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BOOM! Straight Official “Year in Hip-Hop Music & News 2017”

Was 2017 one of the best in entertainment?? From Cardi B to Tiffany Haddish to Colin Kapernick to Harvey Weinstein this year was the year of the underdog and one of triumph and  utter disappointments. There were so many moments that captured our hearts and minds and below we will discuss a few.

  1. Cardi B is a moment in Hip Hop. 2017 has been an epic year for her. She hit number one on the billboard with “Bo

dak Yellow,” which broke the 20-year reign Lauryn Hill had. To culminate her year, Cardi became engaged to her boo #Offset.

2. Chance the Rapper wins three Grammys. A rapper winning a Grammy isn’t a big deal, but when the rapper wins them for a mixtape that was streaming-only, that’s pretty epic. Coloring Book is the first of its kind to win a Grammy. 
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3. Jay Z releases 4:44.
Hov continues to push the envelope with his astute business sense and music. We’ve come to expect great music from Mr.Carter, but no one expected the vulnerability 4:44 brought. Laced with spiritual food for life, 4:44 took Jay from legend to icon. 
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4. Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka’Oir’s wedding.
As much as we would like to believe all male rappers will never settle down, Gucci Mane showed ya’ll that isn’t true. When a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing. Their lavish wedding and opulent gift giving was made for TV, but what was even more special was the bond these two displayed

5. Colin Kaepernick’s long, hard-fought battle to call out police brutality and systemic injustice started out in 2016 when he, a San Francisco 49ers quarterback at the time, sat down during the playing of the national anthem at a preseason game versus the Green Bay Packers. 

 

6. Get Out Not only did it make bank with a film budget that sounded like the movie-producing equivalent of $3, but its biting social commentary on racial relations in America presented

in the horror genre reminded us of how multifaceted black people are and how it’s about damn time that black creatives get to flex our muscles in genre movies (another great example of this is Dee Rees’ Mudbound,which no doubt counts as a Western/period piece).

7. Beyonce pregnant with Twins! 

The most-liked Instagram post of 2017 had to come in at No. 1 on this list, too. The people demanded it — 11.2 million of them to be exact. Posted Feb. 1, Beyoncé posted a photo of her face veiled, cradling her stomach, kneeling before an extravagant floral display. “We would like to share our love and happiness,” Bey wrote in her caption. “We have been blessed two times over. We are incredibly grateful that our family will be growing by two, and we thank you for your well wishes. – The Carters”

Born June 13 were Rumi and Sir Carter, and their powerful parents decided to trademark the names following birth. Trademark or not, we know there will never be another family like Queen B, Hov, Blue Ivy, Rumi and Sir Carter. 

8. Support for relief efforts after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Mira

September and October brought a barrage of hurricanes to Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and many islands across the Caribbean. In the wake of the devastation, manager Scooter Braun teamed up with Bun B to orchestrate the Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief telethon — which ultimately raised $55 million. The telethon featured Braun’s original artist Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Nicki Minaj and many, many more across the country.

Another telethon, headed by Jennifer Lopez, her ex-husband Marc Anthony and her current boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, was One Voice: Somos Live! Their efforts raised $35 million for Puerto Rico. Social media helped spread the word of relief efforts for all of these tragedies, and our industry’s biggest stars and execs all worked together to make sure the message was as visible as possible.

9.  “Shether” 

After suspecting that Nicki Minaj was taking shots on Gucci Mane’s “Make Love” and Jason Derulo’s “Swalla,” Remy Ma retaliated by unleashing the scathing diss song “ShETHER.” The seven-minute track, which borrowed the instrumental from Nas’ “Ether,” flipped the rap game upside-down, with many eagerly awaiting Nicki’s response. Remy doubled down with a second diss track, “Another One,” before Nicki dropped “No Frauds” in response, claiming that Papoose wrote Remy’s bars. As for now, the saga continues, with Remy most recently calling out Minaj during the 2017 MTV VMAs.

