#YN #TrueLife How I Became A Wiz Khalifa Fan . Written By @Sicksteen_216


I have a bad habit of not paying attention of things...

until the buzz surrounding them has died down. I think people gravitate to whats popular so they won’t feel left out, not because its dope. So I wait until the smoke clears before I see what I can take from any new development.

The same thing happened when I was introduced to Wiz Khalifa’s music. I saw his name being mentioned in the blogs and although there was some buzz I just didn’t look into his music. Shortly after, someone I knew advised me to listen to the ‘Flight School’ mixtape. I wanted to form my own opinion and not go along with what everyone was saying so I went to Dat Piff to listen to my first Wiz mixtape. The cover was cool and a little different from what most rappers were doing so I was interested.

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa


However, I really didn’t like the mixtape. The beats didn’t connect with me, I didn’t like the video game like sounds. I also didn’t like his half rap half singing flow. Nothing about it stood out to me, I was done, gave it a shot but not for me. 

Fast forward a year or so, I was working at a new job and speaking to one of my co workers when he said, “Do you listen to Wiz Khalifa?” 

I told him that I tried once before and his music wasn’t for me. He told me to listen to his new mixtape ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ specifically the song titled ‘The Kid Frankie’. I trusted my co workers opinion and decided to give Young Wizzle Man another shot. I found ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ on Live Mixtapes and listened to ‘The Kid Frankie’. 
 

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa

The results were the exact opposite of my experience listening to ‘Flight School’ ‘The Kid Frankie’ sounded fresh, it sounded like something I had never heard before. In comparison to ‘Flight School’, the music on ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ stuck with me, it was something about the beats and Wiz Khalifa’s approach to rapping that made me feel like there was much more to learn about hip hop music. 

‘Kush and Orange Juice’ is the definition of a mixtape to me, especially in the new age of hip hop with the internet being a major key. The new mixtape is essentially an album, less freestyles over industry beats and more original instrumentals and skits. The new age mixtape is more of a promotional tool then just an outlet to release music. Your mixtape has to have the ability to not only catch the listeners ear, but to also make them connect with the artist’s personality. 
 

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa: Photo via Cesgekacer (Link - http://tinyurl.com/zaxc8ya)

Another thing Wiz Khalifa showed me about hip hop is that building a brand is a must in order to be successful. Not just a fanbase, a brand, a culture, a way of thinking that resonates with your fanbase on multiple levels. The ‘Taylor Gang’ was dope because it represents Wiz Khalifa and by extension represents his fans who feel the same way he did before someone came along to express it. 

Wiz Khalifa’s music is fun, he doesn’t beef he minds his own business, and he always puts a positive spin on things. A part of hip hop is competition, beef, being the best rapper of all time. But Wiz Khalifa showed me you can still be ambitious without comparing yourself to what anyone else is doing. Wiz Khalifa exudes an attitude of ‘live and let live’ or ‘do what works for you and I’ll do what works for me’. It’s motivational to see someone so focused on success they don’t even have time to get angry with anyone else, let alone care.
 

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa: Photo Via WeSharePics (Link - http://tinyurl.com/z5p5me2)

My appreciation for Wiz Khalifa goes much further than just the music, he showed me it isn’t all about music. Music is an expression of art but those topics and feelings you rap about can be addressed in more ways. 

As a member of the ‘Taylor Gang’ you could wear your Chuck Taylors, camo shorts, and crewneck and connect with anyone who feels the same way. The music described a lifestyle at the time I was living, young, on my own, having fun but still being responsible for real life situations. I wasn’t rich but I had enough money that if I used it wisely, I could make an impact on my rap career. Wiz made it cool to do what you want to do, regardless of what others may think and his success shows his method not only works, it is loved by fans.

#YN Deal or No Deal: "Independent" Artists Who Sign . Written By @KourtneyAri

Despite the headlines of shock and confusion...

Image Via Wikipedia

at rapper Tyga being signed to G.O.O.D. Music, I was more shocked to have seen Atlanta collective Migos also signing to management under the label; announced Wednesday. What made artists that so adamantly went independent, after (ironically) releasing projects titled “No Label” and “No Label 2,” sign to a major label? So far, no comment on their behalf.

Here are a few other artists who've ended up signing:

Dej Loaf

"DeJ Loaf live at Kool Haus in Toronto" by Eddy James Rissling for The Come Up Show is licensed under CC by 2.0.

