cause we were focused on the Flamingo Barnes joint. He’s promising. I gotta take care of my business. I have business out there that just lingering, and I can’t have that.
DX: Tracks on the album, “Doin’ Me” and “Best Believe” address haters and fake people. How much of this album was a reaction to real life situations?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Everything in art is a reaction to real life situations as it pertains to me. I mean, we all go through things in life, and we may touch on it immediately, or we may touch on it later on in life. Whenever the time is right. It wasn’t said to be guided to anybody directly. It wasn’t no shit like that. It was just me speaking on general situations. Everybody encounters haters, and everybody encounters people telling ‘em what they can and what they can’t do. I was pretty much just speaking on that, and everybody can relate to that. I’m more than sure everybody has dealt with that once or twice in they lifetime.

How Trademark Used Features To Boost His Brand As A Soloist

DX: You talked about your artist being featured, but you’ve also got some other major features, Smoke DZA, Spitta, but also a lot of new artists like Dizzy Wright, Bodega Bamz and Domo Genesis. How were those experiences?
Trademark Da Skydiver: It was dope. Shout out to everybody that participated in the project, because it was all love. It was kosher. I’ve been rockin’ with Domo, and we got a mutual homie through Smoke DZA and shit. That’s how I made that part with him. Ben T brought out the homie Dizzy Wright; he had a connection through him…through a label. It’s just about getting out and making that connection. Real recognize real.
DX: This is the second installment to the series, are you already planning a part three?
Trademark Da Skydiver: We’ll see where it goes. Like I said, I’m always working on new things, and I always have ideas. If the timing is right, we’ll go ahead and put it out, and if not, we’ll try a new thing. It just never stops, because your brain is always working. We always coming out with new things. I think it’s just really about putting things out there and not really trying to hone in on one particular thing. Just show your range, and give people a wide variety of music to choose from.
DX: Are you thinking about venturing into any other styles or fusions of genres?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Not really. I wouldn’t even consider Flamingo Barnes to be any type of particular genre. It’s just what I created; it’s just what I was feeling at the time. A lot of people like to say it have a trap sound because of the particular types of beats. They don’t really know how to classify the beats. So whenever you hear something with an 808 in it and some snares, you just automatically call it trap music, which is crazy, ‘cause trap music is music about the trap. So I don’t understand how people can even compare it to trap music. But I listen to trap music. I listen to all different types of music, so it’s all good with me. Whatever people feel comfortable listening to it, whatever genre they need to put it in, that’s fine with me. I just call it the Flamingo Barnes genre.
DX: That’s what’s up. You seem to know a lot about production; have you ever dabbled in that or thought about going down that road?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Actually, maybe like a couple months ago, I probably took two or three weeks to try dip and dabble into it. And it’s not as easy as you think.
DX: Yeah, I definitely don’t think it’s easy.
Trademark Da Skydiver: It’s not easy, you be like, “Yo, I’m about to download this, make this beat and make what I hear in my head,” and it don’t work like that. It really made me appreciate people who go hard in production every day and actually create the foundation for me to lay down my work.