10. “Sexual Misconduction”  It all started with powerful Hollywood movie head Harvey Weinstein, who faced accusations of sexual misconduct from more than 66 women.  But Weinstein wasn’t the last to be outed for his actions. Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Jeremy Piven, Russell Simmons and more all faced allegations of sexual abuse. The mass outing has created a cultural shift around the blind acceptance of toxic masculinity that has permeated throughout the country.

Russell Simmons has been at the center of more than a dozen sexual assault accusations. The music mogul has taken to social media to deny all the allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct, rape and attempted rape that have been made against him. In the wake of the allegations, Simmons has stepped down from his companies, also revealing his plan to “properly defend” himself. The allegations detail incidents that date from the late ’80s all the way up to 2014.

““These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual,” Simmons responded in a statement to the New York Times, following the paper’s explosive report detailing the accounts of three women accusing Simmons of rape. “I have enormous respect for the women’s movement worldwide and their struggle for respect, dignity, equality and power.”

11. Young Dolph Survives Shooting (Again)Young Dolph’s Bulletproof examines the fact that he survived an assassination attempt earlier this year, with his SUV being shot at over 100 times. But it’s more noteworthy that the Memphis rapper has survived a second attempt on his life, when he suffered multiple gunshot wounds during a shooting in Hollywood this fall. The rapper has been proving his resilience ever since, even emerging for his performance at Rolling Loud’s So Cal tour stop from a prop ambulance.

 

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Gwap Mula drops cover art for new single featuring Popperazzi Po, “Rich N Famous”

Throwing his hat into the ring as a solo artist, Bronx born MC Gwap Mula looks to capitalize off of the immense experience he has earned in the music business thus far. As a member of The 5 and most recently So Gvdly Entertainment, he has seen his fair share of ups and downs  within Hip Hop.

 

“I’ve had the pleasure of soaking up game from Frank C. Matthews, YFN Lucci, Problem, Gucci Mane, Young Scooter and a number of others at the highest level of the business. I’ve taken what they shared with me tossed it in a pot, and made my own stew. Stay tuned for 2018.”

 

  • – Gwap Mula

 

Looking forward with his head high he has gotten back out on the scene, promoting new music most notably a new single Rich N Famous featuring Popperazzi Po. Check out the cover artwork below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About Haven: Soul Singer Renee Dion speaks to DJ Layne Luv

How do you really interpret being a fan of an artist you know personally? And how does one explain that fanship when you are involved in the inner circle of the artist movement within that city? Can one speak objectively without bias? I’ll try my best. I came to know of this female sultry soul singer by way of a poet I used to date. From her introduction, I grew to know of all of the players within that artsy scene from Wali Crowder (poet), to B Jazz and The Liquid Crystal Project to DJ Krate Digga (eclectic DJ) to Lawrence Lemon (dancer extraordinaire). But around 2011, Columbus Ohio was buzzing by the release of Eric Roberson’s Mr. Nice Guy. Of course the city of Columbus has an adoration for the grammy-nominated singer, but the talk was more that of his generosity, almost an ode if you will, to the place that continues to give him so much love. Roberson included most of the artist aforementioned on his project, and from there I started to hear more and more about the songstress they call Renee Dion who was also a feature on Mr. Nice Guy.

With each project released, with each live performance, I became more of a supporter of Dion’s movement. Even witnessing her sing the national anthem for our 44th president Barack Obama was nothing short of amazing. In 2014, she dropped her project Moonlight off at my radio show, and my crew at the time and I were blown away at the maturity of her sound. We played every track for the entire show. By that time Dion was gaining momentum on the music scene….then all of the sudden “POOF” she disappeared. For a year and a half I would see her appear at a few music events around town or see her with her students from my window at that bank I was working at. (she was a school teacher at a school next door). But still no spark of music until around the end of October 2017. I started hearing from her chief supporter (her husband) she had a project coming out. He showed up at the club passing out her project to all the DJ’s but I was on the set and by the time I got done, the project was sold out. I ended up having to wait for the release date to hear it, and believe you me it was worth the wait. Haven put me in a trance from the first track I played.

