Will the real Marilyn Monroe please stand up? It seems as though neophyte raptress Brianna Perry dropped her ode to the blonde bombshell right in the midst of Marilyn fever. While the Oscar-nominated biopic, My Week with Marilyn, focused on the Hollywood icon’s turbulent times, Brianna uses her name to draw inspiration and set the tone for her swagger: young, sinfully sexy, and set to keep the world wrapped around her little finger.
The fact that Nicki Minaj is dominating female rap—not to mention that she too has a song called “Marilyn Monroe”—doesn’t seem to faze the 20-year-old Miami native, who dropped her mixtape Face Off last year.
As she gears up for the release of her Poe Boy/Atlantic Records debut, Brianna gives Rap-Up.com the scoop on the competition, her alter ego, and the fairytale of a female rapper.
Tallahassee has never seen a homecoming like this. T-Pain is set to ignite the stage in his Florida hometown on March 31 with a few famous friends including Chris Brown, DJ Khaled, and Ace Hood for “Come to the Crib 2,” his second benefit concert to raise money for his foundation, If I Could Change the World. The organization encourages people to post ideas about how they would help someone in need. Pain, in turn, tries to make some of these dreams come true. Rap-Up.com spoke with the charitable superstar about giving back to his community, Chris Brown’s wholehearted support, and the surprises in store.
Ed Sheeran is a British pop star who listens to Big Pun on his iPod and sings Britney Spears in the shower. Cultural identity crisis or the recipe for musical brilliance? While a simple 10 questions may not be able to unfold the complexity of his musical persona, it might provide just enough insight to pique curiosity. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter recently started making waves in the U.S. after Jamie Foxx’s team recruited him to sharpen his skills (Sheeran actually lived in Foxx’s home while in L.A.).
Following the breakthrough success of his debut +, which became the best-selling album by a U.K. male artist in the last 10 years, the one-time rapper now has his eyes set on the U.S. market. A five-track EP The A Team was released to iTunes and + will arrive stateside later this year via Elektra Records. Also on the horizon is The Slumdon Bridge EP, a collaborative project with Yelawolf.
Having over 300 shows under his belt in 2009 alone has allowed Sheeran to bask comfortably in the limelight, all the while staying on top of preposterous rumors and performing private gigs for the likes of Sir Richard Branson. Rap-Up.com chatted with the red-haired star from the across the pond about his soulful sound, favorite U.S. rappers, and the odd results of his Google searches.
The year was 1998 and Brandy and Monica were sitting on top of the charts with their smash “The Boy Is Mine.” Fourteen years later, the R&B divas have reunited to record a follow-up to their Grammy-winning duet, which spent 13 weeks at No. 1. Under the direction of songwriter-producer Rico Love, the new record picks up where the original left off.
“It’s a very soulful R&B song with pop sensibilities,” Love tells Rap-Up.com. “I wanted to make sure I made it a classic R&B record, but I definitely wanted to make sure that it had enough appeal to cross over and become a Top 40 record.”
The “Motivation” hitmaker hit the studio with both ladies last week in Miami to lay down the track. While they reportedly didn’t get along while recording the original Darkchild production, the chemistry was different this time. “They both had a blast,” says Love. “They have so much history together.”
In an exclusive interview with Rap-Up.com, Rico Love sheds light on how the collaboration came together, what it sounds like, and the enormous pressure he faced.
Tank believes that sexual innuendo is a lost art. “A lot of these kids are like, ‘Lick it, lick it, lick it,’ in their songs. Straight at it, no metaphor,” says the singer-songwriter in response to young R&B artists that are fresh on the scene. “I don’t know that they have a concept of a real connection outside of sexual aspects of music.” A bold statement, coming from the man who’s provided the soundtrack to many steamy nights.
A thin, navy, fitted tee hugs Tank’s sinewy frame as he sinks into a supple leather couch at the Atlantic Records lounge in New York City, reflecting on his responsibility to the industry. He grins wide and often, confident in his ability to keep his music true to its original sentiment. While his new mixtape Diary of a Mad Man boasts a feistier side to the ladies’ man, he claims that his next conceptual album, aptly titled Savior, is about bringing comfort to women and resurrecting sensual and subtle love songs.
In a candid discussion with Rap-Up.com, Tank spills about lyrics, drugs, and the physical flaw that his kids won’t let him forget.
“My iPhone is so jacked up. I’m clumsy. I drop everything,” says Elle Varner, rolling her eyes at herself. The 22-year-old singer/songwriter is so comfortable discussing her flaws that it’s almost as if she’s unaware of her killer Coke-bottle shape, lips perfect for pouting (though she never does), and the big, emotive eyes of a caramel-skinned Precious Moments doll.
Her playful and honest lyrical content meets with her voice (think Adele-like soul with a touch of raspy seduction) in a way that is anything but clumsy on her self-written debut Perfectly Imperfect, predominantly produced by Pop & Oak (Nicki Minaj, Diggy Simmons).
The “Only Wanna Give It to You” songstress tells Rap-Up.com how she built up her confidence, which record of Lauryn Hill’s inspired her, and the advice Alicia Keys gave her. Find out why Elle is next to blow.
If A$AP Rocky was not a rapper, he would be a “music video-directing fashion stylist.” Dripped in designer labels (A.P.C. denim, Jeremy Scott sneakers, and a Stussy track jacket and hat), the 23-year-old overachiever says, “This is just my streetwear. Tomorrow I think I might wear Margiela or something.”
Rocky’s name is on every hip-hop head’s tongue these days, including Drake, who’s been co-signing him heavy. His rhymes are steeped in southern simplicity (odd, since he’s from Harlem) and his demeanor is calm and confident, with an occasional tiptoe on the borderline of cocky.
“I don’t feel pressure when people are talking about me,” reveals Rocky. “I do this, so the pressure ain’t a bad thing. It makes me more anxious in a productive way.”
Polo Grounds Music/RCA Records is on the verge of re-releasing his lauded mixtape, Live.Love.A$AP, in a deluxe edition with “better mastering and some amazing beats by A$AP Ty Beats, Clams Casino, and a few tracks that the ladies will be feelin’.” While he bigs up his own crew constantly, A$AP has his heart set on working with Pharrell on his debut album, which will drop in the new year.
The self-proclaimed “pretty muthafu**a” opens up to Rap-Up.com about his love for Asher Roth, flying wizards, and Canadians.
Brandy is coming back hard. Sean Garrett has been in the lab diligently working on the R&B veteran’s sixth album, her first since signing to RCA/Chameleon Records. The hitmaker spoke exclusively with Rap-Up.com about developing a current, yet fresh sound with today’s top hitmakers including Bangladesh, Hit-Boy, and Tha Bizness, while staying true to her R&B roots.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to really try to bring R&B back,” explained Garrett, who also teased with details about the hip-hop-influenced first single, which will feature a surprise guest and is expected to arrive before Christmas.
Find out what he had to say about Brandy’s return to music.