Class Is In Session

10-Spot-Post-Final-620x347

“Immaculate, this scatter rapping, no passing my blunt


Don’t you put me on freshman covers, I’m posing with lunch


Think they worthy of presence presently passing ’em up


No competing with bleachers jogging I’m running a muck” 

– Isaiah Rashad (“Soliloquy”)

Well, it’s that time of year again and everyone’s favorite debate can now begin; who should grace the cover and make the 2014 XXL Magazine freshman list? As the years go on, I find this list to be irrelevant, simply because of the over saturation of rappers and how rapidly new ones emerge on the scene. Additionally, at this point, there is a something for everybody and there really is no need to complain about the artists you don’t like. Just remember, having millions of YouTube hits and Twitter followers does not always translate in to mainstream success!

Both in 2012 and 2013, I got 5 out of the 10 correct, so I’m hoping for a better score this year! Feel free to share your list with me: You can post your list in the comment section at the bottom of the page or Tweet me @BreezyOnTheBeat! As always, I will update this page once the official cover is out!

Predictions for Cover:

August Alsina – August had a strong single and radio rotation with his single “I Luv It” featuring Trey Songz and Chris Brown, he also has a great sense of melody, and signed with Def Jam this year. His debut album, Testimony, is scheduled to be released on April 15th.

Sage The Gemini – Say what you want about Sage, but with two big singles (“Red Nose” and “Gas Pedal“), and girls twerking all over Vine, you can’t deny the impact his music has had in the clubs and on the radio this year.

Troy Ave – Acclaimed as one of the leaders of the new New York City hip-hop, Troy Ave has been putting in a lot of work this year in order to make himself a staple in the industry.

Ty Dolla $ – The Taylor Gang representer from the West Coast has had a great year so far with his own singles, as well as producing and writing for others including Chris Brown (“Loyal“) and Jennifer Lopez (“Girls“). His recently released Beach House EP has been well received thus far.

Chance The Rapper – The Internet has spoken.

Lil’ Bibby – With a co-sign from Drake and an impressive debut mixtape, Free Crack, Lil’ Bibby is one of this years leaders of the Chicago hip-hop scene.

Isaiah Rashad – TDE’s latest addition has been a nice fit to the crew and slowly proving that he can hold his own in a room full of superstars.

Young Thug – According to DJ Drama’s interview with The Breakfast Club, Young Thug declined to be on the cover.

K Camp – Atlanta’s K. Camp has been creating a strong buzz with his singles “Money Baby” and “Cut Her Off” featuring 2 Chainz; he recently signed a deal with Interscope as well.

Rich Homie Quan – “Type of Way” was a major his this year, he is featured on YG’s breakout single “My Hitta,” and he helped Michigan State win the Rose Bowl. Don’t feel any type of way when he’s on the cover Just work harder! 

Vic Mensa –  #SAVEMONEY

Perhaps a trip to the XXL office?

vm

Fat Trel – MMG’s latest signee has had a strong buzz over the last few years and with the help of Rick Ross, Fat Trel should have no problem being at the forefront this year.

Honorary Member: Doe B. (RIP)

Honorable Mentions:

See you in 2015!
————————————————————————————————-
Update: I didn’t do so bad!
2014-freshmen-class-630x839
2014 Freshman Class
Chance The Rapper. Rich Homie Quan. Isaiah Rashad. Ty Dolla $ign. Lil’ Durk. Troy Ave. Vic Mensa. Lil’ Bibby. Jon Connor. Jarren Benton. August Alsina.
Advertisements

Return Of The Mack

2013 was truly an incredible year in music, especially in hip-hop. We got albums from Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Eminem, Kanye West, and Jay Z; Mike Will, Young Chop, and DJ Mustard made every beat, and twerking went from Atlanta strip clubs to mainstream America. Although there were many great moments this year, 2013 was the year of the ‘Mack,’ and if the momentum continues in to 2014, Mark Morrison better start planning his comeback. Mac Miller, Macklemore, and Mack Wilds all created individual lanes, dominant fan bases, and earned a total of 8 (7 for Macklemore, 1 for Mack Wilds) Grammy nominations.

“Shut your pie-hole, I’m dope and I know
/ My voice sound like it was a sample off a vinyl / I don’t mind those hating on my style /
I tend to take the high road, get stoned and fly low”

– Mac Miller (“S.D.S.”)

