Devore, CA – Rooted in the Atlanta rap scene, the Crunk Juice era was one the more memorable periods in Hip Hop history. From “Crunk Juice” and “Real Nigga Roll Call” to “Lovers And Friends,” Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz provided the ultimate soundtrack for 2004.
As Chris Rock screams on the project, “We stay in the club. We live in the club. We die in the club. We get our car washed in the club. We go to school in the club”… you get the point. Turning up wasn’t just a weekend activity, it was a lifestyle.
Fast forward to 2017, and the 46-year-old rapper-turned-DJ still has the same love and passion for music. Only this time, his focus is not solely Hip Hop.
On Sunday (August 6), HipHopDX caught up with Lil Jon (real name Jonathon Smith) at the HARD Summer musical festival, moments after Jon unexpectedly hit the stage during Party Favor’s explosive set on the Green Stage. While talking about his newfound passion for EDM, he admits he didn’t see rapping in his future.
“I never thought I was going to be a Hip Hop artist — period,” Lil Jon says. “I was just a young dude from Southwest Atlanta, growing up. Kind shy. I ended up getting into DJing. And DJing get me into producing. And DJing also get me into working with record companies. I started with So So Def.”
He adds, “You kind never know where your path is going to take you. You start on this path and then it will just take you in different directions. I’ve always been someone that never put myself in a box. If you look at my resume and production that I’ve done, I’ve worked with all kinds artists — black, white, Latinos, whatever. So I think I’m one the few Hip Hop artists it’s not surprising to see that can dabble in EDM. I got a lot EDM records I’ve done, a lot EDM/trap records I’ve done.”
Although the “Turn Down For What” maestro was unable to pinpoint the exact moment he got into EDM, he quickly draws comparison to his first love — Hip Hop.
“I don’t know when I really fell in love with EDM, but I used to just go check out different DJs,” he says. “The way people were having a good time reminded me Hip Hop in the early days. I just got f stage, and everybody from the front and back is having a good time. Nobody’s standing around trying to Snapchat. Everyone is genuinely partying and fucking getting lit. That’s what music is about. We supposed to dance. Not put it on social media. We supposed to have fun — not put it on social media. I think that’s what initially made me fall in love with it. Just the energy the crowd and the people, and just really good music that was being made.”
He continues to defends his case, but admits he’s still cool with social media.
“I don’t have a problem with social media,” he explains. “I just think social media has become a distraction from really having a party. You can go to a club and you see a group people, they’ll turn up on their Snapchat, and then get right back to just chilling. I don’t get that. We come to the club to party — to have a good time. So I think technology has become a distraction from letting ourselves get loose and have a good time.”
When asked his thoughts on Hov’s new 4:44 album, Lil Jon had nothing but praise.
“The JAY-Z is good,” he says. “That’s what Hip Hop is about. It’s about having different levels and different kinds everything. Everybody had different styles. Nobody had the same style. You can listen to X-Clan, and then you can listen to 2 Live Crew, and you can listen to something else. It’s good to have diversity. So course, that’s a great album.”
REZZ flouts convention and asserts her musical dominance in 'Mass Manipulation' [Interview + Album Review] – Dancing Astronaut
It’s a question that musicians, critics, and fans alike have pored over throughout the artist’s brief, but momentous musical tenure. Once dubbed by the masses as the “female Gesaffelstein,” Isabelle Rezazadeh has since transcended this reductive – albeit, highly laudable – characterization, to create a style that is entirely her own.
“People used to compare me to Gesaffelstein, but we don’t sound alike at all in my opinion,” told us in a conversation earlier this year. “There are some similarities… we both make dark music.” The 22-year-old producer further noted that she’s outgrown the phase her career in which it is necessary, or even accurate to liken her music to that other artists: “I find that as late, I’m the one being compared to. I find that lately people are saying, ‘You sound like Rezz.’”
Today, August 4, marks the biggest milestone Isabelle Rezazadeh’s career to date, as she releases her debut album, Mass Manipulation. And, while she’s far past the point in her career when she was consistently – and inaccurately – referred to as “dark queen techno,” the eight-track mau5trap LP puts forth her innate, authentic sound with greater strength and clarity than ever before in her career.
Like any true artist, REZZ arrives at her signature sound through adhering to an intangible, but indomitable vision – one which comes from a psychedelic headspace that she describes as “almost inhuman.”
“It’s this part my brain that I just can see and hear a certain vibe music and sounds… and I’m really inspired by that,” she asserts. “I want to get as much music out that part my brain as I can.”
