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One Mans Art….A conversation with Louis Picasso by @DJLayneLuv

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When your 20 year old daughter tells you “Daddy you have to listen to this artist….” with all of her enthusiasm, you have no choice but to drop everything and give her your undivided attention. The back story is that she was attending a listening party and she got there extremely early to find a young man setting up stage and lighting. As she engaged in conversation with the young man she became intrigued by his views and outlook on certain things. They ended their small talk without any exchange of names. She gradually attended the party to the progression of the featured artist for the evening. As they introduce the featured artist, she then made the connection with the moment of clarity. Louis Picasso was the gentleman from earlier setting up his own show. She was even more impressed with the quality of his music.

Come to find out, he’s well known in Ypsilanti Michigan and has a commendable following. With his latest single Gold, he’s booked for a few dates across the country including some dates in California.

It is one thing to know a person by their art…but to get to know the authentic person behind the art is something totally different altogether. When I speak to masterful musicians, I am so amazed by their humility and dedication to their craft. This conversation gave me hope for my daughters generation. So much is lost in translation based on age differences that when two people put aside those prejudices, they find they have a lot more in common than not. Speaking to this young man made it refreshing that he is in my daughters circle. And Oh! did I forget to mention she is helping with his artist management now?

Ladies and gentleman… Louis Picasso

OTT: I’m always interested in the inner workings of an independent artists journey considering I’m one myself. So tell us how did you get into music?

LP: As with a lot of musicians, my entire family is involved with music. Everybody sings, everybody plays and instrument, so I was kind of born into it. However, I didn’t start writing music until about 2008. It was like another way to express myself verses being out here doing a lot of wrong, music was my sole outlet.  Then about 2013 I started to take it more serious.  I started learning about music theory and the history of music and different genres of music I wasn’t listening to before…so that’s how it started.

OTT: Because there are limited paths to success in the music business today, I see you’ve taken the approach of a Lamar, Cole, or even names like Lupe and Badass. What brought about your eclectic sound?

LP: My approach to the music always zoned in on lyricism vs the beat which is not the approach most people take. The majority are moved by the beat or the flow. I took a liking to B.I.G. because of his wordplay. Biggie was the first album that I went through and fully dissected and I got that from my dad when I was in middle school. And I just admitted I was feeling my dad’s music so please forgive that crime. (It’s human nature to rebel against your parents music LOL) Yeah but I was really feeling how Biggie put a song together and from listening to more rappers like him and Nas, I noticed how they put different feelings and emotion into their stories. Because you see… when you’re creating, you really don’t know how it’s gonna come out, but through their influence, I learned how to trust my feelings and expression.

OTT: Tell us about your evolution as an artist and finding your own voice.

LP: Well it’s like you said up until 2008, my interpretation of music was from everything that I listened to prior, so in that, there is a lot of mimicking and trying different styles. It took a lot of changing man because you have to be true to yourself and your art, but you also have to produce something your audience will love and appreciate.

OTT: Great transition! Without giving away your business secrets lol, how did you develop your respectable following?

LP: Weeelll…hahaha, I was tired of being told no when it came to my vision. Necessity is the mother of creation and invention so I was forced to think outside the box when it came to my marketing and building relationships. I remember wanting to rock at certain shows and being told no. I remember wanting to record in certain studios and being declined. I got fed up and started doing it on my own. You have to have faith behind your ideas and your craft. Because if you don’t, you’re going to get discouraged and eventually give up. You can put tens of thousands of dollars into your project but without faith you don’t have much. This is why you have the Missy’s and Pharell Williams and Timbalands that are masters at what they do because they took the time to learn everything on their own and they were hungry for that knowledge despite the roadblocks.

The last show I got told no to, it left a bad taste in my mouth so I created what is called a Pop-Up show at Third Rail. That was my very first show and it sold out the first week based on how we promoted it and previewed it. Well before the show, people were impressed with our presentation which made them interested. That’s a key right there. Your presentation has to be so appealing that it makes people want to check it out. The buzz was so real that I just took that formula and applied it to every single show.  I put my all into and keep my faith in tact.