Trademark Points To Lessons Learned Working With Curren$y

DX: “No Sleep” was another big single for you featuring the Jet Life members. Can we expect another full joint project soon?
Trademark Da Skydiver: I mean everybody’s kinda doing they thing, trying to find they way and trying to put they self on the map. But when the timing is right, I’m more than sure of it. Definitely be on the lookout for that. But I just think that right now everybody’s trying to big themselves up and to make the Jet brand and the Jet Life family even more. We’ll see. I’m more than sure it’ll happen if it makes sense and the timing is right. We’ll just have to see what everybody’s doing. It’s so many moving parts and so many artists. So to kind of get everybody together on the same page and focus on that, we’ll see what’s good.
DX: How does it feel to have been a member of the Jets since Curren$y first did his monthly mixtape run up until to now, when the crew is seeing more success?
Trademark Da Skydiver: It’s a great feeling to be a part of that, to see it happen, to witness it. It’s tight. It’s kind of like you have a blueprint for what you need to do in this game in order to be successful. It happened right in front of our faces. It’s just taking that on top of your own knowledge, your own niche and creativity and just doing what you need to do in order to be successful. You firsthand seen the do’s and don’ts. You seen what work and what doesn’t work on a much bigger scale, on a level that you trying to be on. I think it’s great, and it’s a hell of a start.
DX: Were there any groundbreaking records for you or projects or studio sessions, where you were like, “This rapping thing is about to happen, or this music is really inspiring?”
Trademark Da Skydiver: I’m the type of individual where I like to keep my head down and stay working. I like to stay busy, and I don’t like to get ahead of myself, because everything I do, I feel like is the shit. That’s just how I feel, but at the end of the day, it’s not up to you. It’s up to the audience you’re trying to appeal to. It’s up to the fans to decide what’s hot and what’s not. I never get into the zone to where I’m like, “This is the shit that’s gonna win everybody over.” I stay away from that and just focus on what I do—what I’m good at—keep my head down, and just keep moving forward. I stay busy and stay working.
DX: In the “No Sleep” interview, you talked about missing a lot of opportunities growing up. Can you elaborate on that?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Well, growing up in New Orleans is tough no matter what part of New Orleans you’re from. I mean just anywhere growing up is tough as a youngin’. You kinda get caught up in shit that don’t matter. But you think it matter right there in that moment. I could have been rapping and pursuing my dreams, but I was caught up in doing other things. I wasn’t no d-boy, and I wasn’t on the block slingin’ bricks. But I was mischievous, and I was into other shit like pilling up cars…just take your whole car and would try to sell it type shit. That was many, many, many moons ago…a long time ago. I been off that for a minute, and ain’t no need for us to speak on that. I don’t even need to glorify that. But just growing up, you miss out on so many things because you think what you doing at the time is what you need to be doing. If I could just go back and work on my craft [at the ages of] 11, 12, 13, it would just been a different thing. But I don’t regret anything I went through in life, because it made me the man I am today. So I’m not even trippin’ off that. It’s all good.

How Trademark Was Influenced By His Cousin & Method Man’s “Tical 2”

DX: How did you get out of that and into rapping?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Just being a fan of it. Since like eight or nine-years-old. I had a cousin that was in the navy, ‘cause growing up in New Orleans—especially back then—all you’re exposed to was New Orleans music. Maybe outside of New Orleans music, I mean we knew about 8Ball and UGK. But all that was rockin’ in people’s cars was No Limit and Cash Money when everybody was still local and on they come up. My cousin put me on to Wu-Tang Clan early, as a youngin’. Just listening to that, getting older and peepin’ shit out, I was like, “Yo, let me try my hand at that.” Ever since the first song I wrote, I just knew this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
DX: It just felt right.
Trademark Da Skydiver: It just felt right. So I was just like, “Word. This what it is.”
DX: At what age did you start writing?
Trademark Da Skydiver: I would say around like 15.
DX: You talked about Wu-Tang, but did mostly New Orleans rappers really influence your sound?
Trademark Da Skydiver: During the time it was more of a New York influence, because at a point in time, that was all I was listening to. I mean, you can’t escape the sound of your city, because it’s everywhere you go. I’m not saying I was trying to escape it, but kind of a mixture of everything that I was on the time. It was really when Method Man dropped that Tical 2: Judgment Day. That shit really inspired me to pick up the pencil, try to write something and put something together. That was the particular project that did it for me.
DX: That’s dope that you remember that. Getting back to Flamingo Barnes, is there a Flamingo Barnestour in your future?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Yeah for sure. We trying to put it together at the beginning of this year. We trying to get out around like March and we’ll see what’s good. We’re trying to hit every city and Canada too. Everything is in the works right now, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.
DX: Issue #1 was your debut mixtape, and since then you’ve released music under several guises. Do you still connect with your Super Villain and Trademark Da Skydiver music?
Trademark Da Skydiver: Yeah, for sure. It’s a part of me. It’s not gonna ever leave, but you also have to make room for new things to blossom. You kinda have to just mix it all up, take the best parts from everything and put that together with the new sound you’re trying to do. You put it out there and see what it does. That’s what I like to do, personally.

