PHOENIX, AZ – Sometimes when you spend all your time and effort behind the scenes preparing an album for its release, the next best thing to do is to let loose and have fun.
That’s the approach Phoenix-based rapper Dbait is taking with his most recent single “Turn Up.” Quite simply, it’s a celebration of life.
“It’s a party song,” he said. “When I was recording for the album (‘Hypergraphia,’ which fans can listen to on his website officialdbait.com) I started messing around with this melody. The creative process for this song was pretty straight forward. Which I needed at the time because I was having a hard time keeping up with all the multi-tasking that comes with producing a full length album. This song speaks from the perspective of a person who had a rough week and is ready for the weekend to come around so they can unwind. We’re all human and we can all learn from each other. Sometimes the best thing we can do after a rough patch is to just have fun. That’s what this song is about. I just want people to turn up the volume on their lives and forget about their stresses for one moment."
Like most of his songs, “Turn Up” came about as Dbait was experimenting with a few different concepts. In this case he chose to stretch his melodic wings, pairing his unique rapping talent with a showcase of vocals that he doesn’t often display to the world. As a result, fans have been clamoring for more.
“This tends to be one of people’s favorite songs of mine,” he said. “I’m still learning what people react to after making a bunch of music and just putting it out there. I tried to be mindful of the harmonies when I created it and I’m glad that so many people are responding to it in such a positive way.”
This is especially true for him, considering that so often he’s misunderstood as a person and as an artist. He often nods to that part of his life in subtle ways. He frequently dresses in all black, for instance, as a reminder to himself of the dark times he survived and also as a reminder to focus on the positive. For fans to begin to understand who he is and where he’s coming from is a giant step forward for him.
“I’m trying to encourage people to stop following the trends,” he said. “Don’t listen to other people’s negativity if they try to push you down. Be yourself. Be independent. Don’t be afraid to be that way. Don’t swallow criticism being spoon-fed to you. I want to debate everything people tell me about myself and create my own reality and my own measurement of success. My biggest thing with my music is to encourage people to go against what society thinks about you as a person.”
Fans can sample some of the music from the album on Dbait's website, officialdbait.com, or purchase his music on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play. Fans can also follow Dbait on social media on Twitter and Instagram.
Atlanta, GA – Brooklyn native Rafael Hernandez (known better to fans as Capi~Cu or Papi da Connect) has had a lifelong love affair with music. In his teen years, he took notice of the way his Jamaican friend, reggae / rap recording artist Kasan Da Julah fused his island sound with traditional rap and hip-hop. Inspired, he decided to try out a cultural infusion of his own, mixing rap with a Puerto Rican flare. But while his knack for music and gift of the gab meant he had extremely high potential, a troubling and difficult upbringing stood in the way of his success. At the mere age of five, he had already seen and experienced more than any child should. When his mother was assaulted by his father, and then thrown out of the house, a young Capi~Cu was faced with homelessness. In the streets, his options were limited: It was join a gang, or become prey. Capi~Cu chose the former, and fell deep into a life of the street struggle. What has made his life so challenging, however, has lead to potent, relatable content for anyone who has struggled like Capi~Cu has. His music offers a glimpse into a story of trials and tribulations that many can listen to and relate.
Locked up for his attitude in a charter hospital, Capi~Cu was encouraged to put his feelings and emotions down on paper. Journaling was cathartic for the artist, who would purge his emotions in a fury. “Two or three days later, I’d read what I wrote and I saw how my feelings were clouding my reality.” It also showed the rising star what could come of his ability to translate feelings into song.
The up and coming Puerto Rican rapper has come a long way: A full global distribution deal on every digital platform, his newest single “Gramz on Gramz” is bound to be an instant hit. (Within days of its release, thousands of people had streamed the song.) Capi~Cu takes no shortcuts with his music, recording and working with only the best in the business, with more Grammy nominations than one can count. The song, “Gramz on Gramz” is a collaboration with Capi~Cu’s friend and AMG recording artist Baby D – sometimes known as “DIzzle” (formerly of Oomp Camp Records) – and Sky Walker. It was produced by Blasian Beats and recorded, mixed and Mastered by Patchwerk Studios in Atlanta. The music video, directed by the renowned director Todd Uno, is a teaser to an upcoming movie that stars the rapper-turned-actor Capi~Cu. From the recording studio to the silver screen, Capi~Cu is an artist to keep your eye on.
