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The History of Breakdancing and a Conversation With Red Bull Breakers

New York City. The city of dreams—the city of talent. A place where some of the finest musical acts, legends, and prodigies have originated. If you have ever had the pleasure of living in or even visiting New York, then you are already well aware of the musical gifts that surround the Big Apple. It’s not uncommon for music to be blaring from cars, apartments, and bodegas, and it’s certainly not uncommon to see people dancing (even in the streets and subways). One of the most common forms of artistic expression to emerge from the city that truly never sleeps is breakdancing. Through the years we’ve seen breaking take on different names and forms mostly depending on which region you are in.

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On the East Coast, the common term was “breakdancing,” whereas on the West Coast you may have heard “Pop Locking” or “Krumping.” Nowadays, the art form is referred to simply as “breaking,” and through the decades, we’ve seen the style evolve along with music and popular culture. Now “breaking” is elevating to an even higher level.

We’ve always heard the term “dancers are athletes,” and they truly are in every since the word. It takes a tremendous amount of skill and discipline to be an elite dancer, and oftentimes dancers use the same energy and muscles as athletes in other sports.

Think about it—from a breakdancing perspective, dancers often incorporate gymnastics (I.E. flipping), karate, or even Capoeira into their routines, along with heavy cardio, and bodyweight training (for example when they do headstands). So, this next step of breaking being recognized as an Olympic Sport was a long time coming.

Red Bull
Vixxx

Officially announced in December 2020, breaking will make its formal debut at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, and to understand how we got to this moment, we have to rewind all the way back to the late 1960s and early 1970s.

When looking at vintage tapes of dancers from that time period, you can literally feel the magic from that era. Music as a whole was transitioning from the Motown sound that had pretty much dominated the entirety of the 1960s into the Funk and Disco sound that defined the 1970s (think Kool & The Gang’s “Hollywood Swinging.”)

In that aspect, the timing was perfect as breaking matched the heavy beats and live instrumentation that accompanied songs from the 1970s (which ultimately paved the way for the rap and hip hop beats that followed a decade later.)

As hip-hop continued to evolve, so did breaking, and we have consistently seen breakdancing go through many different variations in the last five decades. In the 1980s, breaking began to take on the pop-locking form as the music transitioned into heavily synthesized disco beats. The street dancing, Soul Train lines, and freestyles from the 1970s carried over into the earlier part of the 1980s, and it was a fun era where people expressed themselves creatively through dance and music. Of course, as the 80s progressed, we saw the emergence of hip-hop as a musical genre.

When looking back at the history of hip-hop, it’s important to understand that it was around long before its official “introduction,” as there was definitely an underground movement happening before it went “mainstream.” From a popular culture standpoint, however, “Rapper’s Delight” is culturally recognized as being the first hip-hop song. Gone were the days of “disco,” and hip-hop emerged as the defining musical genre for breaking with its heavier beats (which we now refer to as “hard”), and transitions.

New rappers such as LL Cool J burst onto the scene (think “Jingling Baby”), and new breakdancing styles were formed by the many different B-Boys and B-Girls such as Mighty Zulu Kings and the Lady Rockers, who told their stories and life experiences through their passionate dancing. 

Now, this is where it starts to get interesting. For all of the breakdancing in the 1970s and 1980s, mainstream coverage of breaking slowed down considerably in the 1990s. Here are a possible few reasons as to why—for starters, the late 80s and early 90s brought in the New Jack Swing era.

New Jack Swing is hard to express verbally because it’s a specific sound that you instantly recognize (songs like “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men are good examples), and while breaking moves like the running man, splits, etc. were incorporated into routines, the early 1990s mostly had its own style. The same could also be said for the 90s era of rap as well. Moves like the c-walk were introduced and later heavily incorporated into early 2000s breaking, and rap music became “harder” to dance in terms of a breakdancing perspective.

That largely remained the case until the early 2000s when breaking saw a resurgence. Again, that coincides with the musical change and style of rap and hip-hop. In the 90s, hip-hop was “darker,” but as breaking legend and Red Bull BC One judge Ericka “Baby Girl” Martinez points out, breaking never went away.

Sean Millea
Ericka “Baby Girl” Martinez Speaks With ONE37pm’s Jael Rucker

“For me, I feel like the 1990s was a golden era. I think there was a lot in the community of B-Boys and B-Girls within that time period. I remember being at events that were huge. There was a transition as we started getting closer to the 2000s, where it started to die down a little bit. I was really lucky enough to see Yo! MTV Raps, and all of the music videos. I saw Lady Champ when I was young, and she has since become a friend of mine. I think back then, it was huge, but we didn’t have as many platforms to showcase it.”

And while it may not have been as popular in the United States at times, that popularity never waned abroad, says Neguin, another breaking legend who judged Red Bull’s Red Bull BC One New York Cypher over the weekend.

