Mariah Carey’s album Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteusedebuted at No. 3 last month, selling 58,000 copies. While the first-week sales were the lowest of her career (for a non-holiday album), Jermaine Dupri is not sweating it. The So So Def mogul, who manages the pop diva and executive produced Chanteuse, is confident that it will build over time.
“I actually feel like it’s probably one of her best albums she’s ever made,” he told Rap-Up TV at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. “I’m excited to see where the album ends up. I tell a lot of people, this era of music and this genre, they don’t understand records that come out small and sell a lot of records.”
He compared the situation to Kris Kross and Bow Wow, who both put up low first-week sales, but went on to sell millions. “So it’s like the first-week sales sometimes don’t really matter,” he said. “I think people gotta start understanding. If you have a plan and you can put the plan in play, you just gotta keep livin’ it out.”
Mariah is moving forward with plans to shoot a video for her next single, the J.D.-produced “You Don’t Know What to Do” featuring Wale.
J.D. has also reunited with Jagged Edge and will executive produce the R&B group’s upcoming album J.E. Heartbreak Too. “If you like J.E. Heartbreak, you’re gonna love this new album,” he said. “We don’t really feel like we have no competition in the R&B world. When I say that I’m talking about real ballads, music that people actually have sex to. I just don’t believe that nobody cares about that area no more and we’re getting ready to really, really kill it.”
Twenty years after the release of his critically-acclaimed album Resurrection, Common reunites with No I.D. on Nobody’s Smiling. During his trip to L.A. this week, the hip-hop veteran sat down with Rap-Up TV to discuss his 10th album, which arrives July 22 via Def Jam.
The concept-driven project, inspired by the violence in Chicago, includes appearances from Cocaine 80s, Elijah Blake, Vince Staples, and Jhené Aiko, who is featured on the No I.D.-produced “Blak Majik.”
“Jhené Aiko is an artist that I truly respect,” said Common. “I think she has a unique voice in music, in culture. When I say unique voice, not only is it her singing voice, but her perspective, who she is, what she offers to the world is something that’s very, very special. It’s a soul to it. It’s a spirit to it.”
“I wanted to team up with her and do a song that was fresh. I called it ‘Blak Majik’ because I say we make something out of nothing,” he explained. “It’s also a feel-good, fun song, but it’s hard, it’s rough. It’s something special about that song too.”
He also worked with his G.O.O.D. Music brother Big Sean on “Diamonds,” for which a video was recently shot in L.A. “‘Diamonds’ for me, talks about shining. You got shine no matter what. No matter what situation you gotta get to shining. I’m talking about shining for today, not waiting for tomorrow. You just gotta embody it now.”
While he didn’t work with Kanye West on this album, he did attend his fairytale wedding. “That was a very special wedding in the way that it was fun,” he said. “I had been to Italy, but never to Florence. It felt very family-oriented, very simple but beautiful, and it felt like they cared about the guests. The way we were treated, it was royal. Everything was simple and beautiful and we had the best time.”
Rae Sremmurd have exploded onto the scene with their summer anthem “No Flex Zone,” and the record is about to get even bigger. The Mississippi duo, comprised of Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee, have tapped Nicki Minaj and Pusha T for the official remix.
“It’s coming very soon. Right now we’re just building up the hype,” they told Rap-Up TV. “The streets is talking. The world is talking. Everybody is saying ‘No Flex Zone.’ When it gets to its boiling point, that’s when we’re gonna drop that bomb.”
Mike WiLL Made-It, who signed the duo to his EarDrummers label, had nothing but praise for his young protégés, who are readying their Sremm Life EP.
“I’m one of their biggest fans. They put Tupelo on the map, since the great Elvis has died,” said the super-producer. “They got a long career ahead of them. Real talented kids. I don’t really vouch for too many people, but these guys right here are superstars.”
Mike WiLL has also been working on his studio album Est. in 1989 Pt. 3 and recently premiered the new single “Buy the World” featuring Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar.
“I’m working with all the originals in all different genres,” he said. “I don’t wanna drop too many names. I’ma drop a triple-disc album, pop records, urban records, everything.”