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AUSTIN, TX – To say that Larry Williams is a man of many words is an understatement. His stream of consciousness often follows lines of reasoning and thoughts of deep philosophy that show a depth of character few hip-hop artists display. When he applies that natural “flow” to his music, the result is a unique sound and style that is rapidly setting him apart from others within the music industry and establishing him as a new force of rap that people must pay attention to.
His first single, “Twerkin’ Wit Da Doe’s,’ is a perfect example of that natural flow. He said he has an archive of about 20 songs he’s been working on over the past few years, and that he intentionally chose this song as an introduction to the world because it’s not only a story of his journey as a musician but also an upbeat “club banger” that fans will enjoy listening to over and over again.
“It’s a song that tell you a little about the struggle I went through and my goals as a person – about my dreams finally being realized,” he said. “When you listen to the song you’ll hear me saying different things about how my music career even came about. I’ve always wanted to put out original music, but I had to learn how the industry works first and what it takes to get my music in the right place at the right time. This song explores the idea of what it means to sit at the table with the executives.”
Williams said it’s a song that, because of its vibe, could be played just about anywhere – in a club, at home, in a car cruising around town, or even in a commercial.
“It’s a money-making song,” he said. “You get the money and you’re dancing with the money.”
More than anything, “Twerkin’ Wit Da Doe’s” is a song that fans can have fun with – which is exactly what he hopes to accomplish through his music. Certainly he wants his voice and his lyrics to have substance, but at the end of the day Williams said he’d be happy if fans felt happiness and love through his music.
“I’m going to spread positive messages through my music,” he said. “I want to be a strong man who can not only uplift people but also spread knowledge and inspire them not to give up. If my music can give them that push of encouragement, that’s great.”
“There was a time when I wasn’t making great choices and I could have ended up on the bus to Yardsville – which is a correctional facility,” he said. “I don’t want none of that. I want to be successful and work on my music. I’ve made hard and positive changes in my life, and I’m going to continue to make those changes and develop better friends. That doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes and won’t continue to make mistakes in the future, but I hope that people see that I’m trying to better my life and pursue music and stay out of trouble. That’s how my story goes, and I hope it can inspire others to do the same.”
Fans who want to purchase “Twerkin’ Wit Da Doe’s” can do so on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Fans can also follow him @vivalamexico3 on Twitter and on Facebook.
MOBILE, AL – When Arkeem and Tibias were growing up, their brotherly love was always a special bond between them. At nearly four years younger, Tibias was the “baby” of the family and would often rely on his bigger brother for help on anything and everything. To his credit, Arkeem was a fond older brother who went out of his way to take care of Tibias. And today, as they tour the country under their stage name Pine Grove Boys, not much has changed.
The hip-hop duo from Mobile, Alabama has a distinct sound that blends their southern drawl with upbeat, inspiring lyrics. And though Tibias – AKA Ay Bias – still laughingly refers to himself as the “crybaby” of the relationship, he also still looks up to his big brother and knows how incredible of an opportunity it is to get to make music with Arkeem – AKA Keemy.
“Growing up with Keemy, he always babied me and I’d get my way,” Bias said. “But he also always knew what to say to make me feel better, and that’s still true today. We’ve never had a falling out or an argument. We’ve had disagreements, but that’s just life. When we’re up there on stage with each other, it takes two minutes and we’re in the zone and laughing and grooving. He’s a friend and a brother, and I believe our music and our style helps people to know that you only have one life to live, so have fun! Our music is just straight fun.”
Perhaps the best example of that is their most recent single “Rock Wit Me,” which continues to receive increasing amounts of radio play all across the country and has garnered the duo a Hip-Hop Song of the Month award in California. According to Keemy, the song has a hip-hop and pop fusion feel that’s mixed with EDM.