Red Bull
Neguin

“Maybe some places like New York weren’t as big at the time, but places like Brazil and Korea were booming. I’m lucky enough to travel the world and see how much it has evolved over the years. For me, hip-hop is going to always be alive. Some might say people weren’t dancing as much, but it was always around.”

So, now we’re in the 2000s, a time period where at least from a mainstream standpoint, breaking began to experience a resurgence. We saw classic moves like the Harlem Shake and crip walk making a comeback, to go along with the popular early 2000s rap classics that we all know and love, but as B-Girl Sunny points out, breaking has continued to remain a staple through the remainder of the 2000s. Sunny herself was introduced to breaking in the mid-2000s, making her official debut in 2008.

Red Bull
B-Girl Sunny

“Funny enough, the interview was kind of new, and my brother showed me a clip of some B-Boy’s doing airflares. I remember thinking it was kind of “cool,” but I was a gymnast, so I also didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I didn’t think anything of it. When I went to college in Philly, I saw some people dancing late at night, and they invited me to a popping class. I was terrible at it, but they suggested different tips since I was a gymnast. I was basically addicted after that.”

So there you have it. The legends themselves say that breakdancing has always been here, and always will be. That was evident this past Saturday at the Red Bull BC One New York Cypher, where the B-Boys and B-Girls competed in a showdown to determine the finalists for the upcoming U.S. Red Bull BC One National Finals in Orlando. 

Red Bull
Bgirl Marta

The event was hosted by Nemesis and b-girl Trinity, and Judges included Kid Gylde, Red Bull BC One All-Star Neguin, and the 2020 Red Bull BC One World Final contestant, b-girl Sunny

Red Bull
Bboy Frankie

The Red Bull BC One competition continues this weekend in Los Angeles, with additional regional qualifiers to follow in Boston and Houston before the U.S. Red Bull BC One National Finals, which take place in Orlando. One b-boy and one b-girl will represent the U.S. at the Red Bull BC One World Finals taking place in Gdańsk, Poland, on November 5 to 6. 

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Culture Music

ONE37pm Sits Down With Leon Sherman of SoundCloud

Anybody embarking on a career in music will have a lot of memorable moments, but nothing will be quite like your very first show. Atlanta artist SoFaygo recently experienced that feeling for the very first time in his career, and ONE37pm got the chance to be a part of it.

Making his on-stage debut as part of SoundCloud’s new artist accelerator program “First on SoundCloud,” the show was an absolute success from start to finish, and fans who RSVP’d quickly filled the venue until it reached capacity. That venue by the way was an Atlanta landmark called The Loft, and the crowd wrapped all around Peachtree St, with fans waiting for hours to have a shot at seeing SoFaygo. 

The show itself was magical and a memorable night that we were happy to be a part of. SoundCloud brought SoFaygo’s “first” to life by making his dream of performing live a reality, co-producing an Atlanta show for him to connect and interact with his fans for the first time before heading out on tour with Trippie Redd and Iann Dior. The artist was joined by supporting acts Metro Marrs, Sportvvs, and YellaBandanna, and Pusha T was also in attendance to support SoFaygo for his live debut, which was an exciting way to cap off the evening. At the event, the first 300 fans at the door were gifted a limited edition original SoFaygo x SoundCloud t-shirt, designed in collaboration with SoFaygo himself, and the rapper lit the stage up with hits like “Off The Map” and “Knock Knock.” TyFontaine also surprised the crowd when he jumped on stage and performing his collab track with Faygo, “Run It Up.”

The “First on SoundCloud” artist accelerator program features 9 breakout emerging artists celebrating their “first” major career milestones with original, collaborative projects co-created by SoundCloud. We spoke with Leon Sherman, editorial lead at SoundCloud, a few days after the show to find out more about the program, and what’s in store for the future.

ONE37pm: We know that this “First on SoundCloud” project is something that you guys are very passionate about. Could you give a little more detail about this program?

Sherman: The program itself has been going on since 2018, and it’s a correlation between SoundCloud and discovery essentially. It is very much well known by the rising stars that you see today whether it’s Lil Uzi, Billie, or Chance, etc., and we wanted to carry on that mantle that you see from SoundCloud with this program. It started in 2018 with Little Simz and Kehlani and moved on to the likes of Lil Tecca and Baby Rose. Then in 2021, we wanted to figure out how Soundcloud could have more skin in the game of discovery. There are a lot of rising artist programs out there, and with us, we wanted to work with the artists over the course of one year. We are working on creative first projects with these artists, and for SoFaygo that was his first show. 

We actually work with the artists—we don’t just want to give them a list of things to do for us. It’s more of a “let’s work together” scenario because that is how you get the most out of an artist. You get the best content and you have an artist that’s engaged. That was something that was really important to us, and a new aspect is that it goes on for the full year. We are putting our money where our mouth is, and we’re hoping to support our artists through our own platform through these career first milestone projects that all of the artists will overtake over the next six months. We feel really excited about this, and it’s very special!