Me interviewing Mac Miller in Ithaca, NY - March 2011

Me interviewing Mac Miller in Ithaca, NY – March 2011

Although artists like Mac Miller and Macklemore get criticized for both the color of their skin and crossover in to the pop world, both artists have stuck to their hip-hop roots and have truly stuck with the culture. Not only has Mac Miller formed close ties and working relationships with artists including Odd Future, TDE, and Jay Electronica, but his sophomore album Watching Movies With The Sound Off was one of the years best. A complete 360 from his debut album, Blue Slide Park, “Watching Movies With The Sound Off falls somewhere between Pharrell and Madlib, deeply rooted in the sounds of Stones Throw that manages to bridge the gap to contemporary mainstream hip-hop” according to XXL Magazine. Ultimately, this can be attributed to Mac’s choice of sequencing throughout the album, as well as his production (under the Larry Fisherman). WMWTSO may have slipped under many people’s radar this year, but that doesn’t slow Mac down. In 2013, Mac had another sell out tour (The Space Migration Tour) and released a live album in December (Live From Space). While most people would generally take a break after a tour and 2 albums, Mac has no plans on stopping in 2014. Last week he told MTV News he has 4 albums ready to be released this year, along with his Pharrell-assisted Pink Slime. Whether you like Mac Miller’s music or not, there’s two things you should take in to account and respect. First, Mac Miller is still an independent artist and making the music he chooses to, and hasn’t been conformed to industry standards. Second, he’s been on the Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings list two years in a row!

See: Rap Radar ’13 Underrated Albums #1: Mac Miller Watching Movies With The Sound Off

See: Al Lindstrom’s 2013 Most Improved Artist Of The Year 

“Return of the Mack
/ Get ’em, what it is, what it does, what it is, what it isn’t”

–       Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (“Can’t Hold Us”)

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Despite what people on Twitter or some of the hip-hop community may say, Macklemore deserves everything he’s getting and he is not leaving his hip-hop roots behind him either. Before he made a name for himself, the most popular rapper to come out of Seattle, WA as Sir Mix-A-Lot; yes the guy most notable for his song “Baby Got Back.” Of course Macklemore will always have to live with the title “The “Thrift Shop” rapper, but instead of hating the song, hip-hop should embrace it for the sole fact that it has lead the genre in to corporate America; something usually lead by Jay Z and Diddy. If people gave Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ album The Heist a complete listen, they would see beyond the stigmas and understand why they are up for 7 Grammy’s and have gained the attention of the entire world. Macklemore has proved that he can speak about things most rappers do, Jordan sneakers (“Wing$“), cars (“White Walls”), and record labels (“Jimmy Iovine”), but also on social and political content (“Same Love”). My comments on Macklemore are only brief because I believe his actions and work have spoken for themselves thus far and we will only see bigger things from him in 2014, both in pop music and hip-hop. Additionally, although Macklemore is doing this all independently, he has hired Warner Music to distribute his music. Big machine + Chart topping singles = Success. Let’s not forget, Macklemore effortlessly threw a pair of the prestigious Nike Yeezy 2s in the middle of Times Square, now that’s hip-hop! Oh yeah, with a platinum album, multiplatinum single’s, and a spot on the Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, don’t be surprised when Macklemore knocks out Kendrick Lamar for the top spot at the Grammy’s!

See: The Source Magazine Names Macklemore ‘Man of the Year’

“Said I don’t mean to brag /
But I live a life that most can only dream about”

–       Mack Wilds (“Own It”)

Me interviewing Mack Wilds in NYC - December 2013

Me interviewing Mack Wilds in NYC – December 2013

The transition between singing and acting has always been exciting, and generally much better than any athlete trying to rap! LL Cool J, Tyreese, Jamie Foxx, and a host of others have all succeeded and now there’s a new actor to add to the list – Tristan ‘Mack’ Wilds. Most people know Tristan from his role as Michael Lee from The Wire or Dixon Wilson on 90210, but Mack is a confident and talented R&B singer from Staten Island, New York. Teaming up with producer Salaam Remi (credits: Nas, Amy Winehouse, Miguel) and label Sony Red, Mack Wilds released a conceptual R&B album titled New York: A Love Story in September fueled by 90’s hip-hop beats and Mack’s interest in both women and his beloved Staten Island. What’s most exciting is that not only is the album highly underrated, but for an album that only sold 2,000 copies in its first week, it is currently nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album at this years Grammy’s. With his Ne-Yo written debut single “Own It” quickly gaining speed, and his follow up “Henny” getting some attention on local New York City radio, Mack Wilds has successfully earned a position in the new class of New York City hip-hop and R&B. At his recent show at New York City’s SOBs, Mack brought out rappers A$AP Ferg, Bodega Bamz, 360, and Skyzoo, ultimately showcasing what the city has been missing.

