Mike Will Made-It has produced some of this year’s biggest hits for Rihanna (“Pour It Up”), Juicy J (“Bandz a Make Her Dance”), and Miley Cyrus (“We Can’t Stop”). And now he’s shooting for another win with his Michael Jordan-inspired single “23″ featuring Miley, Wiz Khalifa, and Juicy J.
The Atlanta hitmaker sat down with Rap-Up TV to discuss his collaboration with the pop superstar and the high school-themed music video, which will premiere on Monday, Sept. 23.
“It’s basically like a pep rally,” he said of the Hannah Lux Davis-directed clip. “I’m this kid at school and we play a trick on the principal. The principal leaves his office, I go in there and over the intercom start playing ’23.’ It just turns up the whole school.”
Everyone played their roles. “Miley’s like the hot chick in the school. Juicy’s like the dude that’s messing with all the teachers, the super senior. And then we got Wiz in there. He’s in the chemistry lab, he’s high as hell. The video gets trippy when he comes up.”
The visuals parallel their places in the music biz. “It’s just basically like what we are in the industry,” said Mike Will. “Juicy J been in the game for the longest and he’s still goin’, Wiz is that stoner that’s just coming in different on his own wave, and then Miley’s like the hot chick, and me I’m like the new kid that kinda took over the game and just brought everybody together.”
“23″ will appear on Mike Will Made-It’s upcoming album Est. in 1989, Pt. 3, which also features Kendrick Lamar, Ciara, 2 Chainz, and Future.
As one-third of production team The Smeezingtons (which also consists of Bruno Mars and Ari Levine), Philip Lawrence has penned hits for Alicia Keys, B.o.B, CeeLo Green, and Bruno.
Earlier this summer, the Grammy-nominated hitmaker released his solo debut Letters I Never Sent via Atlantic Records. During Bruno’s “Moonshine Jungle World Tour” stop in L.A., Phil invited Rap-Up TV on his tour bus, where he reflected on his success while humoring us with his jokes.
“It’s a collection of the music I like to listen to,” said Phil of his debut, which is now available on iTunes. “I’m a huge fan of folk music. I’m a huge fan of rock music, huge fan of Seal, Billy Joel, singer-songwriter guys. I think I was channeling my inner singer-songwriter with this album.”
He and Bruno have racked up awards and traveled the world together. “It’s a rare thing that you not only get to experience this kind of success and the wonderful things that we’ve been exposed to, but to do it with your boy, to do it with someone you came up with, to do it with someone who equally believes in you, there’s a huge sense of camaraderie,” he said.
But despite their success, they remain humble. “Every day I walk on that stage, we look at each other and go, ‘We did it.’ It’s really, really cool.”
Plus, find out the hilarious prank Phil pulled on Bruno onstage, what it was like to meet his idol Babyface, and which artists are on his wish list of collaborators.
Before playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show with Bruno next year, Phil will make a triumphant return to his hometown of Evansville, Indiana on Saturday for a special concert at the Victory Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.
Eve is currently traveling across the country on her first tour in over a decade. Rap-Up TV caught up with the hip-hop icon before she hit the stage at The Roxy in L.A. last week. She chatted about her next album, working with Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliott, and Nicki Minaj’s lyric on “I Be On Dat.”
While she’s enjoying the positive feedback she’s received from her latest album Lip Lock, she’s already thinking about her next project.
“I am happy that this album is so different ’cause now I can do what I want,” said Eve, who stars in the post-apocalyptic thriller Bounty Killer. “I’m ready to get back in the studio.”
She has developed a friendship with Lil’ Kim and wants to work with her more. “I love Kim. I’ve always been a Kim fan since I was in high school. I was smoking a lot of blunts listening to Kim. I would love to get with her on another record.”
Nicki Minaj raised some eyebrows when she rapped about Eve on Meek Mill’s “I Be On Dat” (“It’s a Ruff ride, E-V-E”). So how did Eve react to the verse?
“I think it’s cool. As long as it’s not derogatory, I’m fine with it. I fucks with her,” she said. “As long as we keep it in peace, it’s fine.”
She also issued a message to those who try to pit them against one another: “It needs to stop, seriously.”
Plus, find out what she thinks of Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse and up-and-coming femcee Angel Haze.
Eve’s “Lip Lock” tour continues tonight at New York’s Gramercy Theatre before wrapping on Friday at Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Is a Danity Kane reunion in the works? The rumor mill has been all abuzz about the return of the platinum girl group. Four out of five members—Dawn Richard, Aubrey O’Day, Shannon Bex, and Aundrea Fimbres (D. Woods was absent)—were photographed having lunch together in May and DanityKane.com has been relaunched with a countdown leading up to tomorrow’s MTV VMAs. Dawn hinted at things to come during an exclusive interview with Rap-Up TV.
“The countdown seems like it’s marking the beginning of the VMAs, doesn’t it? Like the opening of it, doesn’t it?” she said.
The group released two No. 1 albums on Bad Boy Records, but was disbanded by Diddy following the release of 2008′s Welcome to the Dollhouse. Five years later, they were able to put their differences aside and come together again.
“I’m having a blast with having them back in my life,” said Dawn, who is working on her solo album Blackheart. “We’re back at a place where we can speak to each other and hang with each other. It’s been a long time since we just sipped some wine and been like, ‘What up girl?’”
They hashed out their issues during the lunch meeting. “That meeting was five hours of ‘For real, you did that? That was why you did that? Oh, you’re not a bitch. I hated you,’” said Dawn. “It was beautiful to find out that we were stupid in thinking the things that we thought.”