ONE37pm: If you went back, let’s say 20 years ago, there was a full artist development program. How important is the developmental process?

Sherman: It’s super important. I think there are two lanes that artists go down. The lane of influence can be great, but it can also be a little toxic as well. Sometimes people think that because they have gotten here that they have automatically made it, and that is not the process, really. Even with SoFaygo as an example, he didn’t come out of nowhere; He’s been doing this for a couple of years now, and he was releasing songs on SoundCloud getting buzz. The development process isn’t just the music, but it’s how you carry yourself in certain spaces. He’s got the looks, music, and fashion, which is an important part of the development and creates careers. 

If you can have places like SoundCloud or DSP labels help you with development, that is super important. One thing I will say to rising artists is that there is a whole suite of channels that you can utilize, and you need to do so. Teach yourself—you don’t need to be the kid in the class that needs somebody to teach you. If you are willing to put in the effort and hard work, you can achieve it. Obviously, in my opinion, the music has to bang, but the development process is key, and artists can do it themselves.

ONE37pm: What makes you know that someone is special?

Sherman: I’m thirty-five years old, so I don’t pretend to be on TikTok every day! For me, it’s a few things. For one, the power of building a community is something that is key. That piques my interest because if somebody I know and trust is telling me that an artist is something special, and then you kind of go on that search to check them out. All it takes is for someone to get that word of mouth, and then you can go on these multitudes of platforms to learn more about these artists. Having a story to tell is also something that piques my interest. We shot a content series with SoFaygo, and his story was one that a lot of people could relate to.

He was making digital moves, but prior to his Atlanta show, he had never rehearsed before. It was his first time picking a rehearsal space, and it took two hours to set up the equipment. Those types of stories really catch my eye. Your digital footprint is important because you never know who’s watching.

ONE37pm: Okay, let’s talk about the man of the hour, SoFaygo. When we pulled up, that line was wrapping around Peachtree St.! This show was completely sold out! Were you guys expecting that response?

Sherman: That is almost like SoundCloud in real life. It’s a couple of things—it’s the community of SoFaygo and his fans. He has a huge following. We were expecting it to be absolutely busy, but he actually had to go outside and speak with some of his fans. Even before the show, we knew he was special, but when you have an artist that has that many people show up when they have never performed before—now you are on to something. The people that got in were very lucky, and the people that didn’t were still singing Faygo’s songs outside. Even to be a part of it is super special because you will always remember an artist’s first show. Harnessing that many people says a lot about Faygo and his community. 

It was just a really great night, especially since we have gone through a lot in the last year. Music is such a special connection point, and people like myself have missed live shows. That’s so special to me. For me personally, there is nothing like going to live shows because you get to meet like-minded people and those who like what you like. It’s a sign of good things to come.

ONE37pm: What is your advice to anybody in the music industry that wants to make it?

Sherman: I always used to have that question when I was a teenager. I would say there is no guide as far as how to do it in the music industry. My career like others goes all over the place and it flips all over the chart. If you are really into this and about that life, don’t give up. I was balancing an internship along with working at a bar. I’d moved back to the capital (London), and I knew I wanted to work in the music industry. Make those connections, work hard, and don’t give up. Be that annoying person that speaks to everyone. Some people don’t want to do that, but that’s now how it works. You have to roll your sleeves up and put in the work. That’s the best advice I can give.

Be sure to keep up with all things SoundCloud on Instagram. 

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Culture Music

Reggaeton Artist Feid Talks Musical Growth, Success and Family

This week’s guest on Monday to Monday hosted by Mike Boyd is none other than Feid, a 28-year-old Colombian singer and songwriter known for his Reggaeton style and R&B crooning. Being an artist hasn’t been easy during the course of this pandemic, but Feid has managed to still be incredibly consistent, along with his dedicated fan base of 1.8 million followers on Instagram. 

Feid has been hinting at working on more projects over the past few months and is set to drop his newest effort (which will be a completely different musical direction) in August. Feid recently sat down with Boyd to talk about his musical journey and artistry. Below is a preview of their interview.

Boyd: You have been doing so well! I’ve been following you on Instagram, and we’ve known each other for so long. It seems like everything is at this point where you are on fire. Talk about it!

Feid: First of all—Thank You for the support, your playlist, and all the ways you have helped my career too! I’m so happy right now. Everything that I have been working for and every dream that I had when I was a child is getting real. Right now I am super focused on working on new music. My album is coming out in August, and I’m working on another new album. I’m super happy and hyped!

Boyd: Let’s talk about the new album. What should people expect? I know you are working with Sky and a lot of other people that you have worked with before. How has your music changed?