I’m the type of person that believes everyone has a path and I follow good energy, so when I heard that my long time friend Jonathan Baker helped out on a lot of the arrangements for Haven, it made perfect sense why I was drawn to this project. Baker is an extremely talented genuine guy. I also felt that Dion was coming from a personal place. She’s a private person, but if you follow her life on social media and in real life…you know she’s in love and she’s been in love for quite some time. A story that is very rare in this day and age. Dion and her husband Artist Eric Jefferson don’t do it for the vine either, their love story is real. Those that listen to Haven can feel that story in the songs. So if you are in love, looking to be in love , or you just simply have questions about it…you can use Haven as to what that looks like.

I caught up with the songstress and I wanted her to break down some key elements of this masterpiece. Without further adieu …..Renee Dion…..

SO: Hey Renee, considering I just interviewed a musician you know well Ill Poetic and him taking 10 years to finish his project, and knowing it took you a few years to complete Haven, explain how difficult the process is to bring about a project with the musicality both of your projects possess.

RD: Oooh wee! (laughs to self) well after Moonlight I sort of hit a brick wall and I had to ask myself the question all artist get to a point of asking. Do I want to keep doing this, or do I want to let this go and just stop? I then made a decision, and with my mouth I told my husband…”I’m done with music” and from there was an almost immediate shift in my life from health problems to personal relationships.. things were just off. Speaking to that, I learned that when we abandon our purpose and what God has given us to do, things will shift and things can change until we find that path again. So as I stated, I was going to walk away but something kept bringing me back to it, and more and more I began to  find inspiration. I was finding inspiration everywhere, from listening to my best friend T. Wong evolve to lyrics just coming to me out of no where…and I started thinking to myself like “Are we done?” So my husband and I turned one of our bedrooms into a recording studio and I began to tinker around, and from that, the creativity started flowing …like if you ever saw the movie with Bruce Leroy …I had the glow (we both crack up) but when I started to show these songs to Jonathan (Baker) …first of all this man is truly talented, but I truly love his musicianship, so when he began to add his musical flavor, that’s when Haven started coming to life.

SO: If I could give this album a positive critique, you sound the most confident on this album than your previous projects. Songs like Uno (I really like that song btw) have your signature sound, but you can also hear growth and confidence in these songs. What made the difference on you taking risk vocally on this project?

RD:  I would say, when you take ownership and responsibility from other people’s hands, no slight to any other producer I’ve worked with…but once I had to sit in this studio and hammer out these songs myself, and I had to figure out production nuances and truly trust myself to express what was coming from my heart, I would say the confidence to elevate happened organically from those experiences. If you really want to know who Renee Dion is…Listen to Haven. 

SO: Considering we’re saying goodbye to 2017…We had a number of bare-your-soul albums from music’s royal family The Carters. 4:44 setting the tone for truth in music. Listening to Haven you can hear these songs coming from a real place. Did your husband inspire those songs?

RD: Well, honestly speaking the entire album is about him. But it’s also about me, my relationship with God and my relationship with people. When it comes to my music, I’m attracted to really beautiful sounds, so sometimes the music can stand on it’s own and overshadow the lyrics based on the sounds I prefer. However on this project, if you stripped the production and listened to just the words, you’ll hear my vulnerability, my fears, my questions and me dealing with myself. I’m still continuing to learn how to be a wife, and my husband is still learning to be patient with me as I find my way, as I am with him and these thoughts are what come out in the music. Life is about continual self discovery.

SO: It seems like your songs speak to women in love or looking for love. In a time where trust in relationships is a rarity and often times scary, what would you say to those women looking for love in 2018?

RD: Wow that’s a deep question and loaded hahaha but I’ll try to answer. I’ll say this to my single women waiting for love. Don’t lose your affection, don’t lose your vulnerability by being guarded. What do they say, “you can’t receive a blessing with a closed fist”, so you have to remain open to love no matter how great the potential of you being hurt again. With each experience there is a lesson until you reach the destiny God has called you to reach. The problem lies for most people is that they look to all sorts of media like Facebook and Instagram and the wrong outlets for guides to relationships. However that is so far from the truth of what love really is.

