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Master Class: Duane DaRock by DJ Layne Luv

Duane DaRock Long Way

Napoleon Hill goes on record with his book Think And Grow Rich telling the reader the very day he was sent on a mission to seek out the most successful people in the nation at that time, and develop a formula for how they became that way. The proposition was set by steel giant Andrew Carnegie. The two things I took from that fateful encounter is that successful men act quickly and change their minds slowly. 2nd, is belief,  will take you further than you can ever imagine. My point is, had Napoleon Hill let the knock of opportunity pass him by, by not recognizing a jewel (opportunity) handed to him from greatness, he might have robbed the world of some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time inspired by his book. In July of 2017, in a conference room in Raleigh North Carolina, filled with DJ’s and radio personalities, I also felt the knock of opportunity when I heard the story of Duane DaRock…as told by Duane DaRock, and my journey has not been the same since. When he told the story of being homeless, I was at the time on the verge of being homeless and I didn’t know how I was going to get to North Carolina, let alone eat while I was down there. But one week before his breaking point…his life changed. One chance meeting with a legendary rapper solidified his place in music history. Ladies and Gentleman… Legendary Producer Duane DaRock.

SO: Mr. DaRock, so glad you could join Straight Official today. When you spoke at the Fleet Music Conference this past summer, you had something different to say vs, just talking about the music business itself, you wanted to drive home positive energy and vibrations. What made those things the forefront of your message?

DD: Well I’ve known about the power of vibration since I was 4 years old and the gift that came with that was being in tune with the vibrations of the universe and whatever you think about you bring about. The game changer for me was when my grandfather died when I was 12, that’s when I jumped in the music business which makes 32 years being in the music game. I will solely accredit the things I’ve accomplished in this business based on it being all about positive energy, good vibrations.

SO: So where did determination play a factor in your will to make it in the music business?

DD: Like I said I knew at the age of 12 what I wanted to do, so I let nothing or no one take me off of that path. So in 93′ I started producing records with the help of a man by the name of Steven Brown. He was a jazz musician. What happened was, I couldn’t find anyone to make beats for me being that I was from the Boston area. So I learned what I could until eventually I became self contained until the fateful day I met Big Daddy Kane. From there I started producing beats for Digable Planets, Kool Moe Dee, Rakim, LL Cool J and the list goes on.

SO: I know the story , but for those that need to hear this, tell the inspiring story of how you met Big Daddy Kane.

DD: Ok so I was homeless. My girl kicked me out and I was bouncing from place to place and I was starving. I was starving to the point my homie said I needed to go get some food assistance. I got all the way there and something came over me and I said NO! I’m dope…I’m dope. I went home to make some rice because it’s all I had to eat….as I’m pouring the rice in the pot, a jar from the cabinet falls and breaks into the pot of rice. I pick out the big pieces but mind you the little pieces are still in there, I literally ate glass that night. This sparked not only a fire but a fearlessness in me. About a week later, I went to the Big Daddy Kane concert on a mission to let Kane hear my beats. I tell the security that I’m one of Kane’s dancers. Security wasn’t having it. So as fate would have it, a fight broke out distracting security and so I ran. I didn’t know where I was running to, but I ran right into the back of Big Daddy Kane. I told him what I did and he listened to the beats. While he’s doing this, I can see security coming to get me. And in true Kane cool fashion. He gives this look to say, “Can’t you see he’s with me?” The very next day I’m in the studio with Kane and I’m officially in the music business. But let’s be clear…I’ve been homeless even two other times after that. I’ve made money, lost it, made it again. It was a clear lesson from God to stay humble. The Lord giveth and he taketh away.

SO: You and Jadakiss seem to have a trusting working relationship. How did that come about?

DD: I met Jadakiss through the actor Duane Martin. I did a song for a movie called Hustle and Heat. Duane Martin and Jadakiss both played in that movie, so through working together, we just kept building until eventually we ended up doing the song Letter To Big with Faith Evans which ended being the main song on the Biggie movie. But let me backtrack. I met Faith one night because I was hungry and I listened to my craving and went to Fat Burger. What I thought was a craving, was in fact that I was being guided by the vibrations. When I saw her, I told her about my studio, she came back and heard a couple tracks and that night I penned the hook to Letter To Big.

SO: What do you say to the theory that people sell their souls to get into the music industry?

DD: First of all, your soul is not for sale, so you can’t literally sell your soul. But I will say that when you go against who you are to gain some sort of stardom or unearned favor, you are then going against who you are morally and that’s why you see the heavy drugs and heavy drinking because some people in the industry have made deals that compromise who they were, so they drink to escape their now reality. You can be in this business without succumbing to the tricks of people trying to tap into your inner core of who you are. But thats why you have to operate on a high vibration so you can recognize and avoid that trap.

“When you link with demonic forces for superficial gain, you go against the will of God and that’s what selling your soul means to me.” -Duane DaRock

SO: Who’s responsible for how you ethically move throughout the music business and keep your integrity?

