The DEPTH of Redikiraa

The power gained from pursuing something you were once scared to do is one of the most satisfying feelings we can experience. This is exactly what New York artist and producer Redikiraa has done. Once a person who posted the occasional singing video out of bravery she has now released her debut EP titled Depth. I hit her up to discuss the journey that led to the EP as well as the journey of of transforming into a full fledged artist.

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This interview has been edited for clarity. 

The name “Redikiraa” which is Japanese for “lady killer” is more than just something that sounds cool (it’s also her Instagram name) – it’s a direct connection to her life. “ I used it because I was indeed a woman killing it at everything I set my mind to & more importantly I was finally becoming sure of my sexuality , I’m bisexual so I wanted to celebrate me getting ze ladies hence “ladykiller” LMAO. Also because I’m heavily into anime so I wanted something Japanese.” This direct honesty comes through when it comes to her songwriting also: “When it’s my personal music I really just try to focus and think about whatever I’m feeling at the moment that I want to release,  any emotion that comes to mind , any conversation I wanted to have but didn’t that kinda thing, then find a beat then I’ll kinda like freestyle sing it out then patch words into the spaces that didn’t come to me automatically.” 

Like any great artist the title Depth is more than just something that looks cool on merch – it has multiple meanings for Redikiraa. “So the word Depth in general has multiple definitions. One is “the quality of being intense or extreme.”  I put raw emotions into these songs. Outside of music I’m more easygoing but I get to channel all the real feelings I have inside through this platform so I really did put my heart into it.  The second definition is “the distance from the top or surface to the bottom” my first single did pretty well. And that scared me a little like I was in competition with myself , ya know? I also did it all from home in my comfort spot then engineered with someone close to me so it was all really calm & comfortable. This time around I had to buy beats , I wanted to use better equipment so I went other places to record and it was definitely starting to feel like I wasn’t doing as well as I did when I was alone fucking around in my room just to express myself.  I felt like I was personally going from the high point back down and working my way back up. It’s one thing to have the talent it’s a completely different thing to be able to do everything so professionally and explain your vision correctly to others who are working with you and trying to assist you in creating that vision. It was a learning process for me.”

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The textless version of the Depth cover art.

In this current climate of genre bending, artists are more than comfortable with creating music based on things that influence them. This comes through most noticeably with the production which in some people’s eyes is the real draw when it comes to music these days. Redikiraa knows exactly what atmosphere she wants to have so at the beginning – she created it herself. “…my first single “Questions” was self produced. “Fun fact , I produced it and free-styled it in 20 mins. “ This track was released on September 6 2019 however, it is not on the EP. Being that Redikiraa is so community focused it’s only natural she had multiple collaborators on her debut. “None of the tracks on Depth are self produced. I wanted to branch out and work with others this time around. But I do have something coming up next that will be produced and performed entirely by me!”

Depth is a project that showcases how Redikiraa isn’t locked into a single lane of music. This is the first thing that separates her from other artists especially with her only being at it for literally a few months. “5 Birds” sounds like she’s singing with a live band while “Solution” is drenched in reverb and echoes. In regards to the former she says “I want to work with an actual live band so badly that sound is such a vibe man it’s really sonically pleasing to me. I’m definitely on a mission to make more.” The latter definitely has a unique creative flair to it in which she shares a story of how a space filler became a key part of the production: “…I heard the song on YouTube and the best way to explain it is I heard perfect openings for something in the pockets of the beat. So bullshitting around I was just saying yeah over and over until I could think of something to say. But the more I did that the more it just flowed with it so eventually I went to the mic I have in my house and said yeah probably like 30 times LMAO and was like OHH this shit is fire and kept that.” On “Bittersweet” her voice is at the forefront in the strongest way possible as it is only paired with a piano and a feature in the track’s second half. “I prefer it all to sound like live music or have my voice barely messed with. That’s another thing that made recording a rough transition for me. I like MY voice ya know? Lol I am used to singing acappella and in choirs with no beats no effects you just have to practice and hit them notes so bittersweet was the most comfortable song for me to sing alongside the intro 5 Birds. I could just flow naturally.”

