Interview: T.I. with Carson Daly
T.I. on Last Call with Carson Daly. His reality show, 'T.I.'s Road To Redemption' counting down 45 days till lock up, opened last night.
411: Nas to Make Album with Damien Marley
While he didn’t win a Grammy award for his last album – the controversial concept disc originally titled “Nigger” - Nas is currently in the studio with Damian “Junior Gong” Marley cooking up a follow-up project.
In an interview with MTV News the Queens-bred rapper seemed very excited about his collaboration with the son to Reggae legend Bob Marley. Esco says the CD may come out sometime in Spring but there is no official release date as of yet. This isn’t the first time the two have teamed up. Nas appeared on “Road To Zion” off Marley’s 2005 album, Welcome To Jamrock.
In related news the rapper is preparing for the birth of his first child with his wife, singer Kelis. Nas has one daughter, Destiny, with his ex-girlfriend Carmen Bryan.
By Elan Mancini
Live Performances at the 51st Grammys
At the 51st Grammy Awards last night, Lil Wayne entered the L.A. venue with eight nominations! Tha Carter III took home the Rap Album of the Year award, presented by vocoder-boy T-Pain and will.i.am, beating out Jay-Z's American Gangster, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, T.I.’s Paper Trail and Nas’ 'Nigger' untitled project.
His single “Lollipop” and "A Milli" earned him Rap Song of the Year and Rap Solo Performance of the Year respectively. His part in the posse-cut “Swagger Like Us” handed him another gramophone award for Best Rap Collaboration.
Jay-Z, Kayne West, T.I. (all of whom had their own performances on the bill) join a ready-to-pop pregnant MIA with her classic 2009 anthem "No-one on the corner has a swagger like us!" Hip-hop held its own at the Grammys!
The hottest rapper in the industry came and proved. Now I'm catching vapors! - Rip [ed]
Check the evening's hip-hop performances below.
"Tie My Hand" by Lil Wayne & Robin Thicke
Lil Wayne Wins a Grammy For Best Rap Album. SPEECH!
"Dead And Gone" by T.I. & Justin Timberlake
"Lost" by Coldplay & Jay-Z
"American Boy" Estelle & Kanye West
Live at the Grammy Awards: "Swagga Like Us" by MIA with Lil Wayne, TI, Jay-Z & Kanye West
Snoop Dogg Leaves Interscope
After many years and many hits, Snoop Dogg and long time recording company Interscope/Geffen Records have parted ways, according to Chronic Vacation. As of press time, no details were available on the split
Founded by Jimmy Iovine in 1990, Snoop Dogg immediately became one of the major players at the label through his affiliation with Death Row Records. The first major release from the pairing was The Chronic from Dr. Dre, whose lead single, the Snoop Dogg assisted “Ain’t Nothin But A G Thang” helped propel the album to multi-platinum status.
Snoop Dogg’s own début album, 1993’s Doggystyle followed in The Chronic’s footsteps and was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.
In 1998, Snoop Dogg parted ways with Death Row/Interscope and Snoop spent the ensuing years with Master P’s No Limit Records and later hit the independent circuit, releasing mix tapes and albums with long time collaborators, Tha Dogg Pound. The new millennium saw the Dogg return to Interscope under Geffen Records where he released three albums.
There is no word on what Snoop’s next move will be, but reliable sources say the split will lead to bigger and better things for the Dogg Father.
Video: Lil Wayne's Pre Grammy Interview
Lil Wayne interviewed by Katie Couric on the night of the Grammy Awards at Manhattan's popular Bowlmor Lanes bowling alley.
Camron Speaks About His Absence & Dipset
Once the brand name face of Dipset, Camron disappeared from the glossy fronts and had his grill left only on milk cartons... Back from obscurity, and well after the smoke has cleared from internal AND external forces trying to catch him slippin' from the game. The one and only Miss Info caught the Pink Panther and asked him straight out what we've been thinking... Peep game!