“And I ain’t signing to no label, bitch, I’m independent” - Try Me. Less than a month after the mastered version of Dej Loaf’s 2014 hit single was publicly released, she signed to Columbia Records.

Bryson Tiller

"Bryson Tiller in concert" by Tore Sætre is licensed under CC by 4.0.

After rising to fame via soundcloud, Bryson Tiller found himself signed a few times to independent labels, and even had the chance to sign to Drake’s OVO Sound. He passed and signed to RCA Records last October.

Rapsody

Via Wikipedia Commons

The very eloquent (and slept on) emcee Rapsody rose to popularity after going solo, and being affiliated with 9th Wonder's independent label. You may have heard of her on Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed "To Pimp A Butterfly," as well as Anderson.Paak's "Malibu." Just this summer, Rapsody signed to Roc Nation.

T.I.

"T.I. Paperwork Tour @ London Music Hall..." by Eddy James Rissling for The Come Up Show is licensed under CC by 2.0.

Grand Hustle founder T.I. has been associated with the label for as long as I can remember. The label has seen acts like 8Ball & MJG and Meek Mill; and currently represents B.o.B and Travis Scott, among others. Despite releasing close to ten projects independently, just this February, T.I. made the shocking venture to sign both with Roc Nation, and to an ownership deal with the streaming service Tidal.

Kehlani

“Kehlani” by The Come Up Show is licensed under CC by 2.0.

After independently releasing “Cloud 19” in the summer of 2014, Oakland songstress Kehlani sees now well over 20 million Soundcloud plays. In 2015, she released “You Should Be Here,” and signed to Atlantic Records a month later.

French Montana

French Montana via Instagram

French Montana’s group Coke Boys (featuring Charlie Rock and the late Chinx Drugz) was signed to his label, Cocaine City Records. French has had incredible success in relevance, hit singles and album sales over the years, so much so that it’s been recognized and co-signed by fellow New Yorker, Puff Daddy. But, a little known fact is that French has only signed to Bad Boy and Epic Records, just this year.

So why do they sign, especially after rising to relevance independently?

Courtesy of the Breakfast Club

In an interview with the Breakfast club last month, Charlamagne asked Vince Staples, who has been signed to a development deal under Def Jam since he was 18, about the significance of being signed to a major label:

“...it [doesn't] mean as much as it used to. I feel like the correct use of a major label could be something special [be]cause if major labels stretch themselves as...a marketing company...or ad agency, someone who could take your ideas and help you develop…”’

Said benefits of a label as a marketing tool has brought a lot of success to fellow Cali native, Tyler the Creator, who has a distribution deal with Sony. A similar phenomenon has been occurring with Chance the Rapper, who’s picked up Apple Music as a platform for his ideas. Before, Chance had expressed being all for using Soundcloud as a platform, and even intended on releasing his project Coloring Book for free (and snagging a Grammy nomination, along the way).

Vince feels that labels are "capable of doing that." This was an interesting perspective to me. I’ve interviewed scores of artists, local to northeast Ohio, who stay independent in order to preserve their creative freedom. Perhaps the many artists who have signed are thinking along the lines of what Vince was going on about. What do you think?


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- Written By @KourtneyAri

(Guest Contributor)

KourtneyAri.com

#YN 7 Releases We Need In 2016 . Written By @KourtneyAri


Many of us are in are still in a daze that after four years...

Frank Ocean: Photo via (Wikipedia - link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Ocean_discography )

Mr. Ocean has finally blessed our ears and eyes with not only one but two full length albums, an accompanying visual AND a magazine. However, these artists are not off the hook:

1. Chris Brown

Chris Brown: via (Instagram - link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BH70_QwgyIb/?taken-by=chrisbrownofficial )

After a tumultuous week of being arrested, charged and posting bail, Chris Brown has released a new track called, "What Would You Do," on Soundcloud and says that more new music is to come. Through all the drama associated with Chris, his talent cannot be denied.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that it would be nice for him to channel all of that energy into his many talents. After numerous custody battles and assault allegations, post-Rihanna, I think we're all over hearing bad news about him, frankly, whether you like him as a person or not. I didn't find "Royalty" to be a well-executed project in its entirety (it was all over the place, for me). So, I think it'd be dope for him to go all Mary J. Blige and write his greatest work to date.

