Elijah Blake has penned records for everyone from Britney Spears to Mary J. Blige, but on September 30 he will step into the spotlight with his own EP Drift. The majority of the eight tracks were produced by No I.D., with contributions from J. Cole, Pop & Oak, and Illangelo.
Rap-Up TV recently caught up with the multi-platinum singer-songwriter, who is managed by Roc Nation, to discuss the project.
“You can expect No I.D. at his finest. He’s pushing it,” said Blake, who is signed to No I.D.’s ARTium imprint on Def Jam. “I think everybody’s heard him do stuff for Common and Kanye, like the edgy hip-hop stuff, but this time they’ll really get a glimpse of No I.D. doing some cool, progressive R&B, soulful production.”
Cole produced and is featured on “Vendetta,” which leaked last year. “[Cole] felt like the song didn’t get the proper treatment, so this is our way of putting it back out there into the universe and letting people hear it in the best way possible,” said Blake.
When he’s not working on his own music, he’s been in the studio with Usher, Keyshia Cole, and Rihanna.
“She’s always on some new stuff. She never even stopped recording,” he said of the “Diamonds” singer. “I think right after the last album dropped, she was in the studio two weeks later. They ain’t even know what album they was gonna put it on, but that’s why she’s probably one of the best of our generation.”
Check out the Drift cover art and tracklisting below.
French Montana is just getting started. With his new single “Don’t Panic” burning up the airwaves, the Bad Boy rapper is gearing up for the release of his sophomore album Mac & Cheese (Note: the album is not titled Mac & Cheese 4) this November/December. The Coke Boy recently sat down with Rap-Up TV to talk about his new music and new love.
Since his relationship with Khloe Kardashian went public, French has been the fodder of tabloids and even appeared on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” So it only made sense to get his girl to star alongside him in the video for “Don’t Panic.”
“It was just like, why would I get a video vixen when I got one of the baddest bitches?” said French. “That’s all it is. It just makes more sense to keep it in the family.”
He has been in the studio with Khloe’s brother-in-law, Kanye West, who is executive producing Mac & Cheese. “Kanye was somebody that I was supposed to sign with when I first came in the game,” said French. “I have nothing but respect for him. He’s a legend, he’s an icon. I just feel like he has that Mac & Cheese sound, that soul food sound.”
French has recorded around 80 songs including the Kanye and Mekanics-produced “Gucci Mane” featuring Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. “We based it on when Gucci went crazy at that one time, just like went bad on everybody. The record’s like when you’re about to lose it—Ross on the hook, me and Wayne. It’s a crazy record. We gon’ blow their socks off.”
He has also worked with Miguel on a song called “Explicit.” “It’s a crazy, beautiful record. It’s both our worlds put together,” he said.
While in the studio with ‘Ye, he heard some of his new music including the single “All Day.” “It sounds incredible. He’s about to have another classic album. He’s grindin’. It’s that sound that everybody missed about [Yeezus].”
In addition to starring in her “Rebellious Soul” musical for VH1, K. Michelle has been putting the finishing touches on her sophomore album and readying a new VH1 reality show. But recently the “Love & Hip Hop” star has been back in the headlines for her comments about Lil’ Kim and Nicki Minaj.
In the last four months, August Alsina has topped the R&B charts with his debut Testimony, won two BET Awards, and is currently headlining his first tour. Rap-Up TV caught up with the 21-year-old New Orleans crooner during the L.A. stop of his “Testimony Live” tour at the House of Blues to discuss his wins including a collaboration with Nicki Minaj on his latest single “No Love.”
He was the one who reached out to Nicki, and it turns out she was a big fan of the song. The two recently shot a video with director Benny Boom.
“Nicki was very, very deeply involved with this one in particular, as far as the video goes,” said August. “She had a vision for it and she really, really is a big fan of the record, which was real important to me because it makes it that much more special.”
While he hasn’t started work on his sophomore album, August plans to incorporate his new experiences. “I haven’t really stepped foot into the studio yet,” he said. “I’m outchea workin’, outchea livin’ a little more, so I guess when I do step in, I have a few things to talk about. It’s just a new world, new life, new livin’, new experiences. I’m gettin’ older. I wanna make sure I take my time with it and actually be in a place where I can put my all and my everything into the studio.”
He recently collaborated with Chris Brown on DJ Khaled’s single “Hold You Down,” and there may be more collaborations to come. “Chris is the bro. That’s the homie,” he said. “I was just with him the other day going through music and I think that type of shit just naturally happens or naturally comes about ’cause we kick it more than anything and then it’s like, ‘Oh, shit ni**a. I got this song. Wanna hop on it?’ We’ve been vibin’ to some shit, so you never know.”
Plus, hear him weigh in on the Michael Brown shooting.
Danger: There’s trouble brewing between Mystikal and Cash Money Records. Before sharing the stage with Ludacris at the 2014 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards on Friday, the New Orleans rapper revealed that he is clashing with his label and wants a release.