Feid: I guess this is the first time that I am using a formula. When I do my albums, I normally don’t think about the business part of it. I’m just all about the music, vibing, and dropping it if it sounds good—I typically don’t think about it being a “super smash.” With this album, it was the first time that we spent many hours in the studio looking for that special sound and space in the Reggaeton music, and I think we found it. We have a lot of different Reggaeton styles, and there’s only one trap and R&B sound on the album. The other 12 songs are 100 percent Reggaeton, which people aren’t familiar with. It’s going to be cool, and that is what’s different!

Boyd: You are so creative, and so is your family. I was talking to a lot of your followers and fans, and they wanted to know if your family is involved in this album.

Feid: Yes! I am always dropping my ideas to my sister because she is the only one that can understand my mindflow. It’s so good because I just tell her what I need and what I want to feel, and she creates exactly what I had in my head. My father is super creative as well. He’s 64-years-old, but I can speak with him about music and art. He gives me feedback on how to get better and this time around he used a print technique on the cover that is like a “standstill.” It’s not hard to do, but my father has a certain technique and it’s so cool. Everybody is going to see exactly what I’m talking about when we drop the album.

We definitely don’t want to spoil this conversation, so make sure you check out the full interview above. In the meantime, you can keep up with Feid, and all of his latest releases on Instagram.

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The Hottest Emerging Hip-Hop Talent Unlock Global Styles with JD Sports

The first edition of our new IG Live Room series with JD Sports is up and running! Through the course of this social series, we’ll be connecting with various up-and-coming talent in the worlds of hip-hop, gaming, and sports. These IG Lives will give you chance to not only learn more about the rising stars, but also take a deeper look at how they incorporate fashion into their respective careers—specifically with styles from JD Sports, a universal brand that gives consumers access to many brands and styles as a part of their Global Access program. JD Sports Global Access provides an easy way to purchase these styles from all over the world by giving you first priority with exclusive products, so you’ll never have to worry about missing a drop.

In this debut installment, JD Sports is tapping into the hottest emerging talent in the music scene, with a special hip-hop segment hosted by ONE37pm’s very own Mike Boyd and featured musicians Fresco Trey, YTB Trench, and The Whooligan in an exclusive conversation centered around fashion and music.

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If you’re not familiar with him already, Mike Boyd is the head of Artist Relations & Music Strategy at VaynerMedia and has a weekly podcast series called Monday to Monday where he interviews artists and features their music on his popular playlist. Boyd started the conversation by asking each artist how they incorporate fashion into their respective careers and how their musical experiences have expanded their individual worlds.

Fresco Trey, a Memphis-born star on the rise, answered first. “I’m more of a ‘cool-out guy’ when it comes to fashion as I like to be comfortable. I pick a lot of neutral colors like white, black, and brown to wear when I’m chilling. For me, going to Ghana was a great experience that really changed my perspective. They were just so happy, and honestly, that is what made me start looking at fashion and music differently. That trip made me more comfortable with both because I saw how content they were over there, and it helped me be more honest with my music.”

Fresco Trey

“I’m more of a ‘cool-out guy’ when it comes to fashion as I like to be comfortable. I pick a lot of neutral colors like white, black, and brown to wear when I’m chilling.

Known for his feel-good vibes, Trey has gone from a budding artist sliding underneath the radar to working with some of the entertainment industry’s finest in just two years. Trey is a trailblazer— extremely passionate about his artistry, recently collaborating with ATL producing legend Zaytoven in January (worth noting: Zaytoven typically doesn’t work on smaller projects). 

Next in the chat is YTB Trench, an Ohio artist representing the Cincinnati music scene who has been steadily releasing music over the past several months. The rapper recently unleashed the video for his single ‘F.O.F.G’ in May and has been featured on three collaborations with Young Thug: ‘Paid the Fine,’ ‘My City Remix,’ and the ‘Mob Ties Remix’ from Slime Language 2. “F.O.F.G” has quickly become the artist’s second-most-watched video on his YouTube page behind his popular single ‘Trenches,’ currently sitting at 120,000 views and counting.

Trench is rapidly gaining traction in his career and naturally has been thinking more about his personal style both on and off the stage.“Fashion has never really been a problem for me because Cincinnati has always been very versatile when it comes to style. It’s just second nature—I dress according to my mood. Trey mentioned being comfortable, but sometimes I don’t want to be comfortable. There are days when I want to throw on a collared shirt.”

Last but not least we’ve got The Whooligan, a globally recognized musician and DJ with over fifteen years of performing experience. He’s also an entrepreneur who uses his expertise to help new artists looking to make an impact. Whooligan wears many hats in between his music gigs as the founder and CEO of Room Service International and Source Radio, along with being the A&R/ Label manager of Wear Paradise Worldwide. But one thing’s for sure, his “drip” is always at the forefront.