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As an up and coming artist confidence is one of the most important qualities to develop. Some are naturally born with and take to an even higher level with their performances and creative decisions while for some it is more of an ever evolving process. For Redikiraa, gaining more of it is literally how she went from posting the occasional singing video on IG to dropping this EP. “I started singing covers on video with the alien  emoji covering my face back in 2011. I wanted to share my talent but the anxiety always got in the way so I did it with a little mask on sort of speak. The more I did it the more comfortable I got with myself , with a camera , & with my talent ; that’s how I gained the confidence to actually show my face. I had to completely redo that process to record because it sounded different on a track than it did acappella. Once I felt like I found my “ studio voice” it didn’t matter , I could just get into the zone so I guess it was mostly about inner confidence for me, I had to fully believe in myself before I could do anything.” She took this confidence to another level by performing live in February and again in March. The pressure is always higher for singers in live performances because people expect them to sound exactly like you do on the studio version of the song – or close enough. But with that pressure paired with nerves it can go one way or another. Redikiraa’s experience went both ways but it turned out for the better. “It was terrifying! Lmao I am just learning how to overcome my stage fright , and I tend to get anxious in social settings with large amounts of people. With that being said I went up there,  had on some really DARK sunglasses couldn’t see A THING ! I closed my eyes and tried my best. Half way through I got into it and started just having fun! The reactions I got after really overwhelmed me in the best way possible. I felt good about it I was confident. Then So many ppl supported me and complimented me it was surreal.” 

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Redikiraa at her debut performance.

Redikiraa says there will be music videos for some of the tracks which she is naturally very excited to release. We can’t wait to see them because with someone as creative as her there is no doubt that they’ll be anything less than fire. With her debut being this strong and only getting more and more love for it daily, we can’t wait to see what happens with her next!

Depth is out on SoundCloud now and will be on all streaming platforms soon. 

You can follow Redikiraa on Instagram (redikiraa.z) Twitter (RedikiraZ) and SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/kha0stv)

ABISHA: Authenticity is Key

This interview was originally conducted in November 2019. 

Here at Glosse we love artists from the UK just as much as the ones from the states. And because of that, it’s only right we put y’all on too. Enter UK artist: ABISHA.  I had the pleasure of talking to her about how she creates her music, how she defines herself and her plans for 2020.

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Image via Artist Representative

ABISHA’s music can in three words: Excellent, ethereal and genreless. With so many influences and blending happening it’s so much easier to just enjoy it instead of trying to put a label on it. She’s drawn to production with “Unusual and weird sounds, Distorted vocal sounds, [and] Pitched up or down [elements]” so you already know you’re getting into something as creative as it is fire. “All That” features some of these including a sound that I’d describe as something you’d hear during the opening logos of the Transformers movies – trust me you’ll know it when you hear it. “All That was one of the first songs I wrote and recorded. I was at the very beginning of starting to discover my sound so I didn’t really go into it with any idea how I wanted the production to sound. But my producer came up with this synth loop and we just started vibing with it and the lyrics I had just worked so well with it and it came together almost instantly. So it was sort of accidental I guess.” A happy accident for sure. 

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Image via Artist Representative

 In addition to being in it’s own lane the creation of her music is special in its own way too. While ABISHA’s music is atmospheric at times the lyrics still matter even if they have immersive effects added to them. Like all talented songwriters inspiration for lyrics can hit her at any time. “I have a note in my notes app on my phone of hundreds of lyrics which are just words and thoughts that I write down at random moments every day.” With ABISHA the song creation process goes back to a central theme in her life: an inner feeling.  “When I’m in the studio with a producer, I usually always have an idea of what I want to write about that day because it’s probably something that I’m feeling at that time or something that’s going on in my life. And then I think about the mood and the feel that I want that song to have and we lay down the chords and a beat and build it from there. Usually the melody comes to me quite quick and then I write the lyrics to fit with that. I love writing, it’s my favourite part.”