[Her words in bold]
I asked Cam why he seemingly dropped off the face of the planet this past spring, especially after that infamous youtube clip. One minute he was telling 50 Cent it was going to be a hot summer, and the next minute, Cam was M.I.A. But he said when the beef with 50 cent, the Tru Life and Jim Jones’ beef, and his altercation with Tru Life, all happened one right after the other, he got hit by a family emergency that took priority. Cam’s mom suffered a number of strokes that left her paralyzed on her left side. He moved her to Florida for a while, set up her rehabilitation and therapy, and kept an eye on her: “I told her, you not dying on my watch.”
[sidenote: I’m glad to hear Cam’s mom is doing better, Ms. Frederica is a real character. Back in the day, she even got her son to give her some burn on a song, “Me, My Moms, and Jimmy,” off Confessions of Fire album. “You think Cam’s nice, he’s a son of a gun,” lol.]
Cam says that while he was dealing with the personal, there were business issues as well.
“Also, me and Asylum weren’t seeing eye to eye at the time. But we recently worked things out. We had a conversation with the lawyers and with Todd (Moscowitz), so now we’re straight. I wasn’t gonna drop the mixtape until that happened….”
But all the while, Cam said he was also watching how other people were reacting to his absence.
“Even when I had my mom situated, she had the help she needs, the physical therapy, everything was right–that was like a month ago—I still laid low, because when I come out it’s gonna be done it right. But I just sat back and bugged out at how everyone else was acting.
I heard all the rumors, mad felonious shit, fake shit. And I would tell n—as, my moms just had a stroke, and they’d be like ‘Oh, ok, so are you still coming through?’ Fam, what is wrong with you?”
What about all those Cam’ron sightings? The last time we spoke was when you posted the youtube video, so I didn’t know if those rumors were real or not.
"Exactly. I ain’t talked to nobody, but I kept hearing all these stories. Cam was in a car crash. Cam was begging for a deal. Some hood DVD dudes were up up on [140th st] to try to find me. Folks were asking for interviews. I'm like Bigfoot, its crazy!
My thing is, it felt like folks were tryin’ to strong arm me into showing up for shit.
Like, no disrespect to BET, but I was watching one day and they announced ‘Cam is gonna be on 106 and Park. He’s gonna talk about his new album…’
I just started laughing, like, what is you talking about? Nothing about that was true.
What’s so funny is that in the past, I always had to go through mad shit just to get them to play a new video or whatever. But now I’m seeing those two tell me what I’m doing.
But nobody can force me to do anything or be anywhere….I can afford to chill out. I mean, I get 1.5 million dollars just to hand my album in, but I’m still not rushing.
I could have come back a month ago….but instead I said, ‘Alright, Duke, block all my calls, shut down the interviews…’"
So what about the rumor that you were seen shopping for a deal at some indie label?
"I went to meet with my man Jeff Kempler, I’ve known him for years, and now that he’s [executive vice president] over at Virgin, he called me over to catch up. So then we walked around the office, and Fat Joe’s label [Imperial Records] is in the same building."
I guess it was your silence that was making folks jump to conclusions
“Yo I’m killin’ n—as with my silence! Me not saying nothing is driving people crazy…”
Well since it’s clear you’ve been keeping up with the Cam’ron rumor mill, what did you think about what your peers were saying? 50 Cent joked about you being missing….
But here’s the funny thing about it. They all say Cam’s missing… You look at 50 Cent and Kanye West. They came out after, like two years since their last records. Meanwhile, I put out a movie, an album, executive-produced four albums this summer…Y’all n—as be missing. I be out every year, fam.
During an interview with MTV, Jim Jones said finding you was like “finding Nemo.” And in a youtube interview with Mikey Fresh, Jimmy said “Cam’ron is in his own world.”
"He’s right, I live on Pluto, and I take a spaceship home every night. Hahaha…"
Well, I guess you’re about to phone home. Next week, you’ll be back out with a double mixtape, Public Enemy #1. Are you working on a new album as well?