OTT: Being that you are from Michigan, what is your take on the house that J Dilla built and his contribution to your home state and just music itself?

LP: The first time I heard about Dilla was around 2008 and a producer friend of mind  let me listen to him and it took a while to get into my system because I wasn’t really into that boom-bap soulistic style. But one thing about music is you have to open your soul up to it in order to receive it and once I did, I really see the time and effort he took to learn music and develop his sound and it made a huge impression on me.

OTT: Let’s talk about your project now…what is GOLD?

LP: Gold….. I want to describe it as an opportunity. With this project I want Gold to pertain to worth as in worth of self not so much materialistic . I dropped Gold around April 1. I wanted to get a bunch of creators around the area and like put together an orchestra that would display to the audience the worth of these independent artist in the area. That is what I wanted to display on Gold and then again my entire album.

OTT: Lastly, where can old and new fans purchase your music?

LP: Apple Music man, they can purchase the single on iTunes and mostly all of your favorite other steaming companies. Please get the word out and it is definitely appreciated. They can see my videos on YouTube under Louis Picasso and they can follow me on Instagram under @LouisPicasso. Thank you for having me fam.

OTT: We appreciate you as well. Best wishes on all of your music endeavors.

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@FleetDJs

 

 

 

 

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Exclusive! DJ Layne Luv Chops it up with The Legendary Large Professor

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When you become a journalist, you quickly come to realize that not all interviews are created equal. When I came to know the one they call Large Professor, I’m sure I stereotyped him along with the rest of the world. He didn’t look like Run DMC, Ice T or KRS-One. But he didn’t have to because before his release, The Native Tongues featuring A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, helped us to embrace difference in Hip Hop. So when we saw the intelligent hoodlum from Queens on our tv set, it made us pause to get past the Poindexter glasses to listen to what the rapper really had to say. Not to mention, with songs like “Looking At The Front Door” “Fakin The Funk” & “Live At The Bar B Que” you couldn’t deny his raw talent. Who knew that he would go on to be a fraction of the dynamic production squad that would produce THE hip-hop classic Nas’s Illmatic. Large Professor is the name you mention in certain hip hop circles when you want to impress high ranking hip-hop scholars.

While watching certain Hip Hop documentaries such as ATCQ’s Beats, Rhymes Life, Memories of Paul C McKasty & Nas’s Illmatic and a host of others, you’ll notice that they don’t get Large Professors inputs because of what he’s heard, they look to get his input because he was there. Right smack dab in the middle of The Golden Era. Right in the midst of New York’s comeback. Right in the midst of the beef between Jay and Nas. He’s always honored as being a dope lyricist and a phenomenal producer. To snag an interview with him is like a Jedi grabbing wisdom from Yoda.

Sidenote: As fate would have it, energy is real, and whether good or bad, it transfers. The day of our interview, I was not having a very good day, but I had already rescheduled the interview the day before, and there was no way I was going to stall The Legend a second day. So I set all of my recording equipment up the way I normally do and wait until Large Pro calls. As we’re going thru the interview, I’m hearing my mixer shorting. I’m sweating, and I almost break down because in all things, I love to present professionalism and I don’t want him to know something is wrong. After 6 minutes, my mixer shorts out completely and I had to go super old school and write everything out short hand. After 11 min we both agreed it was time to take what I had and make it work. Never the less it was a classic interview, and I would have even appreciated 2 minutes with The Legendary Large Professor.

OTT: First of all can I say, what a privilege it is to have an exclusive interview wit da hip hop god, but seriously I want to thank you for all you’ve done for this culture. I want to start off by talking about the love you get overseas vs. the love you get on your homeland. As I follow you on your page, I’m always seeing someone fly you out to do a show overseas. There are many stories of artists like yourself that are rockstars in the UK, Africa and especially China & Japan…why is that?