Mystikal signed to Cash Money in November 2011, but hasn’t put out an album since 2001′s Tarantula. He blamed it on “politics,” telling Rap-Up TV, “I don’t really fit the mold of the situation I’m in.”
They haven’t seen eye-to-eye creatively. “I’m different, man. I have to be able to be the artist that I am. If I can’t do that, then it’s not gonna work for me,” said Mystikal.
Busta Rhymes recently split with Cash Money, and Mystikal hopes to join him. “Me and Busta been talking too, so don’t be shocked if you see me and Busta doing some things, real talk.”
While he released the single “Original” featuring Lil Wayne and Birdman in 2011, an album never transpired. “I’m sure it would’ve happened by now, but the situation—the stuff that I brought, it didn’t fit the mold.”
However, he didn’t have anything bad to say about the Cash Money crew including Birdman. “That’s all respect. That’s family. We were family prior to this. And I thank them for the opportunity, but I don’t wanna be a liability to them ’cause it’s a waste of money, if nothing ever comes from it.”
Three years after releasing her mixtape S(he) Be(lie)ve(d), Jasmine V has inked a deal with Interscope Records and is readying her debut EP. The 20-year-old L.A. singer, who starred alongside Justin Bieber in his “Baby” video, has amassed 1.7 million Twitter followers along the way and scored a coveted feature from Kendrick Lamar on her new single “That’s Me Right There.”
But the collaboration came as a surprise to many including Jasmine herself. “I didn’t believe it at first. I was like, ‘Something great happening to me, really?’” she told Rap-Up TV during a recent studio session. “I was trying to not get too excited about it, so I just let it ride out.”
One day, her management played her the mixed track, which she thought she had already heard. “We were listening to it and everybody pulls out their cell phones and cameras and they’re recording me and I’m just sitting there like, ‘This is weird.’ I heard the Kendrick verse pop up and I was just like, ‘What?’ I looked around and made sure nobody in the room was rapping or trying to be funny. But when it sunk in, I was like, ‘This is amazing.’”
Last month, she shot the video with Kendrick and director Gil Green. “It was great. He’s amazing,” she said of the TDE rapper. “So low key and he’s so quiet, but he’s such a humble guy. I was definitely honored and blessed to be on the same set as him.”
She plans to drop her as-yet-untitled EP later this summer featuring contributions from Harmony Samuels, Sam Hook, Soundz, Jeremih, Problem, and Ne-Yo.
While she’s been inspired by many artists, her favorite is Alicia Keys. “She’s my idol,” gushed Jasmine. “If I ever even just got to be in the same room with her, I’d go crazy. I love her. She’s beautiful, naturally pretty, she plays instruments, she writes songs, she sings awesome.”
She’s also a proud member of the BeyHive. “I saw [Beyoncé] in concert and I almost fainted. It was like seeing somebody that wasn’t from this planet,” she said.
A collaboration with Nicki Minaj is also at the top of her wish list. “Everything she puts out is amazing. So I feel like if she hopped on one of my songs, it would just make it that much better.”
K. Michelle has parlayed her reality show fame into hit singles, a No. 1 album, and now a musical. The “Love & Hip Hop” alum will star in her first hip-hopera, “K. Michelle: Rebellious Soul – The Musical,” airing tonight at 10 p.m. on VH1. Directed by Idris Elba, the 30-minute special features eight songs from her debut Rebellious Soul.
Rap-Up TV caught up with the buxom beauty at her house in Los Angeles, where she resides with her two dogs, Pacer and Puff Daddy.
“I wanted to turn my album into a story,” she said. “Each of my songs tell a story about something I’ve had to go through and something I’ve done. So I said, why not take this and turn this album into a piece and turn these songs into a conversation and make you better understand a lot of my thought process behind the records.”
The Memphis songstress is also putting the finishing touches on her sophomore album with help from Eric Hudson, Pop & Oak, and Timothy Bloom. “My second album is absolutely amazingly scary good, juicy, yummy,” she said. “I’ve been working with a lot of producers that are musicians. I don’t do the beatmakers. I’m not gonna run and do what’s hot right now, no.”
The first single is due in the next two to three weeks, with the album out this fall. “It’s basically done. I’ve locked myself away. We’ll be announcing a lot coming up about it very soon.”
The album will feature a surprise country duet. “I love country music. I have a country record that we’re doing, a country feature that you’re never gonna expect,” said K. “It’s just me musically. I threw myself into it.”
She drew inspiration from some of her peers. “You study the greats and people you admire, like I loved how Christina Aguilera, each album had a sound. It had a feel. It was a different sound. Kanye’s good at that, a themed album with sounds and everything. I wanted to make sure coming back before snatching these girls’ wigs, I had to make sure that I snatched it in a manner of musicality and I wanted people to know that I am a musician. This album is so musical. I feel like it’s so ahead of its time.”