"Yeah. Actually I was in the middle of recording the album when everything happened. I had maybe a full CD of music since May or June. Now I’m looking to drop the album in February or March, 2008. But with all this nonsense going on, I had to put out this double CD real quick. And you know how I am, I don’t like to sit on old tracks so I decided to throw like 40 songs on there and make the mixtape free.
The video we posted on [killacamspace] was just to make fun of the way ppl was acting. But in the hood, it was nothing like that. Everybody just been showing love like ‘Yo, please come back out. We need that.”
So, what is the state of Dipset right now? I’ve talked to Jim Jones about his new projects and new record deal. And last week he told me about his new mixtape, which is dropping one day before yours. But he made a point of shouting out “Dipset for life.” Which seemed encouraging to me…Have you and Jimmy talked yet?
"I still haven’t spoken to Jim. But Jim ran with me for over 10 yrs, he worked hard, and I wish him the best of luck. Everybody thinks I’m mad at Jim. Why am I mad? I told people for years that Jimmy was gonna be a star. So its better on my resume…I wish him the best.
The only thing is, him being with 50, I can’t really run with that. Hang out with who you want to hang out…but me, I can’t really do nothing like that"
What did you think when 50 brought Jimmy and Juelz onstage with him to perform “Ballin’?”
"Actually, that was a great move for 50. First, he had Jim and Jeelz, then he brought out Remy Ma and J-Hood, then I even saw Whoo kid on TV with Gillie the Kid goin’ at Lil Wayne. I commend him for that. You’re really snatching a person from they own set. And then you also are seeing these n—as’ potential…"
So do you address this on Public Enemy #1?
"I make a comment but I keep it moving. On the first joint, I talk for like 6 minutes. I still get at 50. The Tru Life shit. I clear that shit up. And I also address the NYPD, the Intel squad…How they dragged me in during the whole Jay-Z and 50 Cent beef and tried to get me to talk about them….all that shit.
And knowing how Cam talks trash with the best of them, I’m pretty sure that will be an entertaining 6 minute rant. But before we hung up, I had to ask him about that cryptic message he sent my homies at MTV last week: “Killa Season again, you little yentas***,” “November 7th. Cam’ron is anonymous. Dipset!”
Uhh, Cam, do you know what a yenta is?
"Hahaha, of course! You know my lawyers are Jewish, they be saying that all the time. So then I was watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Larry David—I fucks with Larry—he called Ted Danson a ‘yenta.’ Yo, I fell out laughing. That shit was crazy. I said, that’s exactly what all these folks are doin’, gossiping about me. Yentas. That’s where the ‘Cam’ron is anonymous’ came from too. Did you see that episode? That’s my shit. You have HBO On Demand? Its episode 52…."
By Miss Info
Ice-T Walks South Central L.A. with Yo! MTV Raps
Ice-T takes a stroll down his neighbourhood, The Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. Tuck ya chains in!
One day back in the early '90s I was walking around South Central L.A. with Ice-T. We were talking and taping, the usual deal. T was already a rap heavyweight at that point, one of the pioneers of the West Coast gangsta style. (He'd actually been born in New Jersey, but then sent out west to be raised by an aunt after his parents died when he was just a kid.) He was the perfect guide to the Crenshaw ghetto. At one juncture he pointed out some Crips in the distance, which I have to say was a skin-tingling white-boy thrill. At another, though, while we were just standing there on the street, a lady came rushing up crying "Tracy! Tracy!" That being T's given name: Tracy Marrow. I believe the woman may have even reached up a hand and patted his head. It was cute. But you could see a tremor of gangsta anxiety ripple across T's face — how uncool is this? He quickly recovered, though, and was soon back in monologue mode, tossing off smart, funny sound bites right and left as we ambled down the boulevard.
Toward the end of the afternoon we were joined by Darlene Ortiz, T's awesome girlfriend. (Check out the cover of the 1987 Rhyme Pays, his first album.) We wandered around some more, then T pleaded rap-star commitments and he and Darlene got in his car and drove off. He had the only low-rider BMW I've ever seen.
