So So Def is in the building. Jermaine Dupri introduces his artist Fresco Kane in the video for “Hot.” The East St. Louis rapper rides around his city, stopping at a chop shop, and raps in front of the famed Gateway Arch with J.D. in the Juwuan Lee-directed clip.
The street record will appear on Fresco’s upcoming mixtape ESTL, due in mid-December. He is also prepping his debut for release on So So Def/Epic Records.
After wrapping her “Liberation” tour with D’Angelo this month, Mary J. Blige keeps the music coming with a new record. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul puts a new spin on Arrested Development’s 1992 hit “People Everyday,” produced by Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox.
MJB is in Montreal this week shootingBetty & Coretta. She plays Malcolm X’s wife Betty Shabazz alongside Angela Bassett (Coretta Scott King) in the Lifetime biopic.
Hip-hop freshman Fresco Kane feeds the streets with the self-titled track off his upcoming mixtape Whatz My Name, dropping next week. Jermaine Dupri signed the St. Louis MC to So So Def/Epic Records after hearing his song “They Do.”
The rapper-producer, who cites Kriss Kross as one of his inspirations, is currently working on his debut. “When you listen to the album, you’ll feel you know me,” he tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’ll be 100 percent me. I was raised in the hood, but I’ve seen much more than the hood. I don’t claim to be nothing I’m not.”
Check out the heavy-hitting record below and listen to his collaboration with Busta Rhymes, “Hump Wit It.”
Frank Ocean is winning praise from critics with his major-label debut channel ORANGE. But Jermaine Dupri hopes the album’s success has a larger impact on the entire genre of R&B. The So So Def CEO wrote a letter on his site Global 14 lauding the album and hoping that it sells 200,000 copies (HITS Daily Double estimates sales of 125-135,000 in its first week based on iTunes only).
According to the hitmaker, R&B is in a state of emergency and Ocean may just be the person to save it. “The record companies don’t believe in it, radio won’t play it if it don’t have a rapper, and a majority of the artist that are labeled RnB are confused and lost,” writes J.D.
He hopes channel ORANGE‘s success will send a wake-up call to label executives and get radio to play more R&B records.
Do you agree with J.D.? Read his open letter below.
Pharrell discovered her on YouTube. Jermaine Dupri co-signed her. And now Leah LaBelle is gearing up for the release of her i am OTHER/So So Def/Epic Records debut, due later this year. The Seattle songstress sat down with Rap-Up TV in Beverly Hills to chat about her album, love for Lauryn Hill, and her encounter with Jay-Z.
“The album is just a really good, feel-good album,” said the “Sexify” singer, who got her first taste of stardom on “American Idol.” “It makes you happy, it makes you want to dance. It’s gonna remind you of the good times.”
The project was produced entirely by her superstar mentors, who both rap on the J.D.-produced “100%.” “It’s a real talk song, a lady talking about I’m gonna love you and I’m down for you,” explained Leah, who cites Lauryn Hill as her “biggest inspiration.”
“She really set the road for me for who I wanted to be as an artist,” said Leah of the Fugees frontwoman. “Even to this day, I’m still Lauryn Hill all day.”
While she doesn’t get starstruck easily, she was in awe while meeting Jay-Z during his studio session with Pharrell. She witnessed the hip-hop icon record a song and even got his feedback on her music. “He shook my hand and he was like, ‘Congratulations, this is some good stuff.’”
The liquor was flowing, the sun was shining, and the music was pumping as Jermaine Dupri hosted a listening party for rising star Austin Brown at the El Cartel Tequila mansion in the Hollywood Hills during BET Awards weekend.
The nephew of the late King of Pop previewed music from his upcoming debut Highway 85 including his single “Menage a Trois” as celebrities such as Melody Thornton, Too $hort, and Evan Ross stopped by the poolside soiree.
“He has a fresh new look to this music scene and I think that’s what we need out here,” J.D. told Rap-Up TV of the 26-year-old singer, who he manages.
Brown has worked with Rodney Jerkins, Q-Tip, Ryan Tedder, and Pharrell on his album, and maintains a close relationship with his aunt Janet Jackson, who he calls his best friend. “She’s the one who gives me the most advice,” he said of the pop icon, who introduced him to A Tribe Called Quest.
Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri stopped by “106 & Park” on Friday to introduce their new artist Leah LaBelle. The Seattle songstress, who Pharrell discovered on YouTube, dished about her street chic look, sweet talking her way into an N.E.R.D. show to meet The Neptunes hitmaker, and her 16 tattoos.
She also dropped off the video for her debut single “Sexify.” “We wrote it based on Cosmopolitan cover titles, so it’s very girl-friendly, fun,” explained Leah. “The video’s a day in the life of a girl getting ready for a night out with your boy, your girls, or yourself.”
Justin Bieber even made a surprise appearance, offering some advice to Leah. “Make sure to keep family and friends really close to you because at the end of the day, those are the people that are gonna keep you grounded,” he said.
You’ve seen the sexy video. Now Leah LaBelle takes Rap-Up TV behind the scenes of her debut single “Sexify,” with cameos from JoJo and her mentors Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri.
The Seattle songstress was discovered by The Neptunes producer through the Internet. “I connected with Pharrell and J.D. off of the strength of my YouTube videos,” said the former “American Idol” contestant. “Pharrell actually came across my videos two years ago and he felt at one point it was the right time. He reached out to me and showed my video to J.D. and they collectively decided to do the project.”
In addition to the hip-hop hitmakers, she is working closely with L.A. Reid on her I-Am-Other/So So Def/Epic Records debut, due out late summer/early fall. “He’s been an amazing person in my corner and somebody that I’ve learned from,” said Leah.