A Band That Knows Where the Money Comes From
Chester French isn’t your typical rock band. Singer D.A. Wallach and multi-instrumentalist Max Drummey met as freshmen at Harvard, where lanky, longhaired Drummey majored in social anthropology and twee, preppy Wallach graduated as the top student in the school’s African-American Studies program. In the video for their best-known song, “She Loves Everybody,” a pretty girl punches the stuffing out of the two helpless weaklings, leaving them bloody-nosed among their broken guitars and drums. Wallach and Drummey, who eschew leather and spandex for bowties and croquet mallets, were signed to Interscope Records just as they graduated two years ago. An album released in April, “Love The Future”, has made the duo upcoming stars, albeit not superstars. But besides the fans drawn to their music, Chester French have amassed a following by spending hours a day networking online. Should you encounter the band on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Digg, Twitter or any of the other social sites where they’ve set up shop, you’ll be encouraged to sign up at chesterfrench.com as a V.I.P. for the band’s concierge service. What you might not realize is you’re adding yourself to a database at Salesforce.com.
Wallach told me in a phone call from the band’s current tour that he and Drummey aren’t kidding that they see their fans, not themselves, as the V.I.P.’s. “Traditional record labels looked at music listeners as fans who were supposed to get in line to get an autograph,” he said. That worked, in Wallach’s view, when radio and TV were dominated by a few supersize broadcasters. “When the Beatles played ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ seven million people saw it,” he said. “But today, there’s no channel available that will deliver that size an audience. In this day and age, it’s about having a relationship with the people who listen to us. The relationship with someone who likes our music is much more of a conversation than it would have been, even in the ’90s.” Instead of giving interviews to reporters or dropping by radio stations, Wallach spends most of his time online, going through an average 100 to 200 e-mail messages a day. “We respond to every single e-mail we get,” he said. “I do an hour in the morning and an hour at night.
Former NERD, Man Of Style & Substance
From his humble beginnings as a scribe on Wreckx-N-Effect’s 1992 hit “Rump Shaker,” Pharrell moved up in the world to become a household name with NERD and a coveted music producer (who may or may not be dating Rihanna, apparently). He represents an entire generation of entrepreneurial, stylish men who are enjoying great success (he the most so) in the music/fashion arenas, as well as exemplary cross-over successes who continue to reinvent themselves on an almost daily basis.
The inaugural trailblazers list recognizes men from a wide range of professions–they are linked only by their ability to live the life of a made man. This year’s honorees include: hip-hop legend Pharrell Williams, Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz, pork-belly impresario David Chang, Avatar leading man Sam Worthington, and Charlie Villanueva, the first NBA player to talk to fans on Twitter during a game. MadeMan.com and Break Media Recognized 2009’s Best and Brightest on July 29th Bash in New York. In a world full of quasi-celebrities, short-lived Internet sensations, and one-hit wonders, some men still stand out as true leaders in their fields, and they deserve to be honored. Break Media and MadeMan.com, the ultimate online men’s lifestyle destination, have selected a list of 50 men who exemplify the image of a made man, and are fit to be called trailblazers. The motto of MadeMan.com, “Wit, Wisdom, and Women,” will be on full display in New York on July 29th when MadeMan hosts an exclusive invitation-only party honoring this year’s trailblazers. The full list of names and more information on the party can be found at mademan.com.
Klue.com: Do you think your friends Nigo and Pharrell have sold out to big brands like Louis Vuitton?
Verbal: Street doesn’t have to connotate a low price range. When I first saw Pharrell, he was wearing a trucker hat when it wasn’t even in. He had on a Billabong T-shirt. I don’t think a lot of hip-hop artists at that time really wore Billabong. Maybe it’s cool in Virginia, where he’s from, but it transcends cultural borders. Nigo just started out pressing T-shirts at home. I don’t think he thought it’d blow up. About the Louis Vuitton thing, I think they’re just trying to take it to the next level because these big brands are interested in what they’ve been neglecting for many years. Pharrell, Nigo and Kanye are trying to go there and change high fashion. I wouldn’t say it’s selling out. They’re trying to change it from the bottom up.
Teyana Taylor broke down and cried after reading positive comments written about her in the blogosphere. The 18-year-old Harlem native became increasingly emotional while scrolling through various posts from her fans. “I’m not sad ya’ll,” she said wiping the tears from her face. “It’s tears of joy.” While reading remarks ranging from “I love you Teyana,” to “You are such an inspiration,” Taylor got so emotional that she could barely speak. “The reason why this is so special to me is because I go on blogs and I read the comments and the mean things that people [write] about me every single day. This might seem little to everybody else but this is really big to me. I never seen comments like this before. I’ve never really seen a whole bunch of people come together and support me.”