“It’s more of a dance song,” he said. “You hear it and you can’t help but dance. It’s a great example of the kind of music we make together when we’re just feeding off each other. I’ve been in the game longer than my brother and I have more experience, so I feel like I have a little bit of an edge when it comes to finding beats or hooks for a song. But at the same time I feel like he’s better than me at punch lines and being lyrical. Ultimately at the end of the day it’s very collaborative and back-and-forth working off each other.”
Keemy said all of their music is up-tempo and uplifting. Coming from a family who spent every Sunday in church and through which they were introduced to music via the choir, both Keemy and Bias feel strongly about creating music that breaks away from the negativity that flows through a lot of today’s hip-hop music.
“We want kids as little as five years old to be able to listen to our music and have fun with it,” Keemy said.
“A lot of artists today sound the same, but what we do is very different,” Bias added. “From the beat to the lyrics to everything – it’s just different. We aren’t going to pretend to be somebody we’re not. We’re very different from the rest of the hip-hop world, but in a good way. Our music is the kind of music that makes you want to get up and go something. If you’re feeling bad, you want to put in Pine Grove Boys and it’ll get you lifted up.”
Fans who want to check out some of the music from PGB can visit their Soundcloud page, or follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates about new releases or live performances.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Anyone who knows California-based rapper Get Money Ghost knows him to be extremely chill. It’s his most defining feature – and in fact was the inspiration for his name, as it describes his ability to slide into a room unobtrusively and participate in things without making his presence known unless he absolutely wants to.
“I’m also light-skinned and very laid back and like to smoke,” he said. “So all of those things kind of combined and the leader of a crew I used to be in just started calling me Ghost one day and it stuck. Now years later people have started calling me Get Money Ghost. I like it because a lot of stuff I hear in hip-hop today seems to be violent, and my style is that I want people to listen and be motivated to get money and stuff. I’m not going to be violent. I don’t live that life. I want to make motivational music.”
His single “Money Habits” – which dropped in December and has been getting some good airplay in the month since – is a perfect example of his chill style and motivational lyrics. Ghost describes it as an “abstract” song that talks about money but serves as a metaphor for life.
“I’ve never had money,” he said. “For a long time I had zero dollars and didn’t know what I was going to do. But life is starting to feel kind of better now and my outlook is much more positive. I used to be more cynical and have a negative outlook – like I didn’t want to leave the house because I was broke. But now I’m motivated that I can actually afford to do some stuff. Having a little bit of money gives you confidence, and that tends to find its way into my music. That’s what this song is about.”
Ghost said that though his style and energy tends to be mellow, “Money Habits” is a little bit more upbeat. It’s groovy, he said, with a bouncy-ness to it.
“You can chill and just listen, or you could dance to it,” he said. “I’m a smoker, and this is one of those songs that fits the chill vibe of that community, or the dance vibe of anybody at a club.”
On Feb. 1 Get Money Ghost will be dropping a new single called “Kid Cudi.” He said it’s a song that he created as a bit of an homage to the artist Kid Cudi. The song was inspired by Cudi’s song “Day N’ Night,” and Ghost is excited to show the world his own unique flavor with this next original single.
Fans who want to check out the single, or sample more of Ghost’s music, can do so by visiting his Soundcloud page. Fans can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram for updates on new music releases and live performances.
CLEVELAND, OH – Jay Wells is one of those rare musical prodigies that come about only once in a lifetime, and his most recent single “Open” is just the first testament of that unique talent.
Having spent most of his life training for a career in the arts while attending the prestigious Cleveland School of the Arts, Wells has studied every aspect of the music industry and perfected all the details necessary for a successful career. But training alone isn’t enough to make it big in music, which is why he knows his smooth R&B style and Usher-like vocals will set him apart from the crowd and makes fans flock to his records.
“My sound is a nice combination of some old-school Usher with the pop style of Michael Jackson, and the theatrics and funk and flavor of Bruno Mars,” Wells said. “Being at CSA inspired me to thrive – it pushed me to be better because I was always surrounded by people I considered to be higher caliber and more creative than me. It inspired me to keep working and go hard. And so I took everything I learned from being with other vocalists to chilling with some of the theater department to learn how to act, or hanging with the band people to keep fresh on music theory and chord progressions, or even learning from the graphic designers and writers on how to create good cover art and write better lyrics. I want to model my career after people like Michael Jackson and Usher and Bruno Mars because they were so involved in everything creatively that was happening with their career – even down to the way they entered and exited a stage, every detail was important – and that’s how I am. It has to hit me right and I have to be in love with the music before it goes out.”