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Image via Artist Representative

Before you even press play on ABISHA’s music you might be drawn into her by her look. Her long braids extend down her back like the cables and cords used to make her music. This signature hair is complimented by her unique style which comprises jackets (oversized or regular sized) boots and various versions of cropped and halter tops. “My style is ever-evolving. It changes all the the time and I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of it” ABISHA has mastered something what we should all strive for in all aspects of our lives: Evolution. If we remain stagnant, the talent cannot grow and the power cannot increase.  Knowing what to wear may seem trivial for some but for ABISHA how you look and hope you feel go hand in hand. “Finding my style was a massive part of finding myself, it’s my main resource of expressing myself and I feel good when I like the clothes that I’m wearing and I feel ‘me’. The most important thing for me is that I’m comfortable, both physically and mentally in that I’m wearing.” This love for clothing has led ABISHA the chance to work with Puma as a partner/model which she hopes will lead to her being able to do a collection for them. But, it wouldn’t be a typical one in the slightest “I had this idea for a while ago to create a unisex range for a big brand because I dress quite androgynous and often by men’s clothes over women’s because I prefer the oversized fit, and I think that would be so cool to do something like that with Puma.” 

At this point you’ve likely noticed that each time I typed ABISHA’s name it was capitalized. This is a common trait amongst artists lately with album and song titles being in all caps – or sometimes all lowercase. It’s a minor stylistic choice that subtlety brings direct attention and makes sure it stands out from the other names/titles in your playlists. Originally her name was going to be “Shakti” which means power but her Mom decided to make this her middle name after concluding she “looked to gentle” for it. Despite this, she was still raised by her mother to be a strong woman.  ABISHA is her real first name and it actually is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my Father” – but her mother isn’t religious. “I think she just liked the name. I used to hate my name because it was so different but it definitely works as an artist name which is good, I don’t know what I would have come up with if I had to make one up!”

ABISHA’s name has a special meaning to it and the rest of her identity does too in which she says she is a “double minority”. Not only is she a woman of color but she is a gay woman of color too.This combination is not as common as you might think in the music industry and ABISHA understands this and thinks about it often. “Both being a woman of colour and being a gay woman have their own difficulties, there’s already pressure being a woman of colour in the music industry to prove yourself a bit more and prove that you deserve to be doing what you’re doing. Even just being a woman, but a woman of colour even more so. Being a gay woman in the music industry feels almost quite vulnerable. I feel like I have to ‘come out’ every time I meet someone new or that they might be surprised when they find out I’m gay, and having to experience their reaction to it.” Despite this ABISHA is still confident and proud of her sexuality. It’s not the only aspect of her life that defines her but it is a part of her image and a part that plays a large and direct role in her music. Music is a form of expression and she will continue to express herself through her music. ”I’ve been told in the past to not mention my sexuality and to hide it in fear that it might alienate listeners or potential fans or even put them off, but I’m extremely proud of being gay and I reflect that in my music now. My songs are all very open and honest, I want to encourage everyone including other LGBQT+ people to be themselves and that they’re perfect the way they are.”

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Image via Artist Representative (Photo taken by Sam Leviton)

ABISHA’s latest single “Real Life” differs greatly from her other music and is the last single to drop before her debut EP drops this year. It’s special to ABISHA for several reasons but also is special to listeners and supporters of her music too. “I think you can almost hear the breakthrough in my music style and it’s definitely evolved from my last release. Most of my new music is predominantly R&B but Real Life definitely has a bit of a pop element to it, which makes it catchy and quite fun. I think Real Life is the bridge between my older stuff that I’ve released and what’s to come, it represents my transformation as a writer, artist, and as a person.” 

ABISHA has built quite the following in the UK and plans to continue to build her fanbase in the US in 2020. “We’ve been focusing on building a foundation in the UK but I’ve had some amazing support from the US too and I’m definitely planning on making a few more trips out there towards 2020. It’s a really exciting time! I can’t wait to travel with my music and meet fans and perform around the world, that’s going to be the most amazing feeling! “ We’re excited too ABISHA.  

ABISHA’s debut EP SCORPIO is out on all streaming services now!

#NewMusicFriday: What You Need To Hear

Whole Lotta Red – Playboi Carti

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Woptober 2 – Gucci Mane

Yesterday was 10/17 but Gucci’s legend status lets him miss an easy marketing move like that. Maybe it would just be too expected or he’s set on a Friday release. The first Woptober dropped in 2016 and was his second post jail drop. This sequel comes after a slew of other releases and like all sequels we’re to see if it’s worth it. Given Gucci’s recent comments about being able to do an album in “one day” and not wanting to “hold the music” are we surprised at his quick output rate? Where are our expectations for this project?