With the right push, and a win at the Grammy’s, I see big things in Mack Wilds future. I believe that that factors are simple: continuing to push “Own It” – possibly even to Top 40 radio, TV appearances, and ship more physical copies of the album! Personally, I don’t see why he can’t be in the same position as Ne-Yo, and other great young singer-songwriters who are at the forefront of the genre and in the mainstream media. I rarely enjoy listening to an album all the way through multiple times, but New York: A Love Story is a special project that I highly encourage everyone to listen to.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 7.40.52 AM

Roc-E Ramsey – No Way I Can Lose

Over the last few month’s, I have been working on a new EP with rapper Roc-E Ramsey from Ithaca, NY titled “Soul Proprietor.” The entire project is produced by Dash Galaxy and  is due out at the end of the month. Today, I’m happy to present you the first single, “No Way I Can Lose.” I hope you all enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

No Way I Can Lose Cover

Update: Video version

 

About Roc-E Ramsey: 

Eric Walker, born November 28, 1986, better known by his stage name Roc-E Ramsey is an American rapper from Ithaca, New York. Roc-E Ramsey is currently preparing for the release of his EP Soul Proprietor, produced entirely by Dash Galaxy.

The 3rd of 5 siblings, Roc-E Ramsey was brought up in a well educated home and actively played football in order to stay out of trouble. Although a few opportunities were presented to join a semi-pro team, Roc-E Ramsey’s poor academics stemming from dyslexia, as well as the influences of his surroundings prevented his athletic career. Understanding the difference between right and wrong, Roc-E Ramsey began speaking up and expressing himself through writing raps. Roc-E Ramsey says, “If I can’t get my point across in a rhyme, it’s not a point worth making.” Influenced by the storytelling of hip-hop great Nas, the honesty of DMX, the melodies of The Temptations, and the crowd control of James Brown, Roc-E Ramsey plans on sharing his perspectives and his personal struggles in his latest project, Soul Proprietor. Additionally, the Roc-A-Fella Records era, along with Beanie Sigel, have inspired Roc-E Ramsey due to the musical resemblances the two artists poses.

What sets Roc-E Ramsey a part is his ability to provide insight and substance within his music. As someone who has overcome extreme obstacles in life, nothing is impossible for the 26 year-old lyricists. “I hope to show the world not just my vantage point, but how I got here, and what I wish I had done differently,” Roc-E Ramsey says about his own expectations and career aspirations.

Roc-E Ramsey’s EP Soul Proprietor is due to be released on June 1st, 2013

For more information, please visit:

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/RocRamsey

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/pages/Roc-E-Ramsey/124955457677861?ref=ts&fref=ts

SoundCloud: www.Soundcloud.com/roc-e-ramsey

Thinking Outside of the Box: An Interview with Billy Mann

Billy_Mann

Billy Mann

Resume:

Singer/Songwriter/Producer

 Founder/CEO of Green & Bloom/Top1ine & Chairman of management firm Manncom

GBTopline Logo

Former President of New Music A&R International and President of Global Artist Management at EMI Music

————————————————————————————————-

Billy Mann is an executive you want to know. While many of the industries power players are in front of the camera promoting their labels and brands, Billy is quietly doing that same. Prior to the formation of his companies Green & Bloom/Top1ine & Manncom, Billy Mann was writing and producing for P!nk (“God Is a DJ,” “Stupid Girls,” “I’m Not Dead” and “Nobody Knows”), Robyn (“My Only Reason”), Backstreet Boys (“Poster Girl,” Panic,” “Love Will Keep You Up All Night,” and “Unexpected Sunday Afternoon”) Celine Dion (“Treat Her Like A Lady” and “Amar Haciendo el Amor”), and more. Additionally, during his time at EMI Music, Billy Mann was responsible for helping to launch David Guetta‘s worldwide career. With so much accomplished and experience behind him, having the ability to talk with him was an honor. The information being shared is something that I believe will benefit aspiring artists of all genres. I hope you enjoy this interview and acquire the same amount of knowledge as I did. Please let me know what you think! Leave a comment or send me an email.

