For the past several years, our Billboard charts and radio airwaves have been riddled with a set of distinctive sounds: those of producers, rather than singers. The number of singers who have become household names has waned, while the number of producers with that honor seems to have exponentially grown. But why? When did it become commonplace for the men behind the music to overshadow the artists that sing in front of it?
As a brief forage into musical history will show, the idea of the omnipresent producer, or what is oft-referred to as the “super producer,” is not a novel concept. The turn of the century introduced the music world to a producing pair of high school buddies from Virginia Beach, Va. named The Neptunes. Their incredible catalogue of production credits includes work with Madonna, The Hives, Jay-Z and Mariah Carey. Their futuristic, dynamic sound earned them many accolades, wealth and opportunities.
But something drastic occurred between the reign of The Neptunes and the rise of super producers in the last several years. In the past, these men were musicians first and producers second, trained both formally and environmentally in harmony, composition and cadence. Because of their musical prowess, these men were highly acclaimed and significantly paid to employ their creativity in constructing music tailored to each artist. Now, artists and record companies seem to entirely tailor to the producer.
Pharrell is constantly finding new ways to raise his game. One of those ways is Seeing Sounds, the new N¤E¤R¤D album that drops in June. It’s been nearly four years since the Rock/Hip-Hop/Funk trio consisting of The Neptunes (Pharell & Chad Hugo) and Shay Haley last released an album. Seeing Sounds promises to deliver a new, experimental sound that has influences ranging from everything from the Discovery Channel to European electronic music. Currently touring with Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Rihanna on the eagerly anticipated Glow In The Dark Tour. AllHipHop sat down with Pharrell the day after the tour’s first show in Seattle to see what else he is up to.
Last night (April 23rd) was the West Coast grand opening of his Bape Store on Melrose, which brought out the likes of Kanye West, Jermaine Dupri and Pete Wentz—as well as Nicole Richie, Joel Madden, Joel Silver, N¤E¤R¤D, Nigo, Fam-Lay, Mike Tyson, Serena Williams, Jonah Hill, Takashi Murakami, Omarion, etc.
Pharrell Williams is so in-demand as a producer that every time he tours with N¤E¤R¤D his most consistently weird project, he probably costs himself money. But in the days before the release of his latest gun-for-hire superstar collaboration, Madonna’s Hard Candy, he’s on the road again, for reasons that make perfect sense to him.
“I can’t even explain how surreal it feels — and it’s such a pleasure, man — to see this army of kids who know you and love what it is you represent,” he says. “And they understand what you go through; they understand that you’re not perfect. You make music for them because they’re not perfect, but we agree on just having a good time and getting lost in music. There’s no better feeling than that.”
Busta Rhymes will release his eight studio album in mid year and has set the title to be “I’m Blessed”. The CD will be released in stores on July 1st with “Don’t Touch Me (Throw Da Water on ‘Em)” produced by LV & The Hitmen as the lead single and “We Made It”produced by Cool & Dre featuring Linkin Park.
Busta whose real name is Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., has said that he returned working with his past collaborators The Neptunes which he did 2 tracks with them called “G-Stro” & “Kill Dem feat. Tosh” Tosh (a newly sign flipmode artist). “Kill Dem” is like a throw to jamaica and “G-Stro” is clearly a club anthem. Other Producers who are contributed on the album are Cool & Dre (4 Tracks), Focus & Dr. Dre (1), Mr. Porter (1), DJ Scratch (2 Tracks), Rick Ross (1) Focus (Without Dr. Dre) (1) Nottz (1) Timbo/Danja (1) Green Lantern (1) & LV & The Hitmen (1).
Thanks To UviZZLe
Busta Rhymes – I’m Blessed (2008) (July 1st)
07 – G-Stro (Neptunes)
10 – Kill Dem feat. Tosh (Neptunes)
- Back On My Bullshit (Neptunes)
2008- Grammy award-winning, hip-hop pioneer Q-Tip hits the road in July on the Rock The Bells tour in support of his highly-anticipated new album “The Renaissance” out this summer via Universal Motown. The legendary MC takes to the stage with his live band and EMPD’s DJ Scratch to perform his latest material and dip into his previous solo release- 1999’s Amplified-which spawned the hits “Vivrant Thing” and “Breathe & Stop.”
The demand for The Renaissance continues to escalate. Last July, Q-Tip offered audiences a taste of the album with “WorkItOut”- a quintessential hip-hop jam currently available on iTunes. He went on to perform new tracks such as “Fever” and “Official” while on the road. Special guests Norah Jones, Pharrell and D’ Angelo have been added to the mix and ensure that The Renaissance is the summer’s must-have album. Senator Barack Obama can also be heard on the album as Q-Tip, an avid supporter of the presidential candidate, samples one of his speeches.
Q-Tip – The Renaissance (2008) (July)
Talented singer,songwriter, artist, and entrepreneur, Solange Knowles AKA SoL-AngeL, is ready to set the world on fire with a sound that is sure to breathe life into a sometimes stagnant music scene. With her sophomore set, SoL-AngeL and The Hadley Street Dreams, on her new label home of Geffen Records through Music World Entertainment, Solange takes us through a walk in yesteryear with an uber modern twist. “Sol-Angel & The Hadley Street Dreams” is due for release on August 26th.