To attempt a reduction REZZ’s music into typical genre stereotypes is to wallow in futility. In the producer’s own words, her music is “all very slow paced and chill and vibey, and it] sucks you right in. It’s almost like a hypnotic] void… you’re gone, but you’re all there, all at the same time.”
“That’s how I feel, that’s how I want other people to feel, and that’s what I’m inspired by,” she continues. “That’s the main thing i’m super inspired by, just getting my vision out there in the most accurate way possible.”
In terms her modus operandi, it still makes sense to liken REZZ to Gesaffelstein. The vision which drives her necessitates that she integrate her authentic musical inspirations with her live show and overall aesthetic – arguably, her own sort Gesamtkunstwerk. And, like Gesaffelstein, a major way through which REZZ achieves this mission is through an emphasis on raw minimalism.
“I love simplicity in music. I think it can be very heavy hitting and to the point… obviously complex tunes can be cool too, but I like simplicity in everything,” says Rezazadeh. “Simplicity in mindset, simplicity in clothing, simplicity in the way you present yourself. It’s totally a lifestyle.”
“ I feel like I’m making music that is telling people how to feel.”
Throughout Mass Manipulation, REZZ achieves her vision, in part, by channeling her passion for psychology. The artist acknowledges that her interest in cognitive science has made her “aware her] feelings, why she reacts] to things a certain way, and why other people react to things a certain way.” A knowledge which, when harnessed properly, has allowed her “to evolve as a person and a producer, stay focused and motivated, and not lose track her] vision.”
Thematically, Rezazadeh’s album pinpoints the nexus between expressing her own feelings authentically and determining her audience’s reaction to their musical manifestation on a visceral level. “ I feel like I’m making music that is telling people how to feel,” she says. “I just want me, my music and everything about my brand to be based around hypnotizing the masses through my music,” she says. And, from the album’s hauntingly mesmerizing opener, “Relax,” the artist successfully endeavors to do just that.
When prompted to tell the story Mass Manipulation in her own words, REZZ states, “It’s more a reaction or commentary to modern consumption habits. We trade more in ideas and media than tangible things, so this is my intangible idea how existence looks – or could look.”
Those who follow REZZ religiously are already well-versed in the canon her debut album. In a fervently-followed album rollout, the artist provided her first impressions on “how existence looks” by released the first half her album.
Over the course the past month, Rezazadeh’s newly-released album singles – “Relax,” “Diluted Brains,” “Premonition,” and “Drugs!” – have become as important a facet her musical catalogue as any other songs released in the past three years. Meanwhile, hitherto unreleased songs such as “Green Gusher” and “Synesthesia” have been staples in her sets for quite some time.
As a whole, the album traverses REZZ’s aforementioned musical vision, from the sinister psychedelia “Drugs!” and “Green Gusher,” to the quaking minimalism “Ascension” and “Diluted Brains.”
Additionally, the album plays host to what very well may be the most virulent production Rezazadeh’s career thus far, “Livid.” In this maniacal, menacing track, REZZ has arguably achieved her most memorable output since 2016’s “Edge,” and has, once again, demonstrated the true breadth her abilities.
With the thoughtful construction Mass Manipulation, and with the visceral draw songs like “Livid,” Isabelle Rezazadeh has proven that she’s far past the leap from “rising star” to dance music icon. Yet, despite her swift evolution to this artistic phase, the artist’s recruitments on the album indicate that she is still in touch with her inner bedroom producer.
More vocally than most her peers within the industry, REZZ has used her highly-publicized album as a platform to highlight dark horse producers. She invites up-and-comers Knodis, 13, and Kotek on “,” “,” and “Ascension,” respectively. By prominently including the aforementioned as collaborators, rather than featured (or uncredited) artists, Rezazadeh aims to fer these artists a similar opportunity in their nascent careers to that which deadmau5 provided her in the not-too-distant past.
In stark opposition to the “ensemble cast” collaborations which permeate much today’s dance music climate, REZZ states, “I don’t care how big or small artists are, it’s all about the music to me.”
“People would be surprised how many talented unknown names there are out there,” she coyly adds, though she is quick to dispel any rumors creating her own imprint in the near future. “I have thought about it but I’d rather put all my focus on my own music as that’s what keeps me sane & what I’m most passionate about.”
After full consideration Mass Manipulation and Isabelle’s inspirations, we get a better sense the previously-posed question, “How does one define REZZ?”
The Canadian producer can’t be defined according to her connection to a specific style or sect ancestral artists. Nor should she ever again be lauded for being a tremendous talent “at her young age”; indeed, Rezazadeh is far past the stage her career wherein focusing on her precocity doesn’t inadvertently detract from her deeply-conceived trajectory.