ExtraP: Well that’s simple. As with anything that is rare is treasured. Those countries didn’t get to see Hip Hop in it’s truest form on a regular basis. At home, you might see me and Mr. Cheeks hangin out on a corner at a bodega or in a club. You have people in America that actually watched us grown from nothing to somethings. Over there, all they have is what they see on tv. They know that Hip Hop started in America, so they pay homage to that. They collect and take care of the records we made that are classics to them. The US is just so used to seeing one artist after another; we can get a little spoiled. And furthermore, we don’t even carry ourselves like that at home. Cats over here might see us in the park and be like “Boom, yo there go Large Professor” and just leave it at that. As to over there, a cat may be in awe because it’s not every day you gonna see a cat like Raekwon just randomly walking down the street.

One more thing, they cherish their history over there. For example, overseas, they keep their historical buildings alive. Over here we can have a monumental building today, and it will be a parking lot tomorrow. But there they keep their traditions alive as the same with Hip Hop.

OTT: With your legendary status in the game, Large Pro…how do you stay so humble? I mean you still touch the people in a way like you never had hit records and like your name doesn’t ring bells in this culture.

ExtraP: Yeah, but see the whole thing about it, with you saying that, be clear, It’s About The Culture! It’s the culture that keeps me humble because this is what we do! Just like families have family traditions to it’s just certain things they do as a family. Nobody’s a star at the family table right? That’s what it is in Hip Hop. In fact, people look at you strangely when you on that. This is what we relay when we’re in a place like Australia. It’s like, I’m no different than you, I just have a story to tell.

OTT: We know you for being in the legendary group Main Source, but you are a legendary producer as well. When you’re are producing, do you get into all the latest gadgetry or do you like to keep it classic?

ExtraP: Akai MPC 1000 is my weapon of choice man. I mean don’t get me wrong, I can still nerd out on you if the conversation calls for that, but if you’re not a producer, then I’ll just keep it simple and say MPC. Hahahaha.

OTT: As I follow your page and Mr. Cheeks page, I see a lot of Queens rappers unifying lately, such as recording, doing shows together and just altogether hanging out. What sparked that?

ExtraP: Whoa! Be clear…Like there was never a time where that didn’t happen. Just yesterday It was me, Cheeks and Nas in the studio building. Through that building can come a session, through that session can come a song or a single. You just never know. We come together for the music man! It’s like wine tasting amongst brethren. It’s like sitting on stoop do0-wopping. We come from the same place, so we’re always going to have that connection.

OTT: Large, you were on the Beats Rhymes and Life documentary. Considering Tribe is from Queens, what are your thoughts on the memory of Phife Dawg.

ExtraP: Dang man….ummmm what can I say. Phife was……Damn man…..Phife was what I call The Perfect Trooper. He the type where you look at him like, you he knows where he’s headed and how he wants things to be. A level headed person. Real cool cat. Phife was my guy. Damn man…The Perfect Trooper that’s all I want to say about that.

OTT: Lastly Large….20, 30 years from now, what do you want your legacy to look like?

ExtraP: I can’t answer that B. I’m still adding to the culture. It would be a different story if I was done but I’m not. Right now I’m still creating; I’m still digging, still doing shows and still building my relationships like no one even knows my history. People can have their opinions about the culture, but if you’re not actively adding to the culture then what’s the point? People can say this and that about what I’ve done and what I haven’t done, but to the people that know me and love me…..I’m just Large P man.

@PLargePro

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@UptownWeekly

@StateOfHipHop

 

 

 

 

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[FLEET FEATURE ] T-Quest!

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Hey y’all this time I’m choppin it up with Fleet Artist T- Quest!

SOM:  So tell us a little about yourself? What’s your name and where are you from?