Interview Breakdown:

Explanation of Green & Bloom/Topl1ne and Manncom  (0:08 – 3:00)

Talking about his artist Alex Aiono & the struggles aspiring artists are facing (3:01 – 5:34)

What to look for in an aspiring artist (5:35 – 7:38)

How important is it for executives to think globally (7:39 – 10:33)

The importance of publishing and other business aspects of the music industry (10:34 – 15:48)

How Billy learned the music business and his thoughts on music business programs in schools (15:49 – 18:29)

Conclusion (18:30 – 19:50)

How An All-American Baseball Player Became A Successful Rapper: An Interview With Mike Stud

On October 4th, Mike Stud brought the Stud Nation Tour to Ithaca, NY. I had a chance to sit down with the All-American baseball player turned rapper after the show to talk about The Stud Nation tour, his musical journey, education, and more.  

First, I want to congratulate you. Last month you sold out the Highline Ballroom in NYC. As a relatively new, independent artist, what was your reaction to the show?

It’s crazy. Like I said on stage, I really appreciate it. I don’t take anything for granted. My agents thought we could do it, but I didn’t know we sold it out 10 days ahead of time, which is nuts. A huge thank you to everyone who came, it’s dope.

You’re currently on the Stud Nation Tour. What’s the concept of the tour and what are you hoping to accomplish out on the road?

The concept is something my manager came up with. The Stud Nation thing is kind of a play on the presidential theme; you see the portrait, it looks like a president portrait. They’re just trying to play off my background. I went to some very uppity schools [Duke University & Georgetown University] and that I’m more for the Middle American kids. I make music for the people who relate to me and that’s Middle America, so we thought Stud Nation would be a cool theme.

You, along with your good friend Huey Mack, and a few others, are ultimately the ambassadors of the “college hip-hop” movement; I think a lot of kids out there tonight saw a little bit of themselves in you. With that being said, how do plan to grow and remain at the forefront?

I’m not exactly sure what the whole “college music” thing is. I just think kids in college like my music. If you listen, most of my records, especially the newest ones, are not about partying or college. Sure, the one that popped off was “College Humor” and that’s fine, but I think people that really take a listen and write off the superstitions behind it will see a real artist. You’re going to start to hear more singing in my new songs and more of an artist feel, and not just a “frat boy.” I was never a frat boy; I’m a white kid that played baseball.

Mike Stud pitching for Duke University

Something I notice about you is that you aren’t afraid to collaborate with other aspiring artists. What’s your rationale behind that? Do you think it will lead to any criticism?

I don’t think that’s a real argument, because I just collaborate with people that I like. I don’t collaborate with people I don’t know, and I don’t collaborate with people whose music I don’t like. The people that I’ve worked with, I stand behind them, and I support them; we all have the same markets and fan bases.

Huey and I are splitting images. A lot of time we’re in the same city and we just meet up, we made the mixtape [Click] on a limb.

My favorite one is “You Don’t Know Me” with Tarik…

He’s the homie. He’s dope. I did that shit because he deserves more fans. Everyone on my business side said that it didn’t make sense to do that collaboration with him because he has a much smaller fan base, but he’s dope and very humble.

One of the things about you that I want to understand a little better is your social media presence. As we know, your baseball injury led you to music, but anybody can do that. Like you said on stage, it’s only been 14 months since you released your first mixtape. How did you know who to target and make the Mike Stud brand an Internet sensation?  

Honestly, I have no idea. I made “College Humor” for baseball parties at Georgetown. My teammates kept saying, “Yo! I like your music, keep making songs.” I made the song on Garageband; I had no engineer. I just recorded it in my dorm room, drunk. The fact that everywhere I go that’s the song everybody knows, it’s crazy.

So it was just word of mouth?

Yeah.

Photo by Nick DeJohn

Mike Stud at The Haunt in Ithaca
Photo by Nick DeJohn

Now you have Jon Kilmer on tour with you. Every kid wants him to direct their video, you have your sponsorship with Freshletes, and your music steadily brings traffic to all the blog sites.

It came out of nowhere; I can’t thank the people enough.

I read that you went to Georgetown University graduate school to study sports management and finance. How has your educated helped you in the music industry so far?

I’m just way more involved than people understand. Most artists don’t even care about the business side. I’m in on every meeting, the behind the scenes stuff at this point is pretty crazy, and so I’m very involved. That’s how I like it. 

With booking powerhouse Peter Schwartz and The Agency Group behind you, I’m sure many opportunities that are starting to present themselves. What’s next for you and what are you hoping to accomplish in the near future? 

As much as Peter and those guys are going to take their expertise and grow my brand, it’s still about the music. I’m not big enough to just go do tours. I’m one mixtape in; I haven’t done shit. I know that, and I don’t think I’ve made it at all. We’re working everyday; there are no days off. At this point, I’m just working harder because my foot is in the door.