Listen, people look at my husband and I funny because wherever they see me they see him and vice versa. If he has a showing I’m right there, if  I have a singing engagement he’s right there as my No. 1 supporter. And it’s not based on a level of insecurity. Our presence is a sense of protection in this crazy world. Furthermore, we enjoy each others company. I sometimes go to events and there are married women and men showing up to events by themselves and wonder why they get involved in single activities. Don’t get me wrong our marriage is still work but it’s less work when you work at it and stay in tune with your significant other. Recognizing and dealing with things when things are off are another way to build strong relationships. But people have to be willing to let go of pride and ego to accomplish that. Communication is Everything. Eric is my husband and I protect him and his art just like he does for me…that’s the best advice I can give Layne.

SO: Where can people purchase your music and what events do you have going on right now?

RD: So they can purchase the music on iTunes and we just did Healing Haven and The Black Infinity a few days ago but those events and more are the many things to come in 2018. Just follow me on Instagram and Twitter under @ReneeDionMusic and please visit my web page reneedion.com

SO: Thank you so much for spending the day with us. Haven is definitely a instant soul classic.

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@FleetDJs

@StateOfHip_Hop

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[Music Video] Mylezia “Party of One”

It’s finally here the 23 yr old Delaware born R&B sensation Mylezia’s  debut music video for her latest single “Party of One”. I really like this joint and the video provided the perfect vibe to the sensual, no holds bar single ladies anthem. I’m Looking forward to hearing and seeing more.  This is just the beginning for the young pop star and Fleet Artist.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her  #BOOM

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#NAENAEONTHESCENE: SZA TAKES CTRL IN INDY

Its your girl NaeNae with #NaeNaeOnTheScene. Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. You girl sure did. Actually, I had an amazing weekend cause on Friday my girl crush; SZA was here in Indianapolis at the Old National Centre for her sold out CTRL tour. A friend of mines put onto her music about a few years ago. When I heard the song, ‘Advil’ off her See Sza Run EP, I instantly became a fan. ‘Sobriety’, ‘Teen Spirit’, ‘Child’s Play’, ‘Babylon’ are just some of my other favorites from her earlier projects. But it wasn’t until her debut album, CTRL, when the rest of the world began to take notice of this amazing singer-songwriter.

SZA had taken CTRL over the world. Pun intended LOL. With this album, she had some old and new fans reminiscing over past loves, accepting personal truths about our own self, pretty much she taps into the emotions/struggles we deal with in love and life. It was gritty and real. I was so here for it.

So when the announcement of the tour was posted and I saw she was coming to Indianapolis you know your girl was going be up in there. I would have traveled to the surrounding states if my city weren’t on the list. I was going to make sure I saw her live in person.

The show started with the DJ getting the crowd warmed up before the two opening acts hit the stage. The first was an artist out of Chicago by the name, Ravyn Lenae. I wasn’t familiar with her but I did like her performance. I definitely will be checking out more of her music. The second performer was Smino from St. Louis. I took notice of him earlier this year with his hit song, ‘Anita’. Both Ravyn Lenae and Smino did they thing on the stage so I’m looking to seeing a lot more from them in the future.

Lights go out and the curtain opens with the letters CTRL lite up and we hear the voice of SZA’s grandmother saying; ‘That is my greatest fear…That if, if I lost control..Or did not have control, things would just, you know…I would be…fatal’. The crowd goes nuts as Ms. 5x Grammy Nominated correction Grammy Winner(yes, I said it) Solána aka SZA enters the stage singing ‘Supermodel’.

Even though, she mentioned being a little under the weather you couldn’t tell cause from the moment she hit the stage, her energy and spirit radiated through the entire show without missing a beat. She feed off our energy as we feed off hers. The city showed up filled with different races and age ranges singing along to every song. When she did ‘Love Galore‘ she hit us with a little remix had us turning up. But the crowd really erupted when she asked what today was. Cause we all knew what song she was about to perform next. What some people consider to be the ‘side chick anthem’, I beg to differ what the song is really about but I will break down my thoughts at another time. The crowd sang word for word with SZA to ‘The Weekend’. Side note: I’m patiently waiting for any day now for the video drop especially since I heard Solange directed it. Solána and Solange I know this video about to super lit. Maybe SZA would bless us with the video on Christmas. LOL. Wishful thinking.