My Name is Tara T-Quest Little. I’m from Stamford, CT. I’m a female hip hop artist, radio personality, party host, poet, owner of “The GLM Collection”, “GLM Cosmetics” & more! You can call me the Jill of all trades!

SOM: How you first got involved with rapping?

I grew up a quiet child so my words was how I spoke to people & how I expressed myself the most. I would write stories, poems & songs all the time. Grew up singing then slowing turned my words to bars and started rapping in High School. Fell in love with the hip hop world & haven’t stopped since.

SOM: What do you find most challenging about the music industry?

Trust. Never know who to trust. Who’s really in your corner. Who’s really here to help you and not take advantage of you. I came into this industry alone with a pure heart. I learned the hard way that everyone is not who they say they are and you have to really be careful to who you do business with.

SOM: Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while performing?

I’ve met a lot of interesting people. Yes, I’ve met a few celebrities over the years, others have definitely made an impact on my life. To meet other artists as well as see the love & passion they have for their artistry is amazing. Most importantly, meeting new fans at shows are the highlights. Especially the ones who have came up to me after the shows stating how they loved my performance & my songs. I had them tuned into every lyric as I brought the words to life when entertaining. Some have told me they love my confidence & how to see me do what I do and how I carry myself have inspired them to follow their dreams or given them motivation

SOM: What do you do when you aren’t rapping?

I have a whole brand I’m building so when not rapping i’m handling other things on the business side. I’m a radio personality so i’m on air talking about music, entertainment, love life and relationships. I have a clothing line “The GLM Collection” clothes for women, men, children, babies & dogs & a make-up line “GLM Cosmetics”. All can be purchased on my website www.GottaLoveMeWorld.com. If I have a moment from working, I’m usually relaxing at the spa or movies.

SOM: How do you keep coming up with dope rhymes? 

I write what’s on my heart & what’s on my mind. The mind is forever racing so I can never run out of things to say. I love to use my every day life and imagination to come up with bars to bring my thoughts to life in a creative way.

SOM: What has been the most challenging moment in your career and why? 

The most challenging moment in my career so far has to be completing projects. I’ve work with producers in the past that has prevented me from releasing work to the point, I had to start over multiple times. I’ve lost so much dealing with the wrong people that everything I tried to start didn’t get done or complete. I’m just so honored to finally have the right people in my life now so that I can finally give the fans what they’ve been wanting from me for a very long time

SOM: Do you have anyone that has influenced you in your career? Who and Why?

No one in particular, life in general influenced me in my career. The trials & tribulation in life is what inspires me to write, create & release.

SOM: Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?

I see myself touring the world with my music, with my future books i’m going to release. I see myself speaking at seminars, spreading positive words, advice & knowledge. I see myself taking my GLM brand to such a high level, having my building for my business, staff & more! Life is all about elevating & increasing so that’s what I do.

SOM: Is there anyone you would like to give a shoutout to?

I would love to give a special shout out to the whole Fleet Nation, Connecticut Fleet Dj’s, & CT’s Fleet Dj Manager DJ Platinum for appreciating my gift &  believing that I would be a best fit to join the Fleet Team as CT’s First Fleet Artist. I’m so honored to be apart of an amazing coalition. I would also love to give a shout out to my family, T-Quest/Gotta Love Me Fans & supporters, they are truly my motivation!

SOM: Let us know what your social media is. How can we find you?

You can find me on ALL social sites  @tquestglm (Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) You can also find me and all that I do on my website www.GottaLoveMeWorld.com

SOM: Anything else you want to drop on us before we get out of here? 

I just want to let everyone know that even though making music & entertaining is my passion, I’m more than a music artist. I do a lot of charity work, involved in youth activities, I use my platform to help better our communities. I am you and you are me. I’m all about communication so I would love for everyone to interact with me, add me on social media (@tquestglm) & subscribe to my mailing list for all updates on my shows, events, new music, merchandise & more!

https://youtu.be/5be_LiG8PJg

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[FLEET FEATURE] Poni

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Straight Official got a chance to chop it with our UK connect Poni!