Teyana Taylor – From A Planet Called Harlem (2009)
Producers & Guests: Hit Boy, The Neptunes, Jazze Pha, Bangladesh, Mad Scientist, Kelis, Frost, Shondre, Six Sense…
– Color Me Pink
– Young Girl feat. Eve
– Traffic Stop (Hit Boy)
– Google Me (Jazze Pha)
– Complicated (Hit Boy)
– Switch It Up (Neptunes)
– Good Enough
– Naah Mean
– Rock Star (Jazze Pha)
– I Feel Alive (Spinnin’) feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
– Kisser (Neptunes)
Okay, i know we’re all sick of all those Clipse interviews where they talk the same stuff again and again but this one is a good one, well they talk again about everything we already know but it’s a funny interview, check it out. Thanks To Skitzo.
Update: July 31st
„A blogger friend of mine contacted RT’s management to get the facts on the song. I’m not sure if it was Neil or not but he was told that the song was old and would not be on the album. He later removed the song from his site. He put up the explanation on his website and twitter site but I doubt any of the other sites care enough to correct it. They are not embarrassed by the song, they just don’t like anyone thinking it’s the first single or a new recording. They also think Scott Storch was the one to leak it. Some of the links have been removed but once something hits the net, you can never get it back.“ Thanks To Cynic27.
Update: July 27th
Robin Thicke is currently working on his 4th Studio Album which is due end of the year and a new Thicke track just leaked called “Dirty It Up” produced by Scott Storch, pretty nice tune sounds unfinished though and its good to see Storch back producing.
Robin Thicke – Dirty It Up (Scott Storch)
Robin Thicke – 4th Studio Album (2009)
Producers & Guests: Jeffrey Bahsker, The Surf Club, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz…
Virginia duo The Clipse are known just as well for their cocaine affiliation as they are for their clever rhymes about the street life and what to do with all that money. However I just got word this morning that the two may be checking into Detox or already have. Of course I’m talking about the long awaited mythical Detox album from Dr. Dre. The album is said to be near completion after a decade and the finishing touches are now being put on it.
The Clipse I’m hearing were called in last weekend and instantly agreed to be a part of the project, writing for Dre. Other people known to be working on Detox are of course Eminem, 50 Cent, and others such as Jay-Z, and even Kanye West. I’m not sure I even care about this album anymore. I’m just waiting for it to drop, if it ever will and that’s it. in any case though this is definitely a good look for The Clipse. These two deserve any kind of shine they get so congrats to them.
You know that Avery Storm’s first solo album is going to be interesting when, prior to its September release, some of his recent efforts include one of the few remixes of Jay-Z’s “Death of Autotune” off the Jiggaman’s soon-to-be-heard, Blueprint 3. Avery is among a handful of producers who somehow got his hands on the instrumental, then overlaid vocals. His remixing talent is just a taste of what’s to come, though. Avery recently played me a batch of new material off his new album, Shotgun Love, at Quad Studios in New York. The songs are filled with the kind of beats ideal for summertime blasting from cars and clubs both. The songs are hot, and Nelly seems to think so too. After all, Shotgun Love is being released on the rapper’s Derrty Entertainment label with a slew of guest producers and artists. Pharrell backs him too—not so bad to have two heavyweights already in your corner.
Avery is still figuring out the album’s sequence; he has a mere 300 tracks to choose from. “The way I’m going to narrow it down is what is most accurate to me at the moment and most true. But I’m pretty much already there and know what it’s going to be—about 13 songs in total.” Avery played me the album’s single, “Not Like My Girl,” featuring rapper Rick Ross with The Runners producing, plus “Terrified” featuring Jadakiss, “My Life”, “Mistakes”, and the album’s namesake intro “Shotgun Love.” “Terrified” is my personal favorite; it’s heavy, and hearing it for the first time in a soundproof studio at highest possible volume with Avery singing along was certainly an experience.
Avery Storm & Pharrell
60 Rappers In 60 Days
The VA boys are making the album you’ve been dreaming about. The Clipse are ready to get what they deserve. After years of being acknowledged as hip hop’s most lyrical duo, the brothers Thornton want more. Til The Casket Drops (Re-Up Gang/Columbia), their third album (on their third record label), drops this summer and they’re taking calculated steps to make sure they win big critically—and commercially. VIBE caught up with Terrence “Pusha T” Thornton, 32, and Gene “Malice” Thornton, 36, to talk about how they’ll sneak in those slick rhymes, when the rap game got real, and why your favorite song isn’t on their radar.