His single “Open” is the most recent song that meets his standards of excellence. He describes it as a “smooth R&B vibe” that those who have heard it relate to some of Usher’s early work. The lyrics tell the story of a relationship gone wrong – following a guy who has the opportunity to enter into a new relationship but is hesitant because of emotional wounds from a previous relationship. He decides to give this new person the benefit of the doubt and open himself, even though he knows he shouldn’t.
The single is the first off an upcoming mixtape entitled “Legacy,” which Wells said he plans on dropping later this year after a couple of the singles have gained some traction. “Open,” he said, not only is appropriately named because of the lyrics of the song, but also as an opening introduction to the world of the kind of music he wants to create. And along those lines, “Legacy” is a title that he hopes speaks volumes about the dedication and commitment he brings to his music career.
“Everything on my social media is #thelegacyofjay because that’s what my music career is about,” he said. “I just want to inspire people and use the voice that God gave me. But I also want it to be deeper than that. I want to be able to someday hear people tell me that my music save their life, or touched them, or helped them out of a rough time. My music is all about leaving a legacy, and when I look back on my life I want to see a legacy that I left behind – one where people say my music was phenomenal and the songs had a message and tell a story and touch people. And even beyond the music I want to leave a legacy as a human being who is a great guy.”
Fans who want to sample some of Wells’ music can visit his Soundcloud page, or check him out at one of his upcoming live performances. He’ll be performing at Bowling Green State University Feb. 1, Feb. 22, March 25 and April 20; and he’ll be performing April 1 at the University of Toledo and April 5 at Morehead University.
For more information about upcoming music releases or future live performances, fans can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Cocoa, FL – In French, “Etienne” means, quite literally, “the crown.” The name is fitting for up and coming rapper Etienne Conner (Known better to fans as “Royaltee”). An Army veteran, the rapper turned to music as a way to express himself. “That’s my joy in making music,” he explains, “It’s always been an expression for me.” With music about his life experiences; relationships, family, the artist focuses on wordplay and realism. He reasons, “I try and make the audience feel like they know me, and give them my all.”
Royaltee is currently working on a mixtape, entitled Life Is, which is anticipated to drop this spring. The artist is pouring out his heart on the album, which will feature about ten tracks. One song, specifically, hits close to home for the rising star. The song, called “New Day,” is about his cousin who passed away two years ago in Chicago. Despite being thousands of miles away, Royaltee and his cousin spoke daily, and were very close. One day, he realized his cousin wasn’t picking up his phone, and discovered his beloved family member had passed. “He was such a big motivation and influence to me,” explains Royaltee, “When he died, I was crushed.” So crushed, in fact, that he wasn’t sure he could continue on with his music. “I said, ‘I have a good job, I’ll just stick to that.’” But his brother, knowing Royaltee’s potential, encouraged him to push on.
Even though “New Day” comes from a place of loss and sadness, listeners can expect lots of fun and upbeat music on Life Is as well. Above all, Royaltee strives to make his music relatable. Unlike the basic rap of today’s hit music, Royaltee’s lyricism rivals the classic music of the 80s and 90s, when storytelling and wordplay were still paramount to the music. “That’s the approach I take: Not just that you can go to the club and turn up, but you can also sit back and say ‘This guy’s been through some stuff.’”
Royaltee isn’t in the rap game for money or fame – although one could suspect, with his talent and gift of the gab that will com too – his only mission is to be heard.
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – For most people, the number 13 is an unlucky number. It’s something to be avoided at all costs. In fact, there are some people around the world who have a legitimate fear of the number.
Not so for budding Philadelphia-based musician Tez – AKA The Lucky 13. In his opinion, 13 is the perfect number for so many reasons – not the least of which because it serves as a metaphor for his life and his reputation as an artist.
