With her fourth album Better in stores today, Chrisette Michele stopped by our studio to speak about her new music and some of her favorite female MCs.
“I’m back to my original intention, which is to always make people feel better, happier, and liberated,” the 30-year-old songstress said of the project, which features 2 Chainz, Wale, Dunson, and Bilal.
But despite her soulful sound, she doesn’t listen to much R&B. Instead, she was raised on indie rock and ska and cites Green Day, No Doubt, and Third Eye Blind among her favorites.
When it comes to new talent, she is a fan of Iggy Azalea. After watching the video for “Work,” she was won over by the blonde Aussie. “I want to work with Iggy Azalea!” declared Chrisette. “We’d be amazing in the studio together. Her whole entire sound, her whole entire body just seems to be so honest. She’s not just a beautiful girl who’s fun to watch, but she has beautiful words and lyrics that are fun to listen to.”
Chrisette, who recently wrapped the “Woman to Woman” tour with Keyshia Cole, also reminisced about going to see Nicki Minaj in concert (“She’s fun to watch and to listen to and to be surprised by all the time”) and working with Eve on her album Lip Lock (“Never Gone”).
Mindless Behavior is growing up before our eyes. Rap-Up TV was on set as the teen sensations shot the mature video for “Used to Be,” the latest single off their sophomore album All Around the World. Prodigy, Princeton, Ray Ray, and Roc Royal took over a multi-million-dollar mansion in Beverly Hills earlier this month with director Phil the God at the helm.
Despite a rigorous rehearsal schedule and 3 a.m. call time, the fellas didn’t miss a beat while showcasing some new moves on the rooftop of the lavish pad. “The choreography is very Mindless mixed with Jodeci mixed with New Edition,” said Princeton. “You’re definitely gonna see our grown man side here.”
In addition to the dance studio, they hit up the gym to get in shape for their sexy scenes. “You might catch some shirts off here and there,” teased Ray Ray.
When it comes to their style, they took inspiration from New Edition, rocking white dress shirts, bow ties, and Chuck Taylors. “I think this is one of the most eclectic videos we’ve done so far,” said Princeton, while Ray Ray added, “It feels good to actually show the fans the real us, the real age, and how we’re maturing over time.”
Karmin scored a deal with L.A. Reid at Epic Records after their YouTube covers of Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown went viral. Now the pop duo, who released their 6-song EP Hello last spring, is putting the finishing touches on their full-length debut.
They recorded 25-30 songs for the album, which is pretty much done and due this fall. The first single is set to drop in early June. “We’re really excited about this. It’s a very unique track,” Nick told Rap-Up TV at the BMI Pop Awards.
While they wouldn’t reveal too much, Amy did say that she will be rapping on the track and there may be some familiar faces in the video. “We’re trying to see if we can get some cameos at least in the video,” said the newly-blonde singer.
They also plan to tour this summer with another act and may bring a furry new friend on the road. “I want to get a dog,” said Nick.
Dallas Austin and TLC topped the charts with hit after hit in the ’90s, and 20 years later, they’re rekindling the magic. The legendary producer has been in the studio with T-Boz and Chilli working on a new album to commemorate TLC’s 20th anniversary.
During the BMI Pop Awards, Austin shared more details about the project. “We took a lot of the old songs and remastered them. We mixed them just to tweak them, make them better,” he told Rap-Up TV.
TLC has also collaborated with some of today’s biggest stars. “They did something with J. Cole, they might be doing something with Drake,” revealed Austin.
In addition to new music, T-Boz and Chilli serve as consultants and executive producers on the VH1 biopic Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story starring Lil Mama, KeKe Palmer, and Drew Sidora.
“They look so much like the girls and their characters act so much like the girls, I think it might be the closest casting I’ve seen so far,” said Austin, who was on set. “I think it’s gonna touch a lot of people because they’re so good at being the characters.”
The film was shot in Atlanta and is set to premiere in November.
Thirteen years after making his debut with Back for the First Time, Ludacris is regarded as a veteran in hip-hop. The hip-hop mogul, whose mixtape #IDGAF dropped last week, weighed in on his status in the game during the second part of his interview with Rap-Up TV.
“I feel good about my place in hip-hop. I feel like I’m one of the elite and I say this humbly speaking,” said Luda. “To make it to album number eight [Ludaversal], to be in the game 13 years and still be hungry, I feel like I’ve written my chapter into the hip-hop history book and I feel like everything from now is damn near extra credit.”
However, he understands why he doesn’t always get the respect he deserves. “It’s ’cause I play so fucking much. They call me Ludacris for a reason,” he said. “Sometimes people don’t know when to take me serious. And sometimes people do take me serious when I’m really just joking around.”