For the remainder of the album Sol-Angel went on to work with Pharrell for the finger-snapping, feel-good first single “I Decided,” *Check The Audio Player*. The video for “I Decided,” directed by the creative Melina, will offer the viewer a glimpse of who Solange, the visionary, really is: It is the ultimate pop art piece. Its psychedelic, it’s adventurous, it’s colourful and not so colorful, it’s intelligent, and it’s the inner makings of Solange. “I love pop art; in fact I am a painter myself and have several pieces under my belt that I haven’t put on display but soon plan to.” The “I Decided” video deals with pop culture from the 60s to the future. It displays Sol-Angel in settings from American Bandstand, to the Civil Rights Movement, to New Wave, and finally a “Cosmic Journey” future.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” Novel steps inside the booth to talk about his Rowdy/Capitol debut album, “The Audiobiography,” and following his family’s footsteps into the music industry, why it’s easy to pick up women in a recording studio, and what minimum-wage paying job he’d accept as long as he could continue to record music and support his children.
DJ Booth: Let’s talk about the debut album, The Audiobiography, set to be released later this year, hopefully October. According to your bio, the album is going to, quote, “let the world know who you are.” Are we talkin’ one-hundred-percent full disclosure, or a reserved/abbreviated version of this novel?
Novel: Just two chapters, just two chapters! Every other album, the chapters are gonna continue, so it’s just a few chapters of my life. I got a song that features Ben Folds, who’s a really incredible artist, “I Am”, with Talib Kweli and Spree Wilson. Most of the album was produced by me, but we have other producers like Green Lantern, Dallas Austin, No I.D. and Robin Thicke. It’s an interesting album; it’s gonna be different for everybody, all different spectrum’s. Check out the “Damn” track on Novel’s Myspace , sounds like a thicke production. Interview In Mp3
While making the rounds at the Javitts Center in New York for the New York Comic Con, Melvin James talking about the lastest films coming out this summer, he mentioned his cast for his next film, “Caramel”, a coming-of-age film similiar to ‘American Graffiti’. Melvin James: Right now, we have Chingy, the group Cherish, Teyana Taylor and we’re closing to having Lauren London and Meagan Good.
James, who had previously directed the indie films, ‘Honeybee’ and ‘A Miami Tail’ with Trina, also had directed the first season of BET’s College Hill. “Caramel” is a story that I wrote, based on an original story by Cris Cartier. It’s about two high school friends that grew up together in Jamaica Estates, Queens. They are best friends, and the coolest in school. It’s sort of a love story, a throwback to a film called ‘American Graffitti’. It’s about teenagers and their cars, and their cliques. It’s an all around coming of age story.
Kenna will be playing at Coachella this weekend during Mark Ronson’s set.
Saturday 4/26, 8:30 – 9:25 PM
Mariah Carey recently did an interview for Spain’s Shangay Express magazine and she took a few not-too-subtle digs at the one and only Madonna! When asked about Madonna (how dare that reporter mention that name infront of Mimi!!!) and how she feels about her Madgesty recording an R&B album, Mariah responds that it’s “interesting.” Then pauses, and continues, “It’s very interesting.” When the reporter mentions that Madonna worked with Pharrell (who also worked with Mimi), she asks if Mariah gave her some indirect inspiration. Carey responds, “I don’t know, I don’t have any idea about her intentions. I’ll just say that it’s very interesting.”
Johnny Cupcakes (John Earle) a Boston-bred designer will art & design stuff for Chester French album. “Are you guys hip to Johnny Cupcakes? He’s a Boston-bred designer whose line of Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts are KILLING it in the street wear world right now. We’ve been friends with him even before he opened his first shop and have sported his fresh wares for ages.
We’ve been hanging out the past few days and they’ve been nice enough to let me crash on their couch. We’ve been brainstorming logo’s and marketing ideas for their new album. In addition to that, we’ve been eating at some gourmet spots, like Subway.
Marcus Miller’s ninth and latest album is simply titled Marcus. Equally simply, Marcus has great jazz funk music on it. The CD showcases Miller’s skills as an electric bassist and the 14 songs include solos that reveal the talent of his band members, drummer Poogie Bell, trumpeter Patches Stewart, saxophonist Keith Anderson, keyboardist Bobby Sparks and harmonica player Gregoire Maret. Miller and his band cover a few classic songs—Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” Miles Davis’s “Jean Pierre” and Tower Of Power’s “What Is Hip?” and they also perform an instrumental version of “When I Fall In Love” that sounds jazzy and is highlighted by harmonica.
The album gets off to a wonderful start with “Blast,” which has a Middle Eastern vibe and jazz saxophone in its melody. Guest artist Corinne Bailey Rae’s vocals come as a delightful surprise on the third track, “Free,” after hearing the two instrumental tracks before it. The eighth track, “’Cause I Want You,” featuring Shihan The Poet, is the least melodic, mostly sounding like a spoken word poem accompanied by music. Two versions of Robin Thicke’s “Lost Without U” are also on the album, the second version featuring Taraji Henson and Lalah Hathaway.
Marcus Miller – Marcus (2008)
01 – Blast!
02 – Funk Joint
03 – Free feat. Corrine Bailey Rae
04 – Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder Cover)
05 – Milky Way feat. Keb ‘Mo
06 – Pluck (Interlude)
07 – Lost Without U feat. Lalah Hathaway (Robin Thicke Cover)
08 – Cause I Want You feat. Shiban The Poet
09 – Ooh feat. Lalah Hathaway
10 – When I Fall In Love
11 – Strum
12 – Jean Pierre (Miles Davis Cover)
13 – What Is Hip (Tower Of Power Cover)
14 – Lost Without U (Spoken Word) feat. Taraji P. Henson (Robin Thicke Cover)
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