VIBE: The Neptunes handled most of the production on your last two albums—what’s changed?
Pusha T: I think that this album was just about growth and catering to the fans. I think that a lot of people wanted to hear us on other production. I think that was the biggest thing. I think people love the Clipse but [we’d] always hear, “Yo, we wanna hear y’all on such and such and so and so.” And it’s a growing point for the Clipse. It was like, Damn, let’s venture out and make every part of this album an event. There’s a couple features on the album that aren’t just family-oriented. We worked with different producers. Everything just needs to be different and eventful.
V:It sounds like you’re tight-lipped about who you’re working with. Can you let a couple secrets out of the bag on the production end?
P: On the production end you got Sean C & LV…DJ Khalil…Swizz Beatz. You got The Neptunes. You got Nottz. On the feature tip, we got Cam’Ron. We got Kanye West. That’s what’s etched in stone as of right now.
Nas and his estranged wife, Kelis, have welcomed a baby boy named Knight to the hip-hop world, according to the Queens rapper. In a video recorded by Video Music Box and posted online, Nas revealed the name of his newborn. “My son is born today, so shout-out to my son, Knight,” the rapper says in a clip, which is stamped with Tuesday’s date. Kelis went into labor on Tuesday, but a representative for the singer had not confirmed details of her delivery as of press time. The couple publicly announced the pregnancy in January after being married for four years. The pair appeared to be in good spirits months after the announcement as they solicited names for their child from MTVNews.com readers. However, just two weeks after the solicitations, Kelis unexpectedly filed for divorce from her husband. Congrats from the whole theneptunes.org team.
Three years ago, back in 2006, I did an update on grindin.free.fr about Queen Latifah workin on her 6th album ‘Trav’lin’ Light’ (2007) with The Neptunes but it didn’t make the final cut. Queen Latifah is finally releasing her 7th Studio album „Persona“ which is due August 25th. Queen Latifah’s 9th studio album was executive produced by Cool & Dre and apparently by Pharrell according to rap-up.com, with appearances from hip-hop and R&B royalty including Busta Rhymes, Mary J. Blige, Jadakiss, and Boyz II Men. Thanks To Skateboard.
Oh boy. So yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to get a advance listening to one of my favorite groups out there, Clipse. If you don’t know, in my humble opinion, they are one of the hottest groups out there. Not to mention, Til The Casket Drops is one of the albums I’ve been looking forward to this year. But back to manuscript. My man @StevenVictor came through the other day and gave us a listen to about 10 of the 14 tracks set to be on Til The Casket Drops. Let me tell you though. Not one track disappointed in my mind. And The Neptunes, who produced 8 of the tracks, came through with some heat! Sean C & LV provided some production as well as “Kinda Like A Big Deal” beatsmith, DJ Khalil. All three producers provided the perfect backdrop for Malice & Pusha T. to lay down there impetuous verses.
Standout tracks like “Back By Popular Demand aka Popeye“, with a witty verse from Harlemite Cam’Ron, “Champions” and “Show Off” have been running through my head all day. The leaked “Eyes On Me” featuring Keri Hilson, sounds much different from the one circulating around the internet lately. I’m not going to go into too much more detail, but I was impressed by what The Brother Thornton have been cooking up all these months. Some of the features tentatively lined up for the album included, Rick Ross, Ab-Liva, Pharrell, Keri Hilson, Kenna and Drake. The album is set to be out on October 20th so keep your eyes open for new Clipse singles coming out soon. Oh yeah, and the “I’m Good” video is on its way!
Clipse – Til The Casket Drops (2009) (October 20th)
Producers & Guests: The Runners, Swizz Beatz, Rick Rubin, Sean & LV, Justice League, Dame Grease, The Neptunes, Danjahands, DJ Khalil, Reefa, Boi 1-Da, Keri Hilson, Kenna, Cam’Ron, Timbaland, Scott Storch…
– Kinda Like A Big Deal feat. Kanye West (DJ Khalil)
– Popeye feat. Pharrell & Cam’Ron (Neptunes)
– Wretched Pitiful Poor Blind & Naked feat. Pharrell & Kenna (Neptunes)
– I’m Good feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
– Eyes On Me feat. Pharrell & Keri Hilson (Neptunes)
– Show Off feat. Drake (Neptunes)
– I’m Good feat. Rick Ross (Remix) (Neptunes)
– Maybach Music feat. Fabolous, Drake & Rick Ross (Remix)
Mark Ronson and Pharrell Williams have gone head-to-head in a DJ battle – with NERD frontman Williams walking away with the crown. The stars hit the decks at the launch of Bathing Ape, a new shop in London, held at nightclub 24. Their sets ended in a competition to see who was a better DJ. A party-goer tells Britain’s The People, “Both Pharrell and Mark took it very seriously.”