Over the weekend, Fast & Furious 6 starring the rapper-actor opened at No. 1 at the box office. So has he ever thought about hanging up the mic and pursuing acting full-time? “The only time I could probably do this Hollywood thing full-time is later on in life, and I mean way later on,” he said. “I’m tryna be on some Morgan Freeman-type shit, but I don’t see myself quitting music anytime soon.”
During the Billboard Music Awards earlier this month, Luda’s frequent collaborator Justin Bieber got booed after receiving the Milestone Award. But Luda was quick to defend the teen idol. “As a friend and as a fan, I feel like he’s going to be around for quite some time,” he said. “People need to start giving him the props that he deserves.”
RedOne and Jennifer Lopez are enjoying success on the charts once again with “Live It Up.” After their history of hits, the two decided to take their relationship to the next level. Earlier this month, the Grammy-winning producer announced that he had signed the pop megastar to his label 2101 Records/Capitol Records and is executive producing her upcoming 10th album.
“The album is almost done. It has at least four or five bangers, incredible hits,” the Moroccan-born hitmaker told Rap-Up TV at the BMI Pop Awards.
Expect “everything” from the album, due later this year/early 2014. “It’s Jennifer Lopez, she’s done it all. From dance to urban records, so that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re doing an album that has everything. She’s an incredible A&R herself, so she loves music, she knows what she wants, and I’m just helping her to do that album.”
While he and Lady Gaga have topped the charts with “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance,” he’s unsure if they will be working together again on Gaga’s upcoming album Artpop. “We’ve done half a song or song, but not that we’re working, absolutely not,” he said. “It might happen, it might not.”
However, he is lending his Midas touch to Jennifer Hudson’s new album. “It’s not dance dance, but it’s soulful dance. It’s very ’70s kinda style,” he said.
In addition to established acts, RedOne is working on music for his 2101 roster including Midnight Red, Mohombi, DJ Havana Brown, and Porcelain Black.
Claude Kelly has written for everyone from Michael Jackson to Kelly Clarkson. Rap-Up TV caught up with the multi-platinum songwriter at the BMI Pop Awards, where he spoke about his latest work with two of pop’s biggest stars, Jessie J and Britney Spears.
Kelly has been in the lab with the British singer cooking up more hits for her sophomore album. “Jessie is doing something that right now would probably be unheard of in that she’s not apologizing for big vocals,” said Kelly, who penned “Price Tag” and “Domino.” “It’s a lot of big vocals, a lot of vocal tricks, but still huge pop choruses. She’s colorful and over the top so you’re gonna have that still.”
The album is “98 percent done,” and she has been working with the same collaborators from her first album including Dr. Luke and Ammo. The first single, “Wild” featuring Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal, was co-written by Kelly.
He has also been brainstorming ideas for Britney Spears’ upcoming album with producers Danja and Ammo. “When I write for her, I kinda ignore the directions,” said Kelly, who co-wrote Spears’ 2008 hit “Circus.” “I just write what I think is a great pop song, and I’ve been lucky that she’s taken it two albums now.”
Ludacris is back with his first project in three years, DTP Presents: I Don’t Give a Fuck. On the eve of its release, the Atlanta rapper-actor-businessman shared some insight into the star-studded set, which features Chris Brown, Young Jeezy, Mac Miller, Pusha T, French Montana, and more.
He explained why he decided to release a free mixtape at this point in his career. “Basically, I put this mixtape out as an appreciation for all the fans that’s been supporting me for over a decade,” Luda told Rap-Up TV.
Chris Brown is featured on two tracks including Da Internz-produced “Dancing Dirty.” “I feel like it’s a club record, I feel like it’s something women can appreciate,” he said. “I vibe in the studio so much with Chris Brown. We play each other so many records and there’s no method to the madness.”
He has also recorded a song called “Fantasy” for Breezy’s upcoming album X, but he’s unsure if it will make the cut.
Brown also makes an appearance on “Mad Fo” featuring Meek Mill, Swizz Beatz, and Pusha T. “That record is talking back to all the haters. What the hell are you really mad fo?” explained Luda.
He wanted to work with Mac Miller (“She’s a Trip”) because he respected his independent movement. “I love the fact that he had this underground following,” said Ludacris, who also got his start independently.
His eighth album Ludaversal is due later this year, while Fast & Furious 6 hits theaters Friday. But despite his success in Hollywood, music will always be Luda’s first love. “This mixtape is showing everybody how hungry I still am and that the music is still number one in my life regardless of how many movies I’ve shot.”