“Honestly, I just want to be comfortable. I pull inspiration from both the hip-hop world and the house world as well. I get a lot of inspiration from my friends, too, because they are fashion designers and make their own apparel. We wear each other’s clothing, and we try to support each other in that sense. My international friends really blessed my style because they are sending me stuff from everywhere in the world. When it comes to my style, I like to keep it oversized.

The Whooligan

As far as how music has changed my world—I owe everything I know about the world and different cultures through music and traveling.

As far as how music has changed my world—I owe everything I know about the world and different cultures through music and traveling. It’s a blessing to travel to different continents and learn about their cultures, customs, food, and music. It’s always a global perspective, and I’m super grateful that music has allowed me the opportunity to go to these places—South Africa has touched my soul.”

Check out the full conversation above, and be sure to check out the next JD Sportsx ONE37pm IG Live Room featuring the hottest streamers in gaming.

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Kanye West’s New Album: Everything We Know About ‘Donda’

Kanye is well-known for suggesting that an album will be released weeks, months or even years before it actually drops. In fact, we’ve been waiting for an album called Donda since 2019—or even earlier. Nonetheless, this week, a lot of big names in the music industry began to reveal the announcement of a listening party for the new album, in addition to some early reviews from folks involved in the project who have been lucky enough to already hear it.

Then last night during the NBA Finals, a Beats commercial aired featuring Sha’Carri Richardson and a song from the forthcoming album. The commercial also included a release date for the album: this coming Friday, July 23rd.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Kanye hasn’t released a project since 2019’s Jesus Is King, which was viewed by many as a bit of an underwhelming entry from one of the greatest rappers of all time. His last truly incredible project was his collaborative effort, Kids See Ghosts, which released back in June of 2018 alongside his solo album, Ye.

There have been rumors of an album titled Donda (Kanye’s late mother’s name) for an incredibly long time; many thought the 2019 gospel album was going to be the the long-awaited project, but then the album was pushed back. It finally seems like Donda is truly on its way.

So let’s take a moment to break down everything we know about the album so far ahead of its release later this week.

The Listening Party:

This is where most of the rumors began. The formal announcement of a listening party, hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, seems incredibly hopeful. It would be difficult to back out of this kind of announcement, but we’ve been hurt before. Kanye famously released Life of Pablo in the form of a Madison Square Garden fashion show back in 2016. So we may potentially be in for a similar situation, one in which the new album is broadcast live and then releases on streaming platforms some time soon after the live reveal. Tickets are available here, but as of now it’s unclear if there will be a live broadcast of the event available to the general public.

What Insiders Have Said:

Since the album cover reveal on Monday of this week, numerous people either involved with the album directly or the music industry in general have tweeted references to the forthcoming project. One of. the most major social moments implying the release of the album came from Def Jam Records. The tweet simply reads, “YZY SZN,” implying that, Yeezy Season is finally upon us.

Aside from the tweet from Def Jam, a few other insiders and artists have apparently heard the record, furthering fans’ hopes that we will get the album this week. Apparently, the Brooklyn Net’s Slim Reaper himself has already heard the album. In a series of tweets, media personality Justin Laboy revealed that West had played the album for him and Kevin Durant. And his review is incredibly glowing.

Praise doesn’t get much higher than “Album of the Year.” Laboy’s tweets were effectively some of the first signs that the album would drop this week, but many were still hesitant, as there was no confirmed release date available until the NBA Finals game last night.

The First Listening Party:

Although the public (or, hopefully public) listening party is set for this Thursday, there are rumors that an insider listening party took place last weekend. Although none of the rumors have been confirmed, it would explain how so many people became acutely aware of the album’s drop seemingly out of nowhere.

The first listening party supposedly took place over the weekend in Vegas, but as no major players have confirmed its existence, we’ll stick to waiting for the Thursday event before we really get excited.

Other Hype:

Numerous artists and brands have gotten in on the hype over the past few days, either tweeting directly at Kanye or generally positing when the album will release.

Although tweets like this don’t confirm anything about the album’s existence, one hopes that the growing public clamoring for the album will put some pressure on the man himself to give the community what we want.

Potential Features:

Very little is known about who will be featured on the album, but we do have a few fragments of information from social media over the past few months. First of all, Kanye himself was featured on Pop Smoke’s second posthumous release, Faith, which released earlier this month. The possibility of a Pop Smoke verse from before his untimely passing making it onto the record is definitely on some people’s minds.

Additionally, Tyler, the Creator was seen in the studio with West. It’s unclear exactly what form this collaboration would take, but the Tyler/Kanye fans (like myself) are certainly hoping that Felicia the Goat will make an appearance on Donda.

