After months of speculation, Nicole Scherzinger was announced as co-host of the U.S. edition of Simon Cowell’s singing competition “The X Factor,” airing this September on Fox. The 32-year-old singer is no stranger to reality shows, getting her start on “Popstars” with girl group Eden’s Crush and later joining the multi-platinum Pussycat Dolls. She attracted Cowell’s attention after guest judging on the U.K. version of his hit show.
Rap-Up.com caught up with an exhausted Nicole, who was recouping from a “long night” of taping, to discuss her new gig, working with the snarky Brit, and how she’s preparing for her latest role.
When you hear Ace Hood’s tone, inflection, and delivery, it’s impossible to deny the influence that Florida’s distinct hip-hop flavor has had on him. When DJ Khaled gave him an opportunity to shine, Ace took it and ran. With minimal sleep and the work ethic of a mogul-in-training, the 22-year-old rapper pushes his product—honest rhymes on Miami-hot beats—in hopes that he can recycle the inspiration he experienced while putting together his third studio album Blood, Sweat & Tears on We the Best/Def Jam.
With nothing to hide, Ace throws his cards on the table and speaks with Rap-Up.com about his mother’s influence, out-of-the-box collaborations, and his admiration for Beyoncé.
Soulja Boy has people talking once again with his latest project. The 20-year-old rapper is reprising Tupac Shakur’s role in the 1992 crime drama Juice. The remake, directed by Rage (“Crank That” and “Kiss Me Thru the Phone”), was inspired by his mixtape of the same name and is currently shooting in Atlanta with an ensemble that includes Waka Flocka Flame and Cam’ron.
Soulja doesn’t plan to flip the script too much, staying true to the original. “It’s basically the same thing. It’s just 2011,” he tells Rap-Up.com. “We’re gonna do it the right way, give the people something to look forward to, and just keep it positive.”
Find out how his Juice-like haircut sparked the mixtape and movie, why he cast Waka Flocka, and what he says to those who criticize his decision to recreate the classic in our exclusive Q&A.
Travis Porter may have been hungry when they entered a conference room at their record label, but you’d never know. What the hip-hop trio did show, however, was their stomach-churning sense of humor. “Are my lips ashy?” Ali asked his step-brother Quez, before he replied, “No. Are my lips ashy?”
When Ali, Quez, and Strap sit down to chat with Rap-Up.com, dressed casually in denim jackets, blue jeans, white sneakers, caps, and scarves, they present quite a calm exterior. What shines through their cool demeanor are the effervescent personalities that make up the character of Travis Porter‚ much like in their video for “Make It Rain.” The 20 year olds, who formed the group in middle school, sport the desires of a man on their newest mixtape, Music, Money, Magnums.
The threesome is now embarking on the journey of crafting their Jive Records debut. The album boasts production from the likes of Bangladesh, Tha Bizness, Kane Beatz, FKi, and more. “We’re taking the Travie way. It’s a one-way ticket to Travie Land,” said Quez. Follow their yellow brick road below.
The tasty treats may have been the first spotting upon entering The Marcel at Gramercy Hotel in New York City. But it wasn’t mini burgers, jumbo onion rings, mozzarella sticks, or bowls of pink and red Starbursts that drew in the crowd. It was hip-hop phenom Wiz Khalifa, who entered the room wearing a jean jacket, camouflage BBC hoodie, navy Chuck Taylors, and a backwards cap. The “Black and Yellow” rapper wasted no time introducing himself before taking flicks and chatting with well wishers.
Wiz has more than one reason to be flying high. Rolling Papers, his Atlantic Records debut, is in stores now. With production from Stargate and Jim Jonsin, and appearances from Too $hort, Chevy Woods, and Curren$y, the Pittsburgh MC quells his detractors, especially those who say he’s gone pop. “Everything takes time, so with time will come the healing…for those who think that. Everybody else thinks it’s great!” he says with a smile.
Sitting down with Rap-Up.com, Wiz fires off answers to questions including who he’d most like to smoke with, which actor would play him in a biopic, the rapper that left him starstruck, and the craziest rumor he’s heard about himself. He does so carefree because these days, he has two types of paper to roll.
In an industry consumed by the almighty dollar, Musiq Soulchild is just interested in a little bit of change. Today, the singer lays back on a black leather couch, his posture relaxed but his facial expression all business. Designer shades—broad and opaque—shield his eyes from his own hoodie, which is oddly blinged out for a neo-soul crooner. But then again, doesn’t the “neo” imply something fresh and unexpected?
“I have a thing against people being categorized,” Musiq tells Rap-Up.com. “It traps us into thinking we can only dress, act, or be a certain way.” Whatever that way is, Musiq’s fans have been devoted to it for years, finding solace and wisdom in his candid perspective on love. As he preps his sixth album, MusiqInTheMagiq, for a May 3 release, he’s ready to lyrically and socially stretch the boundaries he’s built throughout his career. His first single, “Anything,” raised a few eyebrows because of its uptempo, clubby feel, and a cameo by the effervescent Swizz Beatz.
While the album may steer a bit to the left of what soul enthusiasts would expect, the project is a love letter to his loyal fan base coupled with a side of tight game to attract a few new ears. Rap-Up.com took the time to find the rhyme behind Musiq’s reason, as he shared why he doesn’t like a lady caked in makeup, whose music he works up a sweat to, and what really happened when he fell off stage in New York City.
“I’ve been completely selfish,” Marsha Ambrosius admits. So what exactly has the soulful songbird been greedy with? Her songwriting skills. The 33-year-old British import has steered clear of joining other artists’ studio sessions while crafting her debut solo album, Late Nights & Early Mornings, which fans can hear today. But the singer, who’s also operatically-trained, has an arsenal of tracks to unveil now that her self-described “baby” is out there for the masses. “I do have a million songs that are sitting around that are available for U2, Coldplay, Maroon 5,” she reveals. “[Artists] outside of the norm that people wouldn’t expect me to do.”
While her feud with Nicki Minaj may be making all the headlines, Lil’ Kim had plenty of other things to say when we caught up with her. In part two of her no-holds-barred interview with Rap-Up.com, the petite raptress moves past the spat and shares the direction of her fifth studio album and collaboration with the iconic Dr. Dre for her project and Detox. The free agent also explains why her deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation didn’t go through and provides insight into her upcoming book The Price of Loyalty. Plus, find out why Rihanna is her favorite pop artist right now, what she thinks of fellow provocateur Lady Gaga, and which two buzzed-about rappers are on her radar. Bumble with the Bee below.