“I know that the number is supposed to be an unlucky number, and by embracing it as something lucky I become something of an oxymoron,” he said. “But that fits me perfectly. I never thought I’d be a rapper when I was growing up in North Philly in an impoverished neighborhood. Unlike a lot of people from that life, I took a different route out. I went to school to pursue higher education at Howard University. I work hard every day and do what it takes to make my dreams come true – and anyone can do that if they put their mind to it and put in the work. I’m opposite of the stereotype you think of for people from that walk of life, and my name is a nod to that.”
His journey from a youth growing up on the streets of Philly to his current success as a musician is something he chronicles on a new single entitled “Circa 90,” which was just released Jan. 20. He said it’s a bit of a “dark track” that he hopes spurs a rebirth of how hip-hop rap artists used to speak on records in the 1990s.
“It starts out like a re-introduction of who I am as an artist,” he said. “I’m speaking on being in a different place and being a different artist. It also goes on to specifically speak on different things I’ve been through. The title refers to the year I was born. It signifies the beginning of my journey as a human and a musician.”
Tez said the single is indicative of the kind of music he creates – filled with metaphors and wordplay in a style that is upbeat but very conscientious. He said he’s been compared to the likes of Lupe Fiaso and Drake, and he takes pride in his ability to use his education as a foundation for creating thought-provoking lyrics in an artistic way through the medium of hip-hop.
“I like the symbolism and metaphors and double entendres,” he said. “I like the wordplay. I pride myself in doing that well. When you listen to the verses and hooks from my work, you’ll always get that symbolism.”
“Circa 90” is the first single off a project that Tez said he hopes to release by May – a full album that, you guessed it, will feature 13 individual songs that all tie together to highlight who he is as an artist and what he hopes to bring to the world of hip-hop.
Fans can purchase “Circa 90” on iTunes or Spotify, and can follow Tez on Twitter and Instagram under the handle @tez_thelucky13.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Dima Kashevatsky has had an interesting journey.
The hip-hop artist known as Dima Kash who makes his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, traces his origins back to Russia. At age six he moved to the U.S. with his family who were refugees of war. His time in the states as a child were filled with struggle, until he discovered that he had a talent for wordplay and making music. Today his path has taken him from Russia to America and even to Japan as he tours and promotes his music.
“I’ve loved music all my life,” he said. “My uncle had a band in Israel and that was kind of the first time I thought about writing music. I started writing love songs when I was 13; started making beats when I was 14; and by the age of 15 I started falling in love with hip-hop. That was my thing after that. I loved the gritty-ness and the real-ness of that type of music. I love that it’s the kind of music that allows you to speak your mind. Back then there weren’t any other songs like that – it was all love or partying and nothing really about the struggle. But the music that brought out the struggle was hip-hop, and I came from the struggle so it spoke to me.”
His most popular single – with more than 200,000 plays and counting on YouTube and Vevo, and more than 1.8 million plays on Spotify – is called “Can’t Breathe,” which is a track that he said serves as a testament to that journey and everything he’s been through in the music industry over the years – the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a song that came about while spending so much time on the road – an outpouring of his feelings that ended up on paper and eventually found its way into a song.
“The feel is a mellow vibe, but it’s very lyrical and fast-paced rapping,” Dima Kash said. “The hook on it is a sample from Bebe Rexha’s ‘Can’t Stop Drinking About You.’ It has a little mix of techno and hip-hop – kind of like trap in a way. But it’s different. It’s not something you’d heard on a daily basis.”
Kash said it’s a song that will be one of the singles on an album he’s called “Kash Over Everything” – which is available for purchase on digital download sites such as iTunes and Spotify. It’s also a song that has earned him some respect in the hip-hop circles of late – including garnering a Hip-Hop Artist of the Year Award for the State of Minnesota, presented by the Twin Cities Urban Music Awards. He hopes to parlay the success from that single into more appearances at festivals and concerts, such as the Soundset event that happens in Minnesota every May.
In the meantime, he continues to work on creating new music. He’ll follow up his single with a new mixtape entitled “The Last Prophet” that he hopes to release no later than April. He’s also working on music videos for many of his singles that he will post to his YouTube page. Fans who want to check out more of his music can visit his Soundcloud page, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates. He’s also active on Snapchat under the handle @theonlydimakash.
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