Then there are, of course, the frequent Kanye collaborators who we could hope to see on the album. We haven’t seen a Jay-Z / Kanye collaboration in quite some time, and I wouldn’t hold your breath, but hey, we can dream. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon was also once a frequent collaborator of West’s, but he hasn’t been featured on one of his projects in a few years. There’s of course Kid Cudi, but the album’s apparent billing under Kanye’s individual name as opposed to their joint project, Kids See Ghosts, seems to suggest that Cudi won’t be appearing on the forthcoming album.

Lil Nas X also announced this week that he would be dropping a song featuring Jack Harlow, produced by Kanye on the 23rd.

Although this collab doesn’t necessarily confirm anything, it begs the question: If Kanye is producing a Lil Nas X song, will Lil Nas X be appearing on Kanye’s album?

There are also numerous rumors floating around about a Pusha T collab, a Baby Keem appearance and a Lil Baby feature. Again, these are rumors from social media, so we’ll have to wait and see.

The Release Date:

The Beats commercial from last night’s NBA Finals seems to be a pretty solid sign that Donda will release this Friday, July 23rd. We have been hurt before, so I’m definitely still a little hesitant to confirm that the album will definitely drop on all streaming platforms this week, but it would be difficult to drop out now.

TL; DR:

All in all, we know that Kanye is hosting a listening party this Thursday, July 22nd, at Georgia’s Mercedes-Benz stadium. We also know that a couple of people have apparently heard the album already, implying that it is finished—or close to finished. Based on last night’s commercial, we also know that the album should drop this Friday, July 23rd. We’ll just have to cross our fingers and wait.

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Culture Music

Meet FN DaDealer, The New Member of YSL

On this episode of Monday to Monday, hosts Mike Boyd and Aaron “Don” Dukes welcomed artist FN DaDealer, a newYSL signee who just released his debut mixtape Big Deal. FN DaDealer has previously been featured on Slime Language 2, a collaboration album with YSL Records, Gunna, and Young Thug, making appearances on the tracks “Really Be Slime” and “Explosion.” DaDealer’s features were well received, with many calling those songs his “breakout moment,” and the rapper is looking to build on the momentum of his growing career with this first mixtape.

Early reviews of Big Deal have been positive, with the eighteen-year-old being praised for his storytelling, authenticity, and honesty within his artistry. This is only the beginning for the Atlanta rapper as there is certainly much more in store for the rest of 2021, but in the meantime, he caught up with Boyd to talk about his current project. Below is a preview of their interview.

Boyd jump-starts the convo by asking DaDealer about his favorite songs from the new tape. “There’s a lot,” he tells Boyd, saying that it’s hard for him to choose his favorite track. “It’s hard because I put my all into every song, but if I had to choose one, it would be “Feel It,” because it’s more on the “pain” tip. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of songs on there that are hard. The whole tape is hard actually!”

Following up on the song “Feel It,” Boyd asks the artist what it is about the single that makes it so special. “It just brought back the whole journey I’m going through now as far as music and what goes along with the territory of being a musician. From the outside looking in, things look really sweet, but there is a lot of stuff that comes with it. Life happens, you may have to cut off some of the folks around you, and I talk about all of that stuff in ‘Feel It.’”

Making a note that he would put “Feel It” on the weekly Monday to Monday playlist he has with GaryVee, Boyd then congratulates DaDealer on being the youngest member of the YSL family.

“I’m definitely the youngest member,” he says, mentioning that he just graduated high school last year. While young, the rapper focuses most on making relatable music that everyone can enjoy. “I like to make relatable music that is motivational. I talk about pain and how to get past it because once you do, you can live life. It isn’t even all about money; once you can get past the pain, you can live it up. I try to relate to everybody, but I especially try to talk to young people because I am young too, and I know what they are going through.”

After chopping it up a bit more about the emotion of his music, Don then enters the conversation to ask the rapper what song gets him into his “bag.” “Pissed Off,” he tells Don. I’ve got a lot of songs like ‘Pissed Off,” and there are two other tracks called “Flexin” and “Hate” that are similar. I definitely got in my bag with those, and again I would say you have to listen to the whole tape. All of the songs on there are fire for sure!”

You heard the man, make sure you check out his new tape Big Deal which is out now and be sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter for all of his newest updates and releases.

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Culture Music

New Artist Leo Conoza Discusses Creative Process Behind Music

This week’s Monday to Monday features special guest host Aaron “Don” Dukes as he chops it up with rising artist Leo Conoza. If you haven’t heard of Leo, you soon will, as the young gun is a talented musician who blends together the worlds of music and content creation quite nicely, using Instagram and YouTube to showcase his latest music video releases and VLOGs. Leo’s latest single, “21,” is a fun summertime song with an old school 90s/early 2000s cookout vibe, and very much needed after a tough year spent primarily indoors. While singing has been a passion since childhood, the artist is also a double threat, with plans to incorporate his rapping abilities into his music more in the future.