2. Kanye West & Jay-Z - "Watch The Throne II"

The Throne: ("Watch the Throne: Jay-Z & Kanye West December 2011" - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/u2soul/6503832955/in/photolist-cg1DZL-aUHQWX-aUHQZk-cfZG3L-cg1xUS-bVLSBv-cd98Ph-cd99LG-bVLRYX-bVLREH-cd99us-cd98wb-qsPCXQ-aAJPUg-cg1T77-cg1Aeq-cg16r3-cg1mnu-cg158U-cg1Gp7-cfZMJu-cg26tE-cg1KE3-cg2vib-cg1121-cg21Gb-cg2qhj-cg1fRd-cg18p7-cg1wQy-cg1D4Y-cg23pb-cg1eCw-cfZXb7-cg2bWb-cg2eSG-cg2nVQ-cg1F8w-cfZVW7-cg1Pw7-cg12vf-cg25eJ-cg1qt9-cg2gGC-cg1NcS-cg1rUC-cg1XaU-cfZELd-cg1ZPw-cg2cSA ) by (U2soul - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/u2soul/ ) is licensed under (CC by 2.0 - link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode ).

I'm going to start this off with the undeniable truth which is that: 2016 is Drake's year. However, I was (and still am tbh) a bit indifferent at the thought of an album, both from Drake and Kanye West (rumored title "Calabasas is the new Abu Dhabi"); which they teased at 2016 OVO Fest. My first thought was, "WHERE IS WTT2, YE!"

 
 

A month later, Drake released "Pop Style" which didn't feature Jay-Z and Kanye West as individuals but collectively, as "The Throne" and I FREAKED. OUT. Immediately, I was like "Yes, this is happening!" When I saw that Kanye was definitely thinking along the lines of a joint album, I dismissed the Drake part and had newfound hope for the subsequent follow-up of one of my all-time favorite albums.

Will this be the tie to the division between Tidal and Apple Music? Kanye West is all for streaming, but we know that Hov is Tidal affiliated. We shall see...

3. J. Cole x Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Photo via (Wikipedia - link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kendrick_Lamar )

J Cole Photo via (Wikipedia - link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Cole )

While we're on the subject of joint albums, it's been nearly a year since Kendrick and Cole gifted us with freestyles over each other's' beats for the holidays. In terms of today's conscious rap, many would say that these two sit at the top and would have undeniable chemistry on a full-length project (who else cried about Kendrick not having a verse on Forbidden Fruit?!)

4. Ab-Soul - "Done With The World"

Ab Soul photos ("Ab-Soul @Middle East Club" link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weeklydig/15289581929/in/photolist-pi672x-oKCjcD-pzB234-pi7ocW-pq2nFW-pEkmzU-pfJ4TA-6dpxzW-4nBGW8-eKui44-ppYPSN-pzz8c9-pi674g-77MgoL-8ZTQtS-oK1C13-agY3TF-dPspPS-cjYjh1-9j7E1x-bh8T9V-nQEiag-bbheo8-dPspPq-akAsXB-dPspNU-kuALte-9mS2nY-eV6AGm-bh8UkV-6SBq7u-gV4BGm-gV4NeK-gV4DG5-gV5A7z-gV5Acz-gV4E97-gV5ynx-gV5yKX-gV4DoQ-iVAE7p-gV4BWE-gV4PLx-gV5zwM-gV4DeS-gV4Pdi-gV4BeC-dtH426-gV4D6o-gV4Czd ) by (S.C. Atkinson - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weeklydig/ ) is licensed under (CC by 2.0 - link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode ). Caption: via (Instagram - link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJD-Qrmj_u2/?taken-by=dangerookipawaa )

Just this year, TDE has released new Kendrick and ScHoolboy Q, introduced us to new signee Lance Skiiiwalker and, just a few days ago, gave us Isaiah Rashad's debut album. But, I'm still banking on some new Soulo.

The last thing that we know about this upcoming project is that as of early August his final mixes are "in," according to Top Dawg, and that the release date is soon to follow. Though Q's hunch ("...heard Soulo comin' up next") proved to be false, I'm still keeping hope alive that we'll get something from the guy soon.

5. SZA - "A"

SZA ("2015 AfroPunk Festival - Brooklyn, NY (2015) - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/43334817@N08/20846563042 ) by (FuseBoxRadio - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fuseboxradio/ ) under (CC by 2.0 - link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode ).