DX: In the Rap world, where most claim kings, why use the alias “The Super Villian?”
Trademark Da Skydiver: Just because of my persona, the way I come off and my past as well. That’s just the way that I feel. It’s kinda like a “me against the world” type feeling. You just go through so much—people telling you what you can and can’t do—and they want you to do this and that. But you wind up doing what you wanna do. So it kind of makes you feel like the villain out of everybody who’s trying to get you to do one thing, and you doing another thing. It’s just that rebellious spirit that’s in everybody…just letting it come out, and let people know I don’t really care about how you feel about this or that. I’m gonna do me and that’s that.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Interview With Thaddeus Dixon

I sat down with the LA based musician and producer, Thaddeus Dixon, to discuss “Violations,” the new track he produced for Talib Kweli’s new album and to get some insight on his merge from being a touring drummer to now also a breakout producer. At age 29, Dixon is no new artist to the industry, but 2013 was certainly his re-introduction to the music world as a producer on the rise and not just the man behind the drums.

Let’s begin with the most recent, “Violations,” the track you produced for Talib Kweli, which also has the legendary Raekwon featured on it. How did you get connected with Talib? And was this your first collab with him and Raekwon?

I started working with Talib playing drums on tour with him. A friend of mine from Detroit, who’s also a producer. I think Talib’s drummer couldn’t make it so he called him and he couldn’t make it and that’s my homie so he called me like “yo Talib Kweli needs a drummer for these dates.” So that’s how we started working together. But you know I was getting my production game up, trying to get placements and stuff like that. So over about a year, I was sending him records whenever I had something that I thought would fit him. He hit me up and was like “yo, I’m writing to one of your records.” And I was like ‘oh that’s dope, go ahead.’ And then he hit me back like “yeah Raekwon’s gonna be on it.” He sent me the record back once they finished it. I loved it, I didn’t even know he was working on the album or nothing like that.

That’s dope that Talib just casually called you to let you know not only was he using your record, but Rae was featured on it. Can you talk about the creative process. How did violations, the production come about?

I heard some stuff and that inspired me to create this track. It was like the perfect sound, perfect everything came together all at once. Everything was just perfect, I had all the ingredients to make this record. I sent this record out to a lot of different artists.

That’s actually my next question, who else did you shop the record to or was it originally made for Talib?

Yeah, I shopped it to a lot of R&B artists and rap artists. That was one of my best records that I produced. Even if it wasn’t an artist necessarily that I felt it was particularly for, I still sent it to them. But Talib picked it up, so it’s his now and Raekwon jumping on it was out of the blue. I did the track in Los Angeles, I did it about a year ago and they recorded the vocals in New York. And they sent it back to me and I put my voice and I put some stuff on it, changed a couple things and I sent the files back to them in New York so they could mix it and that’s how it came about.

So you knew even before Talib picked this up that this was a hit record, you knew this was something great?

I did, I knew it was just a matter of time. I mean it’s a gamble, you can think it’s so great. But I mean I knew it was that great, because some people would write on it, some people it just wasn’t for, but from a lot of people and out of all the records I sent to people, I got good feedback and positive vibes on that record. I did know it was a dope ass record and whoever get it, get it and it was gonna be a dope ass record for them. It was that type of beat, it wasn’t just like an okay beat where it had to be dope ass lyrics or vocals to make it next level. The beat was dope on its own.

How was it to not only produce for two legends in hip hop but to see the incredible feedback that the record received? Not just from peers and colleagues who heard it before Talib released the album, but that was the single, I saw it on every major site with your name on it.

It felt really good, it was validation. It validated me as a producer and introduced me. I’m a new producer. I been playing drums for a long time with different artists from Ne-Yo, to Sean Kingston, to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, to Talib, for a whole bunch of motherfuckas. But the touring world is different from the producing world. It validated me as a producer and It let me know as well as others know that this n***gas dope. I mean I had a relationship with Talib but it wasn’t to the point where we me and him were cousins or brothers and he was gonna automatically put me on and make sure my beat was on his album. I had to earn it.

Not only did you prove yourself to Talib but you proved yourself as a dope producer on the rise. Your musical background, you talked about a lot already but it’s really evident on “Violations.” I know you play the drums do you play any other instruments?

I play keys as a producer but not as a touring musician.

Kind of in that same idea, you've also toured as a musician, are you stepping away from being a performance musician to focus on production or are still in both lanes?