He has also produced a song called “New New” for Keyshia Cole’s upcoming album Point of No Return.
Starting next week, Bow Wow will officially retire his stage name and go by his birth name, Shad Moss. But the change shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“It’s a name that they heard my whole career,” he told Rap-Up TV at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. “To me, it wasn’t really that big of a deal. I was laughing at the reaction that everybody was making it the biggest news in the world. It was just hilarious ’cause I was like, ‘Shit. I’m just using my normal name.’”
He had been thinking about making the transition for some time now. “I always threw hints about it through my music, but for all my fans that grow with me, they know the name,” he said. “So for them, it’s really not a change.”
It’s just part of his growth as an artist and business man. “I’m embarking on so many different things now, television, clothing, you name it. It’s kinda hard for me to be just Bow Wow. I gotta play both sides of the field.”
Plus, hear him praise his mentor Jermaine Dupri for inspiring his big moves.
BK has left the building. After six years at Roc Nation, Bridget Kelly has parted ways with Jay Z’s label. While there had been rumblings, the R&B songstress confirmed the news to Rap-Up TV at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on Thursday.
“Honestly we needed to part ways,” she said. “You outgrow situations sometimes. I still feel their love. They’re still people I confide in and people that I have a really strong personal relationship with, so in order to keep that intact we needed to just go our separate ways.”
She’s ready to embark on the next chapter of her career as an independent artist. “It was scary at first,” she admitted, “but it’s liberating to know that I can just go in with whoever and put anything out that I want to and say what I want to.”
Bridget is moving forward with the September release of her long-awaited debut album. “I’m really excited ’cause I’m getting to say what I wanna say and talk about all the love in my life and all the stuff I’ve been going through.”
The secret is out. Chris Brown will be taking the stage at the 2014 BET Awards on Sunday for the first time since his release from jail. While there has not been an official announcement, his friend Tank confirmed the rumors to Rap-Up TV.
“We’re getting ready to see him get back on stage at the BET Awards,” said Tank at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in Beverly Hills on Thursday. “I’m super excited about that. He’s got some new material that is really going to floor everybody.”
But he doesn’t want to ruin the surprise. “I’ve been kinda staying away from it ’cause I wanna be that guy in the audience that’s a real fan and really appreciate it for what it is. I’ll be sitting there waiting with my eyes open.”
Tank has heard Breezy’s upcoming album X, and promises it will be worth the wait. “All I can say is he hasn’t lost his step. He’s only gotten better. This kid is amazing. He just keeps getting better.”
On August 12, Tank will release his own album Stronger. “This album reflects how happy I am,” he said. “I’ve been through the storm and I’ve made it out, and on the other side of that storm was some sunshine. So right now we’re dancing in that sunshine and it’s good.”
Plus, he confirmed that he will reunite with Tyrese and Ginuwine for a new TGT album. “We gotta do it. The people want it, they need it. We’re already signed on for it. There’s a check that comes along with it. We’re ready to rock.”
Boosie and the Biebs? While behind bars, the Louisiana rapper wrote over 1000 songs including one for Justin Bieber called “Stalking You.” While he hasn’t been able to connect with the pop superstar, he’s confident it will happen (Paging Scooter Braun).
“We’re looking at these bad girls, but it’s stalking you in a good way,” Boosie told Rap-Up TV of the record. “Like if you were mine, we’d be straight. That’s the record I got for him.”
He also hopes to collaborate with Drake, who invited him to Texas for Houston Appreciation Weekend earlier this month.
“I like Drake music,” said Boosie. “He got different music and even though it’s not the music I was raised on, I can listen to it and be like, ‘Yeah.’ I’d rather listen to Drake than a dude who talkin’ about the streets and he’s lying.”
In addition to releasing Touchdown 2 Cause Hell on July 15, he plans to drop another album by the end of the year. “I got so much material, so I’m tryna drop it and hit ‘em again in December,” he said. “There’s no time to play. It’s just gonna be a crazy album.”
If that wasn’t enough, a movie called Boosie is also in the works. “Even if you never listened to my music, just go check the movie out. Then you can see what I’ve been through and see this not no cakewalk.”