REZZ is at the forefront a new movement. Hers is a mission which bridges the gap between commercial and underground dance music, and one which eschews formulaic success strategies for unique concepts and authentic sounds.
There’s a reason that hundreds thousands fans fervently flock to their fondly-dubbed “Space Mom.” Infiltrating an industry in which commodification strengthens its grip every day, REZZ is one the rare producers who is strictly putting forth art.
And, in doing so, she’s creating an alternative blueprint for the new age dance music
Proud Oakland rapper G-Eazy dropped four new songs on YouTube on Thursday (August 3), including a collaboration with New York legend Jadakiss.
Jada spits the second verse on G-Eazy’s “Get A Bag” and lowkey steals the show with lines like “Instead just gettin’ blunted use that energy to go get it bad as you want it/ Hand start itchin’, you feel it, that means it’s comin’/ Fill a bag up with the 20s, 50s and 100s.”
G-Eazy has clearly been busy getting plenty collaborators into the studio for his next album. Amongst the other new tracks, “Just Friends,” about relationship troubles, features vocals on the hook from female singer phem. Feel-good track “Wave” also features some chilled out soulful vocals from “Handheld GPS” singer Rexx Life Raj.
Of the new releases, “Nothing Wrong” is the only one that features G-Eazy by himself and lands on the message “I don’t see nothing wrong, and if you don’t like me, fuck you, this is nothin’ but a song.”
The 28-year-old star is set to drop his fifth studio album, The Beautiful and Damned, sometime later in the fall, the follow-up to his 2015 LP, When It’s Dark Out, which birthed his biggest hit in “Me, Myself & I.”
The Bebe Rexha-featured single peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 100 and was certified 4x Platinum.
Check out the remaining three tracks below to find out what you can expect from G-Eazy’s upcoming project.
Illmac Talks Transition To More Mood-Based Hip Hop On "Ethereal" LP
Portland, OR – Illmac — or Illmaculate — has built a steady following in the battle rap scene since winning the 2004 Scribble Jam at the ripe age 17. On the heels his King Of The Dot’s Massacre 3 appearance where he battled Chilla Jones, the 31-year-old Portland native is in heavy promo mode for his forthcoming collaborative album with fellow Sandpeople member Goldini Bagwell, Ethereal.
By the sound it, Illmac is stepping outside his comfort zone to deliver something battle rap fans might not necessarily expect from the seasoned MC.
“It’s got this kind spaced out, emotional vibe … a lot the songs touch on relationships and love,” Illmac explains to HipHopDX. “We played it for Little Warrior, who adds vocals to a number songs on the album, and she described it as ‘ethereal,’ which just sort stuck with us.
“I feel like this is the perfect transition for me because a lot the new music I’m doing is more about the mood or feeling,” he continues. “Lyrics are still important obviously, but sometimes it’s about what the words can’t say. I think this project is unlike anything either us has ever done.”
Produced entirely by Oldominion’s Smoke M2D6, the album morphed into its current incarnation organically. The fellow Sandpeople already knew they could create magic together, but once Smoke was ficially onboard, it all came together.
“Initially we had beats from a few different producers, but the first four songs we did just happened to be over Smoke’s beats,” Illmac says. “After listening to that first batch songs, they sounded so cohesive that I was like, ‘We should have him produce the whole project.’ We had been working a lot on various projects, including Only & Ill and the mythical Sandpeople album, plus touring together. Eventually, the idea doing an album just came about naturally.”
Ethereal is scheduled to arrive on August 18 Heaven Noise Recordings. Pre-order the album here, and check out the cover art and tracklist below.
Unbreakable f. Little Warrior
Tides f. Little Warrior
Unscripted f. Little Warrior
Last One f. Little Warrior
Amusement Slaughter (Pre-Order Exclusive)
Gramatik returns to Red Rocks with Tesla-inspired RE:COIL
On Saturday, June 17, Records founder and electro-funk extraordinaire , once again headlined his own show at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. The event marked the third year in a row that the artist, real name Denis Jašarević, has headlined the venue, and the second time his stage has been themed after one his favorite historical figures, Nikola Tesla.
Anze Koron, a stage and content designer for Gramatik, says, “2017 marks the 100th year since Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower was torn down by corporations who opposed Tesla’s idea to give free energy to the world.” Thus, the show this year was “RE:COIL” – a play on his previous Tesla Coil stage design, “The Coil,” and, according to Koron, the name was also a political comment on the presidency that started this year.