DD: HAHAHAHA make sure you put this in there. And put my laugh in big bold letter too. There so many artists today that wouldn’t have gotten where they are without the people they shitted on, pimped and played. A lot of ghost writers and ghost producers will never see the light of day. They receive no credit and are getting robbed regularly. But these are they same people responsible for the success you see in today’s artists. A lot of people at the top…stole their way to the top. There are a lot of wolves in this industry, but I consider myself a lion. A Lion moves gracefully and knows it rules that land. A Lion commands and takes what he wants when he is hungry. A wolf plots, plans and preys on anything weaker. A wolf is constantly looking to devour, a Lion attacks only when necessary .

SO: What’s your final word for today’s up and coming musicians?

DD: When you’re tapped in to your inner guidance, it will tell you what you need to do. Stop saying “I’m chasing my dreams.” If someone tells you to “Chase your dreams” smack the shit out of em. Anything you are chasing is obviously running away from you. The words you want to use is that I’m attracting my reality…I am manifesting my dreams. You’re talking about the guy that was homeless three times yet Kevin Hart used my song about struggle to be the main song for his movie. It can happen for you if you believe in yourself. I’m Duane DaRock and I stand by what I’ve said.

@DJLAYNELUV

@DuaneDaRock

@StraightOfficialMag

@StateOfHip_Hop

@FleetDJs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[FEATURED ARTIST] E-Reign: The Future Of New York by DJ Layne Luv

E-Reign NYC

When a rapper dubs themselves the “future” of anything, best believe they have the confidence to know that the energy they are putting out foretells their success among the masses to come. It’s been a long time since New York City has held the crown as the reigning capital of rap music. Atlanta has held that title for a while judging by the amount of rappers that gets top priority radio spins and project sales. Even though the public may see the likes of Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj and now Cardi B all from New York getting their shine (Shout out to the leading ladies of rap right now)….however, it’s still many miles away… in fact light years from The Golden Era where 80 % of the industry rappers during that time were from New York.

Nowadays the internet has leveled the playing field for both rappers, producers and DJ’s and artists alike. The no longer need “the industry machine” behind them to be successful. Chance The Rapper has inspired so many independent artist to stay independent and E-Reign from Queens NY is no different. His grind is definitely being noticed on the east coast and he’s hustling everyday to become known in other states across the nation. The young rapper has the business savvy to put together independent tours with him as the headliner. From high quality music videos to riot energy live shows….E-Reign will definitely have the masses paying attention real soon.

Ladies and Gentleman… E-Reign.

SO: Glad you could join us man. Let’s just get right into it. On a lot of your promotions I see the slogan “Future of New York” ..for the audience, what does that mean?

ER: My team and myself, are just trying to bring something new and fresh to the table. That slogan is meant to inspire no matter where you’re from. I know some people might see that term as something braggadocio, but I’m not just talking about myself. I’m putting on for my city but I’m putting that energy out there to the world. I’m talking about my generation, my culture. So much pressure is put on us millennials to adapt to what was…and we don’t want to be told what represents us…WE want to establish what represents us and for that to be embraced. I may articulate that in a different way as opposed to someone down in Atlanta, but we are basically saying the same thing…we are the future…hate it or love it.

SO: I’m noticing most successful independent artist have a strong team behind them. How do you keep your team focused and on the same page?

ER: Yeah man, the key to a lot of it is staying true and loyal to those you started from the bottom with. From there I tend to keep a lot of things in-house because the trust has already been established from way back. By learning each other…things gel together, like when you’re playing basketball…if I shoot that pass, I know who’s going to be there to catch it. Honesty, also goes a long way. You can’t have a lot of “Yes” people on your team. There has to be people in place to tell you the truth so you’re not out in public looking stupid.

SO: What other states do you feel like you’re getting traction in other than New York?

ER: We’re definitely making noise down in Philadelphia. North Carolina has shown me a lot of love and our new spot is Miami. We did a show down there and it was crazy so….and we continue to just keep networking with the brand so hopefully you know, by politickin wit you ….maybe we can get it in Ohio too haha. (pun intended)

SO: So what are you working on right now?

ER: So recently I just dropped my new mixtape The New York Times Vol 1., and so the team and I are promoting that real heavy,…. and then we’re also working on a single called “Whatchu Sayin” and we’re going to be shooting a video for that as well. Other than that , just continuing to tear down these live shows to give the people their money’s worth.

SO: Ok here’ s the typical cliche question LOL, Who would you say your music is influenced by?

ER: Tupac of course and Nas….Lyrical storytellers by far that not only cause you to think but through their rhymes you can see vividly the picture they are painting to the listener. And I mean of course the no-brainers being from New York…The Jay-Z’s and The Biggie’s of the world.

SO: Lastly, where can someone find your music?

ER: Very easy, go to www.ereignmusic.com or you can find my music on all streaming sites. iTunes, Tidal, Spotify, all the heavy hitters. I just want to show love and get some back you know?

SO: Well thank you for chopping it up with us. We are looking for gigantic things to happen for you in 2018

ER: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. One.

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@EReignesm

 

 

 

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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

Large-Professor Promo Pic

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!

Dancer

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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poni-gold

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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