Besides performing songs from the CTRL album, SZA blessed her old fans with a couple songs from her Z EP. That jump/kick she did during ‘HiiiJack’ had the crowd going wild. During this sold out concert, a few people fainted due to overheating cause it was hot in the venue. SZA’s kind soul would check to make sure the ones that have fainted were ok.

She ended the show with performing the song, ‘20 Something’. For a lot of the concertgoers, after that song it was the end of seeing SZA but for almost 200 of us our time wasn’t over. We got to briefly meet with her and get picture with her. I was nervous as hell meeting her. I couldn’t believe I was meeting what I consider to be my BFF in head(LOL) in person. What an amazing way to end 2017. I’m claiming this now, this won’t be the last time I will see SZA in person. Next time, it will be on grander scale.

Until next time, its your girl NaeNae as always bringing you #NaeNaeOnTheScene with Straight Official.

Follow NaeNae on all social media: @fieryscorpio81

Take a look at SZA performance from CTRL tour.

 

 

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[FEATURED] #NAENAEONTHESCENE: YOUNG GOD FEST VOL II

What’s good, we back up and running. Its your girl NaeNae with #NaeNaeOnTheScene. You girl was on the scene at the Emerson Theater for the Young God Fest Vol II with Indianapolis own Sidmfkid (now living in Denver, CO). Enjoyed every minute of the high-energy show. Sidmfkid started rapping back in 2015 and have gained a huge fan base within a first couple of years. He says his writing style is ‘always find the best beat, and then let the beat guide the lyrics and overall vibe of the song. Everything I write about is real with no exaggeration. All of the people are real and all of the verses are real.’ Some of Sidmfkid’s biggest influences are Jim Morrison, Drake, Eminem, 50 Cent, Post Malone.

 

Some of his fans might be surprised as to what Sidmfkid would be doing if he weren’t doing music, he said he studying neurology and stem cell research at med school. ‘Music isnt all I love to do, you may see me doing a lot of different stuff in the future.’ His motto in life is ‘THE DEPTH OF YOUR STRUGGLE WILL BE THE HEIGHT OF YOUR SUCCESS’.

Until next time, its your girl NaeNae as always bringing you #NaeNaeOnTheScene with Straight Official.

Follow NaeNae on all social media: @fieryscorpio81

 

Take a look at his performance from Young God Fest Vol II.

 

 

 

To hear more from Sidmfkid:

 

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NEW ARTIST: DENAE JOI INTERVIEW WITH DJ JAY ERICA

This year I had the honor of meeting talented performer, singer-songwriter, poet, actress, & model Denae Joi. In October I did a radio interview with the rising star which was syndicated on many radio platforms including Straight official radio. Denae Joi has ended the year of 2017 with a bang. She released her first official single ‘Shake It’ a record produced by DJ Nicki Nice & Ebrill to iTunes, Spotify, & more worldwide. Since then her single has been picked up by various radio stations across the country with positive reviews; building momentum towards her much anticipated EP ‘Misfit’ due for release January 2018. I recently sat down with Denae Joi once again for a fun QA regarding her life & music career. Check out our Q&A interview below!

DJ Jay Erica Intro: Firstly, thank you, Denae Joi, for sitting back down with me again to discuss your music career. It was great speaking with you previously. You’ve have had so much progress since our last conversation. I want to ask you a few more questions regarding your career as a rising performer and discuss your upcoming EP project ‘Misfit’ if that’s ok?

Denae Joi: Of Course it’s okay and thanks so much for speaking with me again today.

Q: You are welcome. Can you firstly tell the viewers where you are from?

A: I’m originally from Orlando, Fl. However, I currently reside in Atlanta, Ga.

Q: How long have you been in Atlanta & what was it specifically that made you decide to relocate from your hometown?