She was surprised to see all the positive reaction to their reunion. “I don’t know how people could even remember us, let alone even care enough to be that excited and none of it was negative.”
So is the group, who was brought together on MTV’s “Making the Band 3,” plotting another reality show? “I guess you’ll have to wait and see,” teased Dawn.
Kanye West does not appear on Hall of Fame, but things are still G.O.O.D. between Big Sean and his mentor. During his interview with Rap-Up TV, the Detroit MC revealed what Yeezus thought of his sophomore album.
“He was jamming to it, he was proud of it,” said Sean. “There’s always some things that we may disagree on, but as an artist, you just gotta roll with what you wanna roll with. He definitely respects that and supports me and I support him.”
But one song stood out to him the most. “Kanye’s favorite song was definitely ‘Mona Lisa,’” he said of Da Internz production. “He was the one who reminded me how good that song was. He really loves the beat and the words too.”
While he and ‘Ye did collaborate, he is keeping their record for his next album. “We did have a song, but I’m probably gonna save it for my next one ’cause it wasn’t really necessary for this one.”
As for his collaboration with fellow Detroit native Eminem, the song was not completed in time to make the cut. “It was supposed to have been done by now, but it’s not all the way done. Like I said, you’ll get it, man.”
Once he wraps his tour with Kid Cudi in the fall, he will announce his own “Hall of Fame” tour. “I can guarantee that when I do go on my headlining tour, it’s gonna be a great show,” said Sean.
Mateo has been making waves online with his mixtapes and stellar covers (check his remake of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”), and he continues to push R&B forward. His evolution is apparent on his latest EP, We’ve Met Before, which serves as an appetizer to his upcoming debut.
“You know my history, you’ve known me before, but this is the next generation of what we’re doing,” the Cincinnati crooner told Rap-Up TV. “It’s a new vibe, it’s a new feel.”
One of the five tracks on the EP is a remake of Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me.” He chose the song because he felt like he could relate.
“I think he’s a really dope artist,” Mateo said of the Compton MC. “I think that’s what he does very well, tell stories about real-life situations… That’s where this EP and all the new music has changed. It’s got a little bit of realness to it and that’s why I like Kendrick so much.”
While Alicia Keys sang background vocals on his 2011 single “Say It’s So,” he would love to do a true collaboration. “I would love a duet, a real official duet. She’s even more amazing when you meet her,” said Mateo, while admitting, “I definitely had a crush on Alicia back in the day.”
Earlier this year, he opened for Keyshia Cole on her “Woman to Woman” tour. “She definitely gave me some encouragement. She was like, ‘Yo, you’re really killing it.’”
His full-length debut is due in the first quarter of 2014. “This is the defining moment for music, period. That’s how strong I feel about these records,” said Mateo, who worked on the project with Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, JL Brown, and Zeke MacUmber. “We took it back to back in the day, old school style.”
We’ve Met Before is now available on iTunes featuring the single “How Good Is Your Love.”
With a week to go until Hall of Fame arrives, Big Sean shared some insight into two of the biggest collaborations on his sophomore album, “First Chain” with Nas and Kid Cudi and “Milf” featuring Nicki Minaj and Juicy J.
“‘Milf’ is definitely raunchy, but it’s real because it’s conceptual,” the Detroit MC told Rap-Up TV. “It’s for like if you ever dated a girl who has a kid or been that kid where your mom had boyfriends… It’s something fun, but that’s a real subject in society, kids hating who their mom dates. It was cool to formulate that into a song. I’ve never heard that as a rap song.”
Nicki Minaj and Juicy J play characters on Da Internz-produced banger. “Working with Nicki was cool, it was easy. Me and her friends and stuff, so it wasn’t complicated,” said Sean, who previously worked with the Young Money diva on “Dance (A$$).”
Despite his departure from G.O.O.D. Music, Kid Cudi professed his loyalty to the label on “First Chain.” “[Cudi] said, make sure to say, ‘G.O.O.D. Music forever.’ And I thought that was cool and I think that’s gonna be a cool moment for the fans because it just goes to show that it’s deeper than an imprint on a piece of paper. We’re brothers and sometimes business may not always work out, but it’s deeper than that.”
No matter what the future holds, Sean will always rep for G.O.O.D. Music. “No matter what I do career-wise, I’ma always be G.O.O.D. Music no matter what, whether I start my own dynasty, whatever.”
Fresh off the premiere of the music video for “Beware” featuring Lil Wayne and Jhené Aiko, Big Sean shared the vision behind his latest work of art. The trippy clip, which he describes as “virtual craziness,” was directed by Matthew Williams for Kanye West’s creative company DONDA.
“It’s been great working with DONDA because they’re somebody who is really trying to elevate artistry, elevate artists, put them on a new level of creativity,” the G.O.O.D. Music MC told Rap-Up TV. “I think they’ve done that for me, from the ‘Beware’ video to the ‘Fire’ video.”
The visuals all go together, from the album art to the single covers to the videos. “It’s cool to have something that cohesive,” added Sean. “You don’t see that much in rap music, in music in general, to really rolling out a project and it feeling like a movement or a moment in time.”
He was pleased with the final product. “I’m proud of the video. It took a while to get done, but the end result is good. It’s cool to put out great videos that I can really be proud of.”
In addition to “Beware” and the Miley Cyrus-assisted “Fire,” Sean has also shot videos for “Ashley” featuring Miguel and “10 2 10” off his upcoming album Hall of Fame, due Aug. 27.