The stage itself took up the entire available space at Red Rocks, resulting in a 30-foot-tall Tesla coil built out LED screens as the center piece, with other subsidiary lights surrounding it. As was Tesla’s goal with the Wardenclyffe Tower, Gramatik sent wave after wave powerful energy ripping through the air, electrifying everyone in the crowd for close to three hours – and that’s not including the supporting acts , and .
The stage stood as a testament to Gramatik’s stance in life and on politics – specifically the corruption in our country from big corporations. Net neutrality, scientific advancement for the well-being everyone, not just the rich, and the current state politics in the United States were all themes that Denis and his team wove into and throughout the performance. Gramatik spent some time literally weaving those themes into the night as well – such as the sign he held up that simply stated in large block letters, “Science is Cool.”
One the major highlights the night, aside from the incredible stage production and the fact that it was Gramatik playing, was Gramatik’s keyboard player, , a prodigy-level player who melted just about every face and most the keys on his keyboard as well.
Anomalie has been playing and studying classical and jazz piano since the age four, and only recently began touring with Gramatik. In 2015, Gramatik reached out to the aspiring young musician when he ran across a video Anomalie playing piano over the track “Chillaxin By The Sea,” and the two started talking regularly.
“I sent him a track I was working on,” said Anomalie, “and he asked if I wanted to release it on Lowtemp – that was my single ‘Odyssée,’ released in April 2016.” This was the single that put Anomalie on the radar for a quickly growing number Lowtemp listeners and beyond. “Odyssée” was featured last year in the .
Anomalie said he started playing with Gramatik in August 2016, and has also been working hard on his own music. In fact, Gramatik took some time during the show to play two Anomalie’s brand new tracks, “Velours” and “Le Bleury,” f his recently released debut EP, “Métropole.” Groovy, jazzy, and interesting on many levels; it was obvious during those tracks (if it hadn’t been obvious already due to his downright magical keyboard skills, as seen in ) that Gramatik made the right decision by signing him.
With another spectacular year on the Rocks in the bag, Gramatik continues to tour and release music on a tight schedule. Last Friday, July 21, he released a new heavy-yet-funky dubstep single with Galactic Marvl, “.”
Photos by Badastronaut Photography
Doomtree Side Project Shredders Is Like A "Group Text Thread"
Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis Hip Hop collective Doomtree — P.O.S, Sims, Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, Dessa, Mike Mictlan and Cecil Otter — dropped its last crew album, All Hands, in 2015. Since then, each member has been more focused on their individual projects. Now, Sims, P.O.S., and producers Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak have announced a new side group — Shredders.
“Doomtree decided to take a couple years between crew albums for all us to refocus and pursue our own ambitions,” Sims tells HipHopDX. “I think Shredders fits nicely into that gap. Collaboration is natural to us and is vital in making things feel new. Aside from our solo stuff, all four us have at least one or two different projects going right now, so doing this project was a refreshing break from all those.”
Formed in late summer 2016, Shredders is now armed with a new three-track, self-titled EP. The four-piece is using the project to explore different creative avenues and come up with more artistically free music, which will likely involve plenty humor.
“The main function these sessions was just to make bangers and get bars f,” Sims says. “I think we came up with some breezy, fun songs. They are basically the living embodiment our group text thread.”
“That time f from Doomtree] led to Sims’ More Than Ever album last November, P.O.S’ Chill, dummy in January and Paper Tiger’s In Other Words in April,” Lazerbeak adds. “I worked closely with the guys on all three albums as executive producer and we decided to work collaboratively on some new bangers while we were all in the creative zone.”
While technically the group could fall under the Doomtree umbrella, they soon realized it was taking on a life its own the more they worked on material and established their musical direction.
“It’s definitely part the family, but when I think ‘Doomtree the band,’ I really think all seven us,” Lazerbeak explains. “I kinda feel like a kid again starting from scratch with a lot this stuff and it’s brought a cool energy to the project.”
Shredders doesn’t signal the dissolution Doomtree in any way. In fact, all seven members are heading to Chicago next week to perform together as a crew. For Sims, Paper Tiger, P.O.S. and Lazerbeak, it’s simply another way to keep their creative juices flowing.
“It was great to get the EP out last week and finally announce the group,” Lazerbeak says. “We’ve got a full-length that we’re putting the finishing touches on now and should have a lot more new music on the way shortly. We’re really excited to debut the songs live as well over the coming months.”