Bape Party London
The hip-shaking, belly-undulating mistress of sultry Latin music spent more than a year toiling on She Wolf — her follow-up to 2005’s Oral Fixation Vol. 2 — and she’s hoping the club-ready album will provide fans a bit of an escape in these uncertain times. “It’s a very electronic album,” the singer told MTV News. “Dance-oriented. Club-oriented. I want people to have fun with it. Forget about the troubles. Forget about the crisis. Forget everything for a minute — at least while they listen to the music.” “You never know the final destination of a creative project,” she said. “At first, you are standing in front of a white canvas, and that’s the scariest thing on earth. You don’t know if you’re gonna do justice to the gifts that you have been given.
Or if you are gonna be able to present the public something decent. You just have a huge question mark in front of you, and it’s just frightening. But from the beginning of the project, I knew that I wanted an album that had a lot more to do with electronica. That would have a more bigger bottom end.” “I wanted a bassier album with harder sounds,” she explained with a laugh. “I wanted the beats to be very solid. I wanted to build a solid foundation starting from the beats.” That’s where her producers stepped in. Comparing the collaborative studio process to parents raising a child, the 32-year-old Shakira said of Pharrell, “He comes up with ideas, and he executes them immediately. It’s really cool, because I’m a little bit slower, and he’s the man with the big strokes, and he really comes with great ideas. It was a great synergy.”
Shakira – She Wolf (2009) (September 21st)
– Did It Again feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
– Good Stuff (Neptunes)
– Why Wait For Later (Neptunes)
– Long Time
– She Wolf
– Loba (She Wolf) (Spanish)
– Devoción (Spanish)
Rihanna has sparked rumours she’s dating hip-hop star Pharrell Williams, after he was spotted leaving her London hotel several times during her stay in the British capital. The Umbrella hitmaker split from ex-boyfriend Chris Brown earlier this year following a well-publicised fight in Los Angeles in February, which left the Kiss Kiss singer facing criminal charges.
He was handed a community service order and five years supervised probation after pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna last month. The 21 year old has since been romantically linked to Lil Wayne’s protege Drake, but the pair has dismissed the rumours – and now reports claim she’s moved on by dating the NERD star.
New York-based rock duo Chester French is serious about goofing around, if that make sense, and so far it’s worked. They’re just a couple of years out of Harvard, and already 24-year-olds D.A. Wallach and Max Drummey (who are signed with Pharrell’s Star Trak label) are taking their hip-hop-meets-power-pop on tour with Blink 182. Interviewmagazine.com caught up with them last Friday before they performed a charity set in Soho for the non-profit Music Unites. Read on for startling confessions on everything from Chester French’s embarrassing childhood music tastes (Phish, Kenny Loggins) to their desire to incorporate dildo props into their work.
DARRELL HARTMAN: So your big news this summer is that you’re touring with Blink 182.
D.A. WALLACH: We are, yeah. It starts the 24th, in Vegas.
DH: They came to you?
DAW: They came to us. When we lived in LA for a year last year we didn’t do go to a lot of parties, but we did go to one party and at that party we met both Talib Kweli and Travis Barker. Talib ended up being a big collaborator of ours, and then Travis also took us under his wing a little bit.
UK dubstep stars Chase & Status will be hellbent on wowing the crowd at this weekend’s Global Gathering. The production duo from London – Saul Milton and Will Kennard - are buzzing after learning hip-hop behemoth Pharrell Williams wants to work with them. The NERD star also has his sights set on collaborations with Benga and Skream, both on the bill at the Stratford-upon-Avon dance festival.
Straight from the Chester French VIP Concierge Service. This Is such a dopeass tune, some house shiet Off Clinton Sparks. Check It Out.
Pharrell is being sued by the band Greggy Tah. In a new federal lawsuit that was filed this week, Thomas Jordan claims that The Neptunes producer produced track “All I Wanna Do (Feel Like Me),” used by the rap group The Clipse, rips off his “Whoever You Are” song from 1996. The lawsuit says that Pharrell actually produced the 2007 track back in 1997. Check the Greggy Tah tune out, it definitely sounds the same though.
Geggy Tah – Whoever You Are (1996)
Clipse – Feel Like Me feat. Pharrell (1997)
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