Hey Poni tell me about yourself how did you get your stage name, where are you from,etc?

My name is Poni, I was given the name by someone in my rap group when I was 14 years old, He called me lil Poni but I dropped the lil and kept Poni.  Im born and raised in London

Why did you decide to become a DJ/ Artist/ Entertainer? 

My mum took me and my sisters to organ lessons every week from the age of 4, I played the organ until I was 18 and also took weekly flute lessons from the age of 10.  I started singing/rapping with my sisters when I was 7 years old.  Making, playing and creating music is all I’ve known my whole life.

Who and/or what motivates you? 

I get motivated by talented musicians, like real lyrical people or very musically talented people. I also get motivated when I hear a hot beat, that just makes me want to start spitting.  Also, the main reason i started writing music was because it was my way to get out my emotions, it was like my diary and helped me express whatever I was going through.  So I can kinda say that having issues motivated me.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?

I would say remaining motivated to do music in these changing times, when everyone says they’re an artist but not everyone is an ‘Artist’ if you get what i mean lol.  But on a real, I would say being able to be playlisted on UK national radio and BET Intl without a deal.  Being approached by Lil Wayne’s producer to do a feature with Weezy and then being put on his mixtape.  Being featured on a G-Unit mixtape on the remix of Rider ft 50 and Lloyd Banks.  Lastly being the first UK artist to work with Shady Records

What projects are you currently working on? 

Ive been dropping singles for a while, so right now im considering releasing an album or a mixtape, It will be a body of work. So right now im putting together the final touches.

What changes would you like to see made in the music/entertainment industry?

I love party music and trap, but I would love to see more originality in the game.  Everyone now has the same flows and uses the same beats.  I miss when I could hear musicians that trained their whole lives making and studying music.  Music is an art form, I want the art to be appreciated and respected.

 What makes you different or sets you apart? 

I am trained technically in music, I also have a Jamaican, British and West African background so my musical style is influenced by these mixes.  Ive had to hustle to get where I am now in life and been through a lot of trials and made it out of many of them. I have a hustlers and survivors spirit and show that  in my music.

What crews, company’s are you apart of why did you join the Fleet Djs?

I have my own label called Desire Sounds and am part of the Fleet Djs.  Some of the Fleet Djs have been supporting my music for years, so a few years ago there was a Fleet DJ conference in Atlanta.  I was also in town and passed through and connected with the Fleet DJ team.  They then put me on board as a Fleet model then later became a fleet Artist.

What type of equipment do you use, what other skills/talent do you have?

Im in the process of putting together a new studio based in Atlanta.  I had a home studio in London, I used a Mac tower, MAudio and focusrite compressor and a Rode mic, but this time around I want to record with the Bluebird mic and an apollo as I love the sound they produce together.

Im also a bit of an artist so do a lot of graphic design and I write and Act.  Ive been in a few Reality TV shows in England and an in the process of script writing.

What do you do in your free time? Any Hobbies? 

Im a Netflix and chill kinda girl, Popcorn, ice cream, comforter and sofa sounds perfect to me.  I travel a lot, I’ve been to 21 countries and counting, so travelling if definitely one of my hobbies and also eating out in great restaurants.

11. Anything else you want to add/ Any Shoutouts? What’s your Social Media?

Shoutout Straight Official Magazine to all the Fleet DJS, Fleet Models, Fleet Artists and Producers.   You can find me online at www.poni.co.uk and IG/Twitter  @RidewithPoni

Thank you Poni Appreciate you taking the time to speak with us! make sure y’all keep with Poni and Straight Official for more dope features.