Few rappers have made their way through as many showbiz scenes as Ice-T has. After recording one of the first really hard-core rap tracks ("6 'N the Mornin'," in 1986), he dropped the brilliant "Colors" into Dennis Hopper's 1988 movie of that name, then made the move into feature films himself as an actor in the 1991 drug-biz picture "New Jack City." T had always been a metal fan (the title track of Rhyme Pays sampled Black Sabbath); but it was still a surprise when he started his own thrash band, called Body Count, which made its début on O.G.: Original Gangster, the 1991 album that still stands as his masterwork. Body Count's most famous track, "Cop Killer," released the following year, landed T on a cultural hit list informally maintained by such censorious figures as Tipper Gore, wife of Al, the then-vice president. It also cost him his label deal with Sire Records.
He's soldiered on, though, continuing to make both albums and movies. And since 2000, he's been a TV star, too. On "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," T plays a character named Fin Tutuola, who's not only a detective, but also a Republican. Talk about your karma chameleons.
By Kurt Loder
Nas To Appear On Dr. Dre's "Detox"
Fresh off a busy 2008, Nas is set to take 2009 by storm with a scheduled appearance on Dr. Dre's long awaited CD, Detox.
The Queens MC who usually keeps a low profile between albums is talking openly about his affinity for working with one of music's best producers.
"I did a joint. I think it's crazy," Nas says of working with Dre. "He's someone I'd love to do a whole album with one day. He's incredible. I think he's the best producer of all time."
With guest spots on projects from Keyshia Cole, DJ Khaled, The Game and Young Jeezy, over the past year, Nas promises that his Detox collaboration will be history."
Nas is up for two Grammys at the February 8 ceremony in Los Angeles, including best rap album for his latest effort, Untitled.
"Whether I win or lose, I'm happy hip-hop made it that far."
Death Row Records' New Owner Talks
Game over for Suge Knight
Having seen the company's image plagued by rumors of bad business deals [click to read] and allegations of violence, Death Row Records' new owner has a few simple plans for her new investment.
"Our goal is to make sure that fans’ first taste of the new Death Row is stuff that’s fresh," WIDEawake CEO Lara Lavi tells the Wall Street Journal. "There’s so much video and artwork and music that’s never been seen by fans...We’re going to put a Death Row online destination store site together."
Lavi's company purchased the remaining Death Row catalogue at an auction on January 15 for $18 million [click to read]. As she goes about the task of remaking the company's image, her statements about its former owner sound decidedly different from Death Row's previous suitors.
"Suge doesn’t own this thing anymore" adds Lavi." As long as we keep pulling it back to that, it makes it very hard to go forward, and it’s painful for the artists. I really want these artists to feel good. Mr. Knight is a business man. And I think he comes from a community with these artists, and they know each other and they’re going to continue to know each other. It’s not about what he influences but how we go forward as a team to create a new day for Death Row."
The two-week-old purchase makes Lavi the owner of a cadre of unreleased recordings from the likes of Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound. She likely also inherits material from artists such as Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez, Crooked I and Petey Pablo, who were signed when Knight rechristened the label as Tha Row. Lavi asserts that she's aware of how much of a drastic change her image is from her predecessor's.
"There is an irony to a singer/songwriter/entertainment lawyer/soccer mom now being the chief of this thing," says Lavi, who also co-founded Very Juicy Records with her husband, producer Maurice Jones Jr. "I’ve been married for many, many years to an African-American man. I’ve had the blessing of being exposed to music that perhaps my upbringing would not have suggested would be possible."
Former Death Row artists Daz, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre have attempted to either sue Death Row, or outright buy back their catalogues in the past. Lavi expressed hopes of re-establishing a relationship with them and former artists.
"[We need] to have a healing process with the Death Row artists, and that is probably one of my first priorities...to systematically talk to the artists that have quality catalogs in the Death Row asset purchase and get things on a better level," Lavi says. "They deserve better than this. Their product has been sitting in a bankruptcy proceeding for the past three years. Much of it hasn’t seen the light of day."
By Rashad Phillips
Throwback: "Tonite's Da Nite" by Reggie Noble