Usher Allegedly Paid A Woman $1.1M After Infecting Her With Herpes
It looks like R. Kelly isn’t the only R&B singer embroiled in controversy this week. Court documents recently obtained by Radar Online reveal Usher (real name Usher Raymond IV) contracted the herpes virus in 2009 or 2010 and passed it on to a celebrity stylist through unprotected sex. Consequently, he had to cough up $1.1 million dollars to the unidentified woman for severe emotional distress. The “Let It Burn” singer also posted a check for $2,754.40 covering her medical bills. The case was settled in 2012.
During the time they were dating, Usher reportedly told the woman he noticed a “greenish discharge” oozing from his penis, but had been to the doctor and was cleared any STDs, so the woman continued her relationship with the 38-year-old artist.
“Believing Raymond’s statements that it had been nothing and cleared up, she] continued her relationship,” the victim’s lawyer wrote in a legal complaint for damages.
But after several disturbing symptoms started surfacing — fever 100 degrees, chills, headache, aches and pains — the woman went to her doctor to get tested and the results confirmed a first-time infection. She then notified Usher.
A file in the settlement reads: “In a series telephone conversations and online chat sessions, Usher] has apologized for infecting her] and told her he would take care things.”
Usher married his current wife Grace Miguel in 2015. As Wednesday night (July 19), he has not responded to the situation publicly.
Naturally, Twitter has. Check out some those posts below.
Diplo has blessed the world with a second Twitter account and it is internet gold
takes his “random white dude be everywhere” mantra very seriously. He’s continually diversifying his portfolio, he’s aligned with some pop music’s most veritable forces, and he’s got a keen social media game. In fact, between Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, Wes is always on the grid, and his ability to use 140 characters has, over time, become the stuff legend.
Now, in promotion his new Viceland feature, , starring celebrity doppelgänger James Van Der Beek, the Mad Decent head honcho has launched an alternate (verified) , and it is exactly what the people 2017 deserve.
Covering topics including La Croix, SoundCloud’s ongoing media circus, Mozart, chilling, and other “Diplo-esque” subjects, the new Twitter account is essentially just a “Best Diplo on Twitter” highlight reel, apparently helmed by Van Der Beek himself. If you do one thing on Twitter this week, follow this account — you will not be disappointed.
What Would Diplo Do? premieres Thursday, August 3, on Viceland.
Proximity has evolved from YouTube channel to label partner with Geffen Records, stream their first single – Dancing Astronaut
For virtually anyone who’s been keeping up with the current state EDM, the name “” might ring a bell. It belongs course to the beloved , which has since grown into a behemoth organization with over five million subscribers – easily one the largest dance outlets in current history.
Proximity has grown so large, in fact, that it has ficially achieved its biggest milestone. As the clock struck midnight on the East Coast, the YouTube channel announced its new label partnership with none other than —no easy feat for what started as a humble social media page. Geffen’s power within the music industry at large is so immense that since its foundation in 1980, the label has signed the likes Guns N’ Roses, Snoop Dogg, Elton John, and more.
The newly-inked deal makes Proximity the lucky seventh sub-label to join the Geffen family, which in turn is owned by . As a label, the entity will not only be able to continue its current legacy breaking EDM’s next hits, but also use its clout to help sign artists and bring refreshing new talent into the electronic fold.
Its first signee named Bo Talks, for example, created a sunny, chilled-out new track for the label launch which features none other than the vocals Sara Hyland from Modern Family. “You Know Anymore” plays with tropical, eletro-pop influences, making it a surefire piece that will attract a legion fans.
Geffen wouldn’t forge such a deal with any YouTube channel with a sizable subscriber base. They know full well that with founder Blake Coppelson playing a key role, they can trust a successful batch talent will be chosen to represent Geffen and Promixity’s now shared name.
Coppelson’s ear for what will make the electronic community tick is almost uncanny. When he first started posting to his channel in 2011, he had already honed in artists like , , and . Other major acts he began promoting early on in their careers include , , , and . Since reaching the 1 million subscriber mark in 2014, his rate new followers has increased dramatically and thus has led to Proximity being a hub for brand new music by the top players in the game. As recently as July 14, he helped unveil a brand new record.
“It’s humbling to be able to work and partner with a label like Geffen,” said Coppelson. To his mind, the label has a catalogue previous releases that are “extensive and legendary.” Besides which, he sees the move as just a next step for the burgeoning dance music brand’s continued growth.
“Spearheading the label is one many steps to continue furthering Proximity’s global presence in the music scene and expanding from just a curation outlet,” said Coppelson.
This new partnership between Proximity and Geffen is certainly unprecedented, and speaks to the opportunity one can make for themselves using internet and social media platforms. Its development will be one to watch, and as we observe how an influential YouTube channel establishes itself as a major part the music industry.