Leo, who once imagined that he would be a professional speller in a spelling bee as opposed to an artist is now living the dream and joined Don to talk about his new record, the influence Tyler the Creator has had on him and his music, and a lot more in their nearly 20-minute conversation. Below is a sneak peek of their interview.

Don: I’m messing with the song! I like the visuals and it’s one of those songs that you put in the summer playlist. 

Leo: See you get it! It’s a summer vibe. It’s fun and I really just wanted to make something that people could dance and get messed up to with their friends because that is what I like to do! 

Don: Was music always a passion for you?

Leo: Actually no! When I was younger I thought I was going to be a professional speller in a spelling bee. I used to do competitions, and Akeelah and the Bee really inspired me. That got me into writing, and I have always sung. I did those things separately for a long time until I realized that I could write my own songs. What made me realize that was Frank Ocean’s first album Nostalgia, Ultra. We kind of sound like each other, and he talks about a lot of stuff that I relate to, so I figured I could probably write as well.

Don: What is it like to be a creator? I know as a creator myself, you become more analytical about certain things that you do. How was that for you in terms of your recent song?

Leo: Recently I feel that I have gotten a grasp on patience. I love making music, and when I first started writing and really recording myself—I didn’t know what all goes into putting a production together and everything that has to happen when releasing a single. Dropping a song along with making a video and having a content rollout—I didn’t get the gist of that until recently. To do all of that for the first time was stressful, but I had a blast! My fiance and I co-produced it together, she also directed the video and we really had fun. One thing about me—I want to work with people who are just as enthusiastic about the project as I am. 

I want people to like what I’m doing. You don’t have to love it, but you have to be excited about the project and your role in it—whatever that may be. Being on the creative side and not being a consumer is fun. I was scared at first to put a visual to my songs, but it just takes time and dedication. I went through a whole different team before trying to shoot this video and a different creative process. It’s taken some time, but when I see the outcome I feel amazing. It feels great!

Don and Leo had a pretty cool conversation, so be sure to listen to check out the full interview, and follow them on Instagram.

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Culture Music

A Look Into T-Pain’s World With Nicolette Carothers

On this edition of Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd sits down with Nicolette Carothers to discuss what it takes to make it behind the scenes in the music industry. Nicolette is the head of operations at T-Pain’s Nappy Boy Entertainment, and has been working closely with the artist over the past two years. Prior to her work with T-Pain, Nicolette was the project manager at Cinematic Music Group for three years (2016-2019), and worked in Business and Legal Affairs at Universal Music Group from 2013 to 2016. Needless to say, Nicolette has years of experience in the music industry, and during the course of their nearly 30-minute conversation, Boyd and Nicolette covered the different elements of being on T-Pain’s team, the sacrifices it takes to be a music manager, T-Pain’s future projects, and so much more.

Checking in from Mexico City, Boyd starts the conversation asking Nicolette about the ups and downs of music management, and what it has been like working on T-Pain’s management team. “I’m the head of T-Pain’s operations (Nappy Boy Entertainment), and we agree that he is self-managed in a way. There’s myself and Los—shoutout to Los because I definitely couldn’t do this without him—he is our core! We do management functions for Pain, list the pros and cons of opportunities, and at the end of the day he decides whether he wants to do something or not. We’ll always have our opinions, but he makes his own decisions. That doesn’t always work for every artist, but for Pain specifically, I think that is what he has needed for the past few years.

As far as highs and lows—with highs it’s when we are winning and reaching our internal goals. We set those goals for ourselves, and I think that is important when it comes to expectations. So far we have been meeting those goals! When it comes to lows—management itself is a lifestyle. You blur a lot of lines because you are sacrificing your personal life for this position. You are essentially on-call 24/7, work on weekends and holidays, and take calls at dinner. It’s kind of tough, but it’s what you sign up for. Oh and stress too!”

Noting how Nappy Boy Entertainment is having a great year with the success of T-Pain’s “I Like Dat” (a collaboration with Kehlani), and his many upcoming projects, Boyd asks how 2021 has been for both T-Pain and the team. “Around January of last year, Pain and I broke out and assembled a team. So it’s Pain, myself, and two other people helping us,” she tells Boyd before detailing how this year in particular has been different for the artist.

“T-Pain is fully independent now, and he finally owns his masters. Weirdly enough to say—Covid was a blessing in disguise because it gave us time to really sit as this was happening and build our plan and how we wanted to position ourselves as a team. Pain is fully hands on now—Not that he wasn’t before, but I don’t think he was given the opportunity to be because of how quickly everything was moving. T-Pain is a marketing genius. Just look at the DM video! He texted it to us and we were like “where did you come up with this?!”