A: I’ve been in Atlanta for about a year and four months now. I decided to relocate from my hometown due to there being more opportunities for me to progress as a performer in the city of Atlanta.

Q: Can you specify exactly what you mean?

A: Orlando is a small city and there aren’t as many opportunities for performers such as myself to pursue a career in the entertainment business successful. The networking space is limited, unlike Atlanta which is a much larger city with a bigger entertainment scene to network and progress as an independent artist.

Q: How do you like Atlanta?

A: I love it. It has been very conducive to my growth as a performer & person.

Q: How so?

A: Personally, I feel the environment has allowed me to be more expressive artistically due to the various networking events with people of similar & different walks of life; which has given me artistic inspiration overall developing me to who I am today and whom I’m continuing to grow to become. I’ve learned more things about myself because I’m out here on my own. Specifically, I grew up very sheltered so moving to Atlanta has allowed me to explore myself more then I have before because I had the family to depend on prior to me moving on my own. So now I do everything on my own and have now further developed as a woman through me relocating alone and depending solely on myself. I’ve learned who I am as a woman and accept myself and who I’ve grown into and not trying to be. I’m not so focused on trying to fit in an image of what the world finds acceptable for me or wants me to be.

Q: Well that’s tough sometimes being an artist your often under the watchful radar which can make you a direct target for rumors & criticism negative criticism more so I’m speaking of specifically. How do you handle that?

A: I’m still learning how to deal with it. However, I love myself so much so I understand I cannot control what others think or say about me be it negative or positive comments or criticism. As long as I know the truth about me I have no need to even address rumors put out  there.

Q: Ok, Now let’s get back to the music because that’s the main reason you are here; tell me Denae Joi how long have you been pursuing your career as a performer and when did you start taking it seriously?

A: I’ve been pursuing my career as a performer for about 3 years now. I started taking it more seriously after completing college around 2015.

Q: Whose your influences?

A: I’m a fan of old school RnB. Sade, Xscape, Mary J Blige, Whitney Houston & Lauryn Hill. New up to date artists I’d say; Drake, Sza, DJ Khaled & Jhene Aiko.

Q: Ok nice selection.

A: Thanks!

Q: Let’s talk about your music. Let’s talk about your new single ‘Shake it’ that has hit the airwaves a few months ago and it has been picking up steadily landing you appearances at different events & being interviewed on the various stations since our first sit down. What was the concept & inspiration behind the record ‘Shake It’.

A: The concept behind ‘Shake It’ was to just have fun. I really wanted anyone who heard the song to have a good time and get lost in the music. (Stream now on iTunes, Spotify, & Everywhere worldwide)

Q: What’s coming for next year starting out 2018?

A: You’ll get the release of my new EP entitled ‘Misfit’ coming January 2018.

Q: Ok, so that’s truly top of the year like next month. What are you bringing fans musically with this project?

A: Musically, I’m going to be sharing a lot of my ideas the way that I think. My fans will also get a taste of my signature that I’m bringing to the table when it comes to my writing style.

Q: What else is in the works for you artistically any acting roles or performances coming in 2018?

A: Yes, Actually in 2018 I will be performing at the Fashion Gala Awards in Orlando Fl. Acting wise I will be starring in a play with a feature role entitled ’12 Women in the same black dress’ also due out in January 2018.

Q: Wow you are on the roll entering 2018 with a bang!

A: Thank you (giggles)…

Q: Where can the public find you on social media to continue supporting you and everything you do?

A: You can find me on social media worldwide @denaejoi & for bookings send emails to Bookdenaejoi@gmail.com!

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[Events] Chante Moore Meet n Greet @ DBS Sounds Atl

Last week Chante Moore was at DBS Sounds record store in Riverdale, Ga doing a meet n greet album signing. There were fans that brought every Chante Moore cd album to get signed to those who bought multiple albums to get them signed for the whole family! My new buddy Tall Boy, from Tall Boy Tv got an exclusive interview with Chante talking about the new album “Rise of the Phoenix” and what’s up with the “Real One” in her life. Check out the interview here.

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Master Class: Duane DaRock by DJ Layne Luv

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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