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.”
On Monday, DJ Mustard dropped his star-studded debut 10 Summers for free via Google Play. Prior to its release, the 24-year-old beatmaker teamed up with Brisk Bodega to preview the album for tastemakers at a listening event in L.A.
The project, which he describes as a “good classic West Coast album,” features appearances from Big Sean, Lil Wayne, YG, Lil Boosie, 2 Chainz, and more.
As the producer behind some of the West Coast’s biggest hits including Tyga’s “Rack City,” YG’s “My Hitta,” and Kid Ink’s “Show Me,” Mustard has been compared to the legendary Dr. Dre.
“That’s a big comparison,” he told Rap-Up TV. “I’m just happy that they’re comparing me to somebody that’s a billionaire. I can’t really complain.”
Now Mustard is expanding his résumé by producing for superstars including Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, and Rihanna.
“I got a song on her album already, but I’m tryna get some more,” he said. “It’s a ballad. It’s not like anything you’ve ever heard from me before. Some new shit. New sound. Might have me here for the next 30 [summers].”
Signed to Roc Nation, the in-demand hitmaker has also sent four beats to his boss Jay Z, and is confident a collaboration will happen. “We got a relationship, so I’m sure that’s coming regardless,” he said.
So where does he see himself a year from now? “Probably like $15 million up. I’m almost there. I think a year from now I should have $15 million. I’ll be cool.”
K Camp is riding high off the success of “Cut Her Off.” Originally intended as a mixtape cut, the strip club anthem off his EP In Due Time has taken off and even surprised the Atlanta rapper.
“When I saw the reaction in the strip clubs in Atlanta, I knew it was a problem,” he told Rap-Up TV. “I knew it was gonna do something, but I ain’t know it was gon’ do this. I’m blessed right now, so I’ma continue to work.”
Everyone from Rick Ross to Tiny has recorded a remix, but he’s not too fond of the latter. “They tryna cut dicks off, man. I ain’t wit’ that,” he said of Tiny’s male-bashing remake “Cut It Off” featuring Shekinah.
While in L.A., K Camp has been in the studio with Ty Dolla $ign, Problem, Big Sean, and The Game. He is also featured on Bow Wow’s upcoming single “Right Now.”
But he has his eye on one particular collaboration. “I always say André  and Bun B. Ever since I came up, I said if I get a record with Bun B, I know I made it. Bun B is that plateau, like Drake did it, everybody get that Bun B record, so once I get that Bun B record, I’m OK.”
The SlumLord boss is currently working on his full-length album and hopes to have a career like Lil Wayne, Drake, and Jay Z. “I look up to Jay Z business-wise and what he did with the game,” he said. “[Dr.] Dre, that’s powerful. I look up to artists like that. It’s more than music. I see the business. I’m trying to do it all. Just trying to feed my kids’ kids.”
Earlier this week, K Camp debuted the video for “Blessing,” the second single off his EP In Due Time.
With his 10th album Nobody’s Smiling in stores, Common sat down with Rap-Up TV for part two of our exclusive interview. A 20-year veteran himself, the Chi-town MC weighed in on the current state of hip-hop.
“I love hip-hop. I love where hip-hop is. There’s future in hip-hop,” he said. “You always have dark, light, quality, non-quality, but there’s some quality hip-hop out there.”
He singled out the TDE camp in particular. “I can appreciate the aspects of the quality hip-hop and the freedom that I get out of artists, whether it’s Ab-Soul or Kendrick Lamar,” he said. “Their whole team does unique things.”
So can we expect a collaboration between him and the Compton MC? “Man, I would love to do a record with Kendrick,” said Common. “That album [good kid, m.A.A.d city] to me is like one of the most complete albums we’ve heard in hip-hop in a long time. It was the album that set a milestone [...] from the new era of rap artists.”
He also praised Nicki Minaj’s Chicago-inspired record “Chi-Raq.” “I love that joint. I was rockin’ it as soon as I heard it,” he said. “I think Nicki Minaj is a dope MC. She can really rhyme to me. From what she did on ‘Monster’ to now, she still is snappin’. When you hear her rap, you’re like, damn, this woman is cold. I mess with Nicki Minaj.”