A release from TDE label-mate and songstress SZA is LONG overdue! However you wish to classify her music, I think that aside from Syd of the Internet, and Jhene Aiko (whose enduring reputation has been reduced to her line in "Post To Be" on a grand scale just will not die...) the niche of soulful music is lacking. No shade, but the closest we've come, in my opinion, is the makeshift trap-sentimental genre that encompasses artists like PartyNextDoor, Bryson Tiller and Tory Lanez. And well, it's all starting to sound the same to me.

The label has been teasing her next release, which is assumed to be titled "A", after her releases "S" and "Z," just as much as they have Soul's and Jay Rock's upcoming releases. More than two years have now passed since her last album, and while her loose tracks and covers have been lovely, I would really like to hear more from her, from a growth standpoint; especially after collaborating and writing for names as big as Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna.

6. Migos - "Streets on Lock 5" and/or "No Label 3"

Migos Photo via (Wikipedia - link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migos )

These 'New Atlanta' legends (yeah, I said it) stay true to their southern roots, cranking out mixtapes, but like crazy, to the point where you have no choice but to hear their names. Aside from individual features, Migos have been talking up a joint release with Rich The Kid, aimed to have been released in August. Not sure what the holdup is, but fans are definitely not letting them forget it. The same goes for NL3. After over two years since the last one, many are ready for another cohesive project. After all, they're the ones who asked...

 
 

7. Sampha

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 6.19.20 PM.png

The UK crooner (who's relatively low key online) just released the audio for his latest track, "Blood On Me." And with that, I'm excited for the rumored upcoming visual, and potentially an entire project from Sampha. I was introduced to him through Drake's "Nothing Was The Same," on tracks like "Too Much" and "The Motion" (which should have been on the album btw). After digging into his discography, it's evident that he hasn't released much over the span of three years since his album, "Dual." He has an interesting sound that reminds me of artists like James Blake and DVSN, and it would be refreshing to hear more like it, and soon.


Photo Attributions

(1) - The Throne: ("Watch the Throne: Jay-Z & Kanye West December 2011" - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/u2soul/6503832955/in/photolist-cg1DZL-aUHQWX-aUHQZk-cfZG3L-cg1xUS-bVLSBv-cd98Ph-cd99LG-bVLRYX-bVLREH-cd99us-cd98wb-qsPCXQ-aAJPUg-cg1T77-cg1Aeq-cg16r3-cg1mnu-cg158U-cg1Gp7-cfZMJu-cg26tE-cg1KE3-cg2vib-cg1121-cg21Gb-cg2qhj-cg1fRd-cg18p7-cg1wQy-cg1D4Y-cg23pb-cg1eCw-cfZXb7-cg2bWb-cg2eSG-cg2nVQ-cg1F8w-cfZVW7-cg1Pw7-cg12vf-cg25eJ-cg1qt9-cg2gGC-cg1NcS-cg1rUC-cg1XaU-cfZELd-cg1ZPw-cg2cSA ) by (U2soul - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/u2soul/ ) is licensed under (CC by 2.0 - link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode ).

(2) - ("Ab-Soul @Middle East Club" link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weeklydig/15289581929/in/photolist-pi672x-oKCjcD-pzB234-pi7ocW-pq2nFW-pEkmzU-pfJ4TA-6dpxzW-4nBGW8-eKui44-ppYPSN-pzz8c9-pi674g-77MgoL-8ZTQtS-oK1C13-agY3TF-dPspPS-cjYjh1-9j7E1x-bh8T9V-nQEiag-bbheo8-dPspPq-akAsXB-dPspNU-kuALte-9mS2nY-eV6AGm-bh8UkV-6SBq7u-gV4BGm-gV4NeK-gV4DG5-gV5A7z-gV5Acz-gV4E97-gV5ynx-gV5yKX-gV4DoQ-iVAE7p-gV4BWE-gV4PLx-gV5zwM-gV4DeS-gV4Pdi-gV4BeC-dtH426-gV4D6o-gV4Czd ) by (S.C. Atkinson - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/weeklydig/ ) is licensed under (CC by 2.0 - link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode ).

(3) - SZA ("2015 AfroPunk Festival - Brooklyn, NY (2015) - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/43334817@N08/20846563042 ) by (FuseBoxRadio - link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fuseboxradio/ ) under (CC by 2.0 - link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode ).


- Written By @KourtneyAri

(Guest Contributor)

KourtneyAri.com