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FLEET FEATURE: NIKKI E – RAPPER

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Tell me a little bit about yourself how did you get your stage name, where are you from etc? I am Nikki E from Hampton, VA. My name is easy… Nikki is my nickname from my middle name Nicole.  I am a MC, poet, song writer, story writer and military veteran. I am a woman who believes to be better than the average female/male MC. My thoughts on life are expressed through my lyrics because I came from a rough past and was fortunate enough to learn from those experiences. I take my music seriously and this shows my hunger to succeed! I love performing for people. Unlike most performers, I get my high from the energy of the crowd. I currently reside in Seattle, WA, but will be moving to Atlanta in a few months.

 Why did you decide to become a DJ/ Artist/ Entertainer? My main goal is to create music others could relate to,  by becoming a voice for those who cant or are afraid to speak.  I also create the turn up style of music for the party-goers.   The majority of my music explains who I am, what I’m about, my journey and how I am bringing back Real HipHop..

 Who and/or what motivates you? My immediate family, friends and Fleet family. Knowing that there are people looking up to me, I dont want to let them down.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date? It would have to be a personal accomplishment first. That is, recovering from brain surgery due to a car accident and being able to bounce back and come out stronger in my music. I push myself harder now to prove to myself that I can over come any obstacle set before me.  So far, I’m soaring! Music wise, it would be understanding my true purpose in this industry. Networking with people would have to be an accomplishment for my bashful self!

 What projects currently working on? I am currently working on my debut album. No title yet, but  my goal is to be transparent.  At the same time, I will have some turn up, fun music included in my project. You will get the real life of Nikki E…. My autobiograhpy!

What changes would you like to see in the music/entertainment industry? There is a lack of substance in music today.  The purpose of Hip Hop was to be an outlet for those in the struggle.  It has done a 180°! Music use to tell stories and make you feel nostalgic. Now there’s no true bars or life lessons.  Those who are sticking to their roots  aren’t getting the shine they deserve.. But eack artists with wack lyrics are being promoted like a new fad..   How can you teach us something when you really aren’t talking about anything.. Don’t get me wrong…  Not all music has to be about the struggle.. Trust all of mine isn’t.. But when you have a dope beat but no one can understand what you are saying.. There’s a problem!!

What makes you different sets you apart? Although I’m HipHop based, I create music for all demographics.  I want to touch the masses. I want to be more like open source information vs. Proprietary.  I address issues other artists are uncomfortable addressing. No Photoshopping anything with me.  I am humble but hungry.

 What crews, company’s are you apart of why did you join the Fleet Djs? I’ve always been the type to stay to myself. I’ve learned my lesson with being apart crews becoming foot soldiers for up and coming labels run by inexperienced artists etc. I refuse to help build someone’s business if they aren’t trying to help build me up at the same time.  But with Fleet DJ’s, its different.  They are more family to me than co-worker’s or a business venture.  I was introduced to the Fleet DJ’s in Jan 2016, later joining in July. I am family oriented.  Fleet Djs encompasses what I believe in which allowed us all to mesh very well. From supporting everyone’s dreams, cohesion, professionalism and morals, we embody those. The respect and love is always genuine & mutual.  I love my Fleet Family!

What type of equipment do you use, what other skills/talent do you have? Well….. For a female in music, it may seem unorthodox to have your own studio setup.. But I do! From the whisper room, to the C24and other equipment, and all the pro tools software..  Im working it all by myself! Lol Besides music and being a poet & a erotic story writer, I’m a baker and infused berry connoisseur. I love experimenting with sweets….. And alcohol….  lol Shari’s Berries and Edible Arrangements has new competition…. ME! Lol

What do you do in your free time? Any Hobbies? Dancing!!!! Photography, and videography (to include editing). I’m trying to get back into working out also.

Anything else you want to add/ Any  Shoutouts? your Social Media?
Shout out to all who rock with me! All of you are beautiful!! Of course I have to shout out my Fleet family!! Thank you for the opportunity to let me build with you!! Only up from here!

IG/Twitter/FB @DaRealNikkiE

Snap @Nasty.Nik

SoundCloud @DaRealNikkiE

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