Bad Name – Gang Starr

Family and Loyalty with Cole was a sleeper hit and gave us one of Cole’s best verses this year. This new single also engages the classic duo with the new generation of rappers however this time it’s definently more of a critique. The most interesting part is we will never know when Guru’s verses were recorded but they can still apply today.

Other Drops

First Class – Blueface ft. Gunna

Stacked – Kash Doll

World on Fire – 24HRS

Statue of Limitations – Smoke DZA x Benny The Butcher x Pete Rock

#NewMusicFriday: What You Need To Hear

Another night of variety. Let’s get into it.

Over It – Summer Walker

This is easily the most anticipated album of the night. With an already iconic album cover and a intersting viral interview Summer Walker’s album rollout has been a great one. As the fall approaches music like this sets the tone for the cooler coming months.

uknowhatimsayin¿ – Danny Brown

Sporting a new look and a new show Danny is here to continue his comeback. The singles have been unique both audio and visual wise and the full album should continue the trend. Easily the most unique project out of all the choices we have today

Highest in the Room – Travis Scott

Much like the “Drop AstroWorld” comments that flooded Travis’ mentions last year the “Drop Highest in the Room” ones have taken its place this year. The single has finally arrived along with physical versions with multiple covers and versions to choose from. Many speculate this could be the lead single for a solo project or a compilation project for his label.

Indigo (Extended Edition) – Chris Brown

10 new songs added on to the already 32 track long album.

Euphoria: The Official Score – Labrinth

The soundtrack to the most popular show of the summer has officially arrived. Scored by Labrinth, the sounds and pulses of the show can now be enjoyed and relived anytime you want. Perfect studying/working music

Other Releases

Big Booty – Gucci Mane feat. Meg Thee Stallion

EARFQUAKE (Remix) – Channel Tres

Truth Is – Sabrina Claudio

El Negreeto – Akon

Bandit – Juice WRLD & NBA YoungBoy

Superstar – Majid Jordan

Alone – Dave East feat. Jacquees

 

 

Ye Ali Discusses Private Suite 2, TYuS Collaboration, & More.

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Courtesy of Donte Maurice

Music can hold a very special place in the hearts of many around the world. Sometimes I feel like what we hear in these songs can be a way to express an emotion we aren’t able to put into words or even understand ourselves. That’s the beautiful thing about it. No matter what you go through, it is always there to hold you down. This was the case for Ye Ali.

Ye Ali is a prominent person in the music industry and continues to prove why people should pay attention to what he’s doing. Though he has been behind the scenes working with many of our faves such as Chris Brown, Saweetie, Eric Bellinger and more, Ye has more to offer than just writing and producing. The Midwest native dabbles in creating his own music that reveals more of his softer side.

Over the years, Ye Ali has showcased a couple projects and singles that continue to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Following up from the 2016 release of Private Suite, The Traphouse Jodeci has returned with Private Suite 2. I was able to talk to Ye Ali to get more insight on the project and more.

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Courtesy of Donte Maurice

It’s been a good 3 years since you released the first Private Suite project. Now that we have the follow up, tell me about the process was like putting it together.

The process of creating Private Suite 2 was simple. I just wanted to get back to having fun with music again.I wasn’t having fun with it so I just produced and wrote for other artists over that 3 year span. I made Private Suite 2 in about a month and a half from just feeling inspired again randomly.

What was the inspiration?

The inspiration behind the project was and always will be the fans. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t do this for me necessarily. I do this for them.

This time around, what elements did you take from Private Suite 1 for the Private Suite 2 project?

For Private Suite 1, the structure was….no structure. I wanted it to ride how a playlist or a mixed CD from a friend would. I took the rapping elements from the first project and incorporated it into the first two songs on Private Suite 2. Many of the fans missed the rapping so I had to handle that out the gate.

Let’s talk features. You have some guest features from Rainy Milo, Kirko Bangz, and more. How do you choose who you want on these tracks? Do you go off the feel you receive from hearing it or is it something that is planned ahead?

I usually just call into the studio and have them listen to it either word for word or allow them to write their own sections. Kirko [Bangz] sent me “Inside” in 2016 but that was when I took a break from releasing music. So that one sat for 3 years until now.