Peter is great, and I’m blessed to have a lot of great industry people behind me right now, most who we haven’t mentioned to the public yet. I’m going to use those tools, but right now it’s all driven by the music.

Interviewing Mike Stud

For more on Mike Stud and to see if the Stud Nation Tour is coming to a city near you, visit Mike’s website, Twitter, FaceBook, and YouTube!

Interview: Rec This City Management

Over the last few months I have been giving readers my point of view on the music industry and how up and coming artists should approach certain situations and develop as artists. Today, I bring you something new. Instead of giving you my perspective; I’m bringing you someone else’s.

Jared Glassman has been a friend of mine since we were about 10 years old. As you’ll see in the interview, both of us ultimately laid the foundation for each of our achievements today. I got Jared interested in the business, and Jared is the one who gave me the name Breezy (I added the ‘On The Beat’ part). It all comes full circle! Since then, he’s gone on to manage a few artists who are starting to see success. Below is an interview I did with Jared recently that I think will help up and coming artists.

Image

Jared & I – Summer 2006

Currently one of Jared’s artists, Jitta On The Track, is the opening act on Drake’s Club Paradise tour along with J. Cole, Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill & French Montana.

Image

Jared Glassman – Rec This City Management

Name: Jared Glassman

Age: 22

Title: Founder of Rec This City Management

Artists:

Jitta On The Track

Jitta On The Track

Ethan Jaymes

Ethan Jaymes

D!RTY AUD!O

D!RTY AUD!O

——————————————————————————————-

How you get into the music business and what attracted you to it?

Actually, if you want to know the real truth, I first became interested in the music industry when you first showed me GarageBand when we were about 14. I started producing from that day and the fire grew inside me to eventually become a manager. I had been producing for 4 years and realized that was not the part of the industry I was built for.

What are your daily roles as a manager?

My daily roles fluctuate. Sometimes I’m doing a ton of emailing and phone calls, some days I have to make sure my artists are all in the right mindset and make sure they are doing what they need to get done to push their careers to their full potential.

What are some of the challenges you face everyday as a manager?

Not being big enough in the industry yet. People like persistence but don’t like being pestered. One challenge is getting your foot in the door. But once you do people start to respect you more… At least for now.

When it comes to your artists, do you prefer to have them develop on their own musically and then you promote/handle the business elements or are you involved throughout the entire process?

I like to be a part of the whole thing. One main reasons I got into management is because I really feel that I have a good sense of what the world wants to hear and in my opinion, two heads are better than one so me or someone else might bring something to Jitta that he likes and incorporates in the music. I also help choose which beats. For the most part it’s Jitta and his own creativity though.

All of the artists you manage have a strong presence on the Internet. What are some of the ways Rec This City has been able to help their artists expand online?

Network as much as possible through emails, meetings, events, make your face and name known to everyone possible and keep a personal relationship. If you’re constantly asking for things and have nothing to deliver back, people will get tired of working with you.

You’re artist Jitta On The Track, just won a competition to open up for Drake on the remaining 20 dates of the Club Paradise Tour. What has the experience been like so far on the road and have any of the artists/managers given you any advice?

This experience is life changing and monumental. We have learned so much just from watching performances and seeing how a major tour runs. We have been blessed with many amazing opportunities so far that have helped boost Jitta’s career at an incredibly fast rate.

Watch: Waka Flocka hanging out with Jitta On The Track (Video 1) – (Video 2)

Image

As Jitta begins to gain a strong momentum, what are your upcoming plans for him and how will Rec This City bring him to the next level?

We just signed a co-management deal with DAS communications, a major management company that launched the careers of The Black Eyed Peas, The Fugees, John Legend, Ke$ha and more. This will be huge for Jitta and RecThisCity.

What are some of your long-term goals for Rec This City?

My long-term goals for RecThisCity would be to just expand into as many forms of management as possible. Maybe expand to be a tour management company or partner up with a major company and be a superpower. All future plans though.

I’m sure a lot of people ask you to listen to their music or look to you as a resource, what is the best advice you can give to an up and coming artist trying to further their career?

Don’t send emails without music! If you send an email and I take the time to read it please include the music because I won’t respond if there is none! Too many emails!

How can people get in contact with Rec This City?

Recthiscity@gmail.com or email my partner paul@recthiscity.com

We are not just hip-hop anymore; Paul runs the electronic music section so any DJs are free to submit to electri.city.mgmt@gmail.com