As their conversation continues, Boyd and Nicolette chat more about his recent opportunities, and willingness to step outside of the box, with Boyd bringing attention to the fact that T-Pain is still young, and now in a position where he can reinvent himself career wise. “It will be interesting! I can’t wait for everyone to hear the new album. I think it is more authentic to himself and the music he wants to create versus the sound that was being pushed upon him to stay current with what was going on.”

Be sure to check out the rest of Boyd and Nicolette’s interview above, and follow Nicolette on Instagram.

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Culture Music

Zack Slime Premieres Music Video for “Turn Me Cold”

Atlanta artist Zack Slime is releasing the official music video for his single “Turn Me Cold” featuring Unfoonk today through ONE37pm. Zack has been on a roll this year, dropping the videos for “Real Steppers,” his collaboration with Slimelife Shawty in April, and the single “Back And Forth” in May. The ATL rapper has also become known for his growing social media presence, amassing 48K and counting on Instagram, and over 4,000 subscribers on YouTube. Zack joined Monday to Monday host Mike Boyd ahead of the release for an exclusive interview to talk about the inspiration behind this video, working with Unfoonk, and what we can expect from him in the near future.

The “Turn Me Cold” video is a poignant reflection of Zack’s life and a tribute to his close friend Rudy, whom he considered a brother. “It’s really about my life and things that have happened like losing my little brother Rudy,” he tells Boyd before detailing a little more about their relationship. “It was close to home. Rudy and I didn’t have the same mother and father, but we were brothers, and I have his name tatted on my shoulder.” Though Unfoonk didn’t get the opportunity to meet Rudy in person, it was still important to Zack that he be featured on both the track and video. “We were in the studio, and I did the hook and told Unfoonk to get on the song because I know what he has been through too. We shot the video on Cleveland Avenue, and it was a pretty quick shoot actually!”

After talking more with Boyd about the video, ONE37pm’s Aaron “Don” Dukes joins in on the conversation asking Zack about his childhood and how he has stayed motivated to make music through the pandemic. “I grew up on Atlanta’s Cleveland Avenue down the street from Mt Zion, and I have been rhyming and freestyling since I was young. As far as staying motivated through the pandemic, I’ve got to do it for my loved ones that I’ve lost and can’t go hard with. That’s what keeps me going!”

Don ends the interview asking Zack about his future goals, and who influences him musically. “I want people to know that I am talented. You can’t really play with me, and people are going to see that in the future. As far as my influences—my brothers around me that make music inspire me. Thug motivates me a lot too to be great because we come from the same place. So that is what I pull from.”

You can watch the full video for “Turn Me Cold” above, and follow Zack Slime on Instagram.

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Culture Music

Emerging Artist Abhir Hathi Talks Through His Creative Process

On this week’s Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd welcomes rising artist Abhir Hathi. Signed to Slowly records, the young musician is gaining buzz now and was recently featured in People Magazine. Lazos y Nudos is truly a dynamic album with songs like “Una Bala Con Mi Nombre” showing off his R&B side, and “Big Dawg Freestyle” tapping into his rapping abilities. Riding high on the success, Abhir checked in with Boyd to give an update on everything going on in his world right now.

Abhir kicks it all off talking a bit about his recording process, which always starts at his home in Madrid. “I use my studio hours to arrange and record finals, but I always record the demos at home or with a friend,” he tells Boyd before giving more insight into how he divides his studio time. “I use my studio time very consciously. I’m the lone writer, so I write at home most of the time before taking it to the studio. The magic will happen in the studio, but it won’t be composition magic. It’s more of an arrangement/production magic. That is how I enjoy working. I like going into the studio and having the bar set to just work on my material.”

Drawing a good amount of his early inspiration and lessons from his grandfather, Abhir continues to carry those same lessons years later as he rises in his career. “My grandfather always told me that inspiration hits people that have a pen in their hand more, and that impacted me. If you have your pen, things will come to you because you will be in that space longer. All of the musicians and writers I know have a Whatsapp chat with themselves. My Whatsapp always starts with the same chat where I shoot my voice to remember melodies and ideas. Documenting those things and using it for inspiration is priceless and translates to money. If the idea is good and you are able to start or continue a song, it makes the song sound richer.”

After going in-depth about the music scene in Spain, Boyd points out that Abhir is one of those rare artist’s that doesn’t mind giving credit to anyone that works with him. “To work with people who are so talented and are invested in me is something that you can’t buy. You can pay good professionals, but it is never going to be like working with someone who truly believes in you. For me, giving shoutouts is the minimum that I can do.

Having a good infrastructure from the creative direction right down to the people who are doing the lighting for your videos is important because you can tell when everything is well connected, and everybody did their best. I can personally tell that in many projects, and mine is one of them. When the people are there not because I paid their fees, but because they actually like my music—you can spot the difference. It’s very important to me.”

Boyd and Abhir covered so much more during their conversation, including more on Abhir’s debut album. You can listen to the full interview above, and follow Abhir on Instagram and Twitter.