I’m in both lanes. You know you only got so many hours in the day. I been calling myself a producer for awhile because I can produce and I do produce. But you have to dedicate time to that and it’s a craft and you have to develop that craft. Like dancing, you have to go to class to practice your shit, just because you know how to dance doesn’t mean you’re a dancer. So I said if I wanted to be taken seriously, and seriously submit records, then I have to put a little more time into this. I don’t think it took away from me playing drums or touring, my focus went to production while I wasn’t touring. Because it’s hard to tour and produce. It was hard to do both, I’m not shying away from playing drums, I just have been a little more focused on production. Like in February I’ll probably be going back out on tour. So it’s just a give and take relationship. I go out on the road to play drums, when I come back I’m producing.

That’s amazing to really be active and successful in two careers in the same industry but still two totally different careers. So you explained you always produced, but you needed the time to really perfect your craft. How did you first get into production or say okay now I’m gonna focus on this?

I was a musician first. I didn’t wake up and be like “Oh, I wanna make beats and let me get this and this so I can make beats.” I been in music all my life so I was always a musician. The end of high school going into to college is when I really started trying to get into production, recording and producing and making beats. Actually my first placement was with an Indie/major label but it was as I was a freshmen in college for Patrice Wilson who is a gospel singer, and it was written b J Moss.

That was the first foot in the door. Who were some major influences growing up to get into production?

I would say definitely Kanye West, Just Blaze, Timbaland, Dark Child, Teddy Riley, Dallas Austin, Mario Winans.

Dope, that’s a great list. But “Violations” was a huge breakout record for you, what are other standout either records, moments or studio sessions that changed the game for you?

The beginning of this year I was on tour with Cody Simpson on the Justin Beiber tour and that ended at the end of March. I co-wrote a record on Ariana Grande’s album, I produced Teedra Moses’ new single. 2013 was my introductory year into people knowing that I produce, but I feel like 2014 is the time for me to really make my mark. This is the year where I make my name a little bit more known and get more placements. I got a record coming out with Teedra Moses and Rick Ross coming out next year. I’m excited about that because it’s Rick Ross, he rapping on my beat. I made that beat and he rapping on that. Its not no remix or no friend of a friend, they sent me his raw vocals to mix it and do everything on my beat.

I think nowadays producers are receiving more recognition for their talent & hard work, have you noticed that shift in the industry?

Yeah, producers are getting shine. Producers are really the one who’s delivering the record, the artist is the face. The artist is the representation of the record. That’s just like with any company, you have the CEOs and the workers, but when it comes time to be on television, you have a spokesperson. Tiger Woods is the face on Nike Golf, but there are other people behind it who make the engine run. Producers are becoming more popular. You have producers like Swizz Beats and Timbaland and few other producers, who are artists within their own light. You see them and hear their voices on the record. It gives producers the shine, which is definitely a good thing.

I agree, producers work so hard and I’m glad people are starting to recognize them. But last question, who are some artists you wanna produce for in the future?

I’m not biased, there’s so many artists that I enjoy musically. There are hundreds of artists from the popular ones to those less popular that I would love to work with. But right now, I really don’t give a fuck who I work with, I just wanna make good music. Because the music will bring the recognition, I just want people to like it. If you’re open to working with me, we gonna make something dope.

Give a shoutout.

I just wanna shoutout everybody who supports me and believes in me and I wanna give a shoutout to “Come Home With Me” for having interest enough in me and my music to do this interview and who I believe sees the vision thoroughly and one day “Come Home With Me” is gonna have one of the first interviews of me. You got dibbs.

2014 is going to be an exciting year for Thaddeus Dixon. Check out his YouTube and Soundcloud page to keep up with this talented producer and musician. Also we've got the official "Violations" stream below.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wu Year's Eve: Method Man, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon

At exactly midnight, Wu-Tang Clan members Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and affiliate Street Life blazed the stage to wish everyone at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom a very happy Wu Years. Despite all the members being over 40 as Method Man emphasized, they were vibrant and rocked the venue for almost two hours.

Method Man is categorized as being the greatest hip hop performer in history, among Redman and Busta Rhymes and he proved why last night. Crowd surfing, joining the mosh pit, spitting his verses on top of stereos, performing actually really dope old school dance moves and possessing a stage presence that was so natural and charming, he shined bright and his brothers Ghostface and Rae who are much more reserved, were happy to support him as a true team does. Although very sweetly and boy band like, the members including Street Life did a two-step in unison as soon as “Reunited” came on.

Their DJ, Allah Mathematics, in classic hip hop form, did a whole DJ set dedicated to the late and great Jam Master Jay who was Run-D.M.C.’s DJ as well as one of the most respected DJ’s in history. Scratching records with his nose, with his hands behind his back and doing other incredible tricks while simultaneously creating a dope beat, the whole set reminded me of the scene in Juice during the DJ competition, back when DJing was an art form and a founding principle in hip hop.

Wu-Tang was so gracious of the sold out crowd that number one they chose to spend their New Years with Wu and also that they chose to spend the first day of marijuana being officially legal in Colorado. Because of the special occasion, Method Man introduced a new concept: the DJ would play any random song from the Wu-Tang repertoire and based on the crowd’s reaction, they would decide whether to perform that track or not. Of course, “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing Ta F’ Wit’” got unanimous cheer.

Highlights of the evening were the Ol’ Dirty Bastard tribute, “dedicated to our brother and yours” as Meth articulated and Ghostface sought an audience member who could spit ODB’s verse in “Protect Ya Neck.” Countless people hopped on the stage only to second guess themselves and be dismissed, before finally, after about five people in, a completely wasted older man demolished the verse and the rest of the clan could perform the classic.

The sound at times was distorted and they kept having to ask for the mics to be turned up, but nonetheless the show was incredible. To say the venue was turned up would be an understatement. Legendary hip hop performers, New Year’s Eve, belligerently wasted hip hop heads and an abundance of weed had Cervantes on another level. In a music era where hip hop groups are lacking, it was nostalgic to see Wu-Tang Clan twenty years later still bonded and still doing performances. The aspect of family between them was crystal clear as their transitions were seamless and whether it was a quick mic swap or taking on the role as the hype man/ad-libber during someone else’s verse, they supported each other every step of the way. Wu Year’s Eve was the perfect way to bring in 2014, providing hip hop history while preparing us for a whole new year of music.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Regional Hip Hop Is On Its Way Out

Rap reflected its location in the 90s and early 2000s. The sound of New York had a distinct style as did the South and the West Coast. New York had the boom bap beat and the grimy yet lyrical wordplay, where the South made trap and crunk music popular with the 808s and party content, and Cali flourished with Gangsta Rap and its laid back, melodic flow.  Even outside of the three major Mecca’s of hip hop, smaller locations sprouted such as Detroit and Houston representing a different but defined sound that was confined to the area. Hip hop was nowhere near predictable, but chances are you could identify a rapper’s origins by his flow, content and beat selection.

Nowadays, when emcees are just a soundcloud away and producers can tweet any artist their beat, the regional lines in hip hop are getting very blurry. A$AP Rocky was found at first innovative for his clearly Houston influenced sound and flow and then somewhat scrutinized for being a New York native and not representing any of the characteristics of NY hip hop. Big K.R.I.T. stands as one of the most lyrical rappers in the game and despite hailing from Mississippi, his music is deep and thoughtful, completely opposite from the typical crunk music that the south became famous for. Detroit, known for its aggressive and even filthy sound, G.O.O.D. Music’s Big Sean has been the front runner from the city for some time now while making music that is playful and catchy. And there's Freddie Gibbs, one of the most respected gangsta rappers out right now with roots in Gary, Indianna.

Although some artists are insistent on bringing back the sounds of the city, as A$AP Nast most recently showcased with his single “Trillmatic” featuring Method Man, the regional distinctions in hip hop are on their way out. There are no characteristics of New York sound right now and the same goes for the other regions as well. Producers are sending their beats all over the country and artists are having the freedom to not only be inspired by hip hop everywhere but it has expanded the rap genre immensely. More sub-genres are being created which is much more defined by lyrical content and flow than location. Some of the most popular turn up rappers (which is similar to crunk music) are from NY, real talk and the gangsta rap genres also include artists from all over and in 2013 there has been a huge rise in emcees crossing into other genres completely.

The boom bap style of production will always be iconic as will the rise of gansta rap and trap music, yet as hip hop is continuing to evolve, it’s exciting to see artists break out of the boxes that confined their sound to their location. I’m glad that artistry and inspiration is being prioritized. There has been a lot of backlash surrounding the New York hip hop scene this year and it’s important to welcome new styles and sounds as the music continues to grow. Although I love a good retro flow, allow artists to be who they are, which is not necessarily defined by where they come from.