Even though this is considered an R&B project, you had some tracks where you were rapping as well. Throughout listening to your music, the track that stood out in particular was “Bigger the Dreams.” While writing the song, what was going through your head? What were you feeling?

I was just in a dark place and I wanted to tell people where I was. I’m not always happy and confident. I lose…and I have lost just like you. So it was more about being human rather than an artist during that moment.

Along with the release of Private Suite 2, you also dropped a collaborative project not too long ago with TYuS. How did that connection come about?

A mutual friend of ours connected us. We’ve only met once! We were able to put the project together through mostly email and Facetime.

How was the reception from both sides when it came to the fans?

The fans loved it. They were definitely surprised from both sides that we even worked together but overall, it was good. It was something I’ve always wanted to do. My goal is to create a collaborative project with every popping R&B artist that I like.

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Courtesy of Donte Maurice

You are no stranger to this industry because as well as being a musician, you have worked with many top artists and names in the game. Since you have been in this business for some years, if you could change anything about this industry, what would it be?

I would change the degree of transparency or lack thereof between writers and publishers/labels. We do all the work so should be compensated fairly and on time.

Even though you are a prominent person in music, you’re still human at the end of the day and everyone goes through something. If you could have one do over in your life, what would you do differently? (Whether music related or personal.)

I would have taken this record deal I was offered in 2016. They only wanted me to rap. I  should have signed the deal and then turned in my R&B music and told them to SMD. LOL 

Any upcoming work that you can share?

My project TraphouseJodeci 2 is on the way. Eric Bellinger album and Saweetie’s new album is on the way. I got work on all of them.

Make sure you stream Private Suite 2. Available on all streaming platforms!

The Journey to Success with Bri Hall

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Courtesy of WMA/Louis Browne

In today’s age, the internet has made it possible for individuals to do many things. Social media and other platforms has changed the way in which the world is able to do things. Along with this being a digital age, it is much easier for many people who want to put themselves out there and showcase their talents, to chase their dreams and achieve their goals. However, the pressure that is put on an individual in this digital age can be hard for one to stay true to who they really are and may have them changing who they are just so they can feel accepted. In this case, Bri Hall was not one of them.

Bri Hall is a 25 year old artist that has received her recognition through YouTube. What started off as her just using the channel to share her love for the arts soon became something bigger that she never saw coming. As the attention she was starting to receive began to grow rapidly and people becoming curious to know more about her, she started posting herself and began creating videos that focused on beauty and fashion.

Over the years, she racked up a whopping number of over 700,000+ subscribers solely off of just staying true to herself. Even with her continued rising success, she is relatable and makes everyone feel like they too can reach their dreams.

As she continues on journey, Bri Hall went through a rebranding and is taking over the music world as La Hara. With this new chapter starting in her story, I was able to have a conversation with her about her humble beginnings to where she is heading to now.

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Courtesy of WMA/Louis Browne

Tell me about how you became a person that wanted to create art. What made you gravitate towards creating and doing it as a career?

I strongly believe that art is one of my biggest blessings. At birth, I feel like the man upstairs sprinkled something extra on my mind and hands. I started creating around age 2 and no one in my family could explain how I learned. I had a teacher in high school tell me when I was entering the STEM field, that she saw me for who I was. She said that creating wasn’t just a hobby it was part of me and no matter how far I ran from it I would always end up coming back. She was right.

You started off sharing your talents on YouTube through your artwork. Eventually, people were intrigued by you and wanted to know more based on your authenticity and 100% being you. Looking back at the beginning, how do you feel about the beginning of your YouTube journey to where you are now?

I would have laughed for 3 minutes and changed the subject if someone told me I would do all of this a few years ago! I was so excited when my art channel reached 200 subscribers, I mean, I remember that day. I was like wow 200 people connect with my art. I thought of it like a high school classroom, the average class had 30 kids, so in my mind, that was almost 7 classrooms!! I can barely conceptualize 700,000+ people! I’m so humbled by the process.

As a person that has been following your work for some years, music has never been a stranger to the content that you have been putting out. It has always been a major part of your life. What made you want to become a music artist? How did you get to that point?

First, thank you so much for your support! Music has been my safety, my escape, and my diary. I feel like it enhances everyday parts of life so much. Letting go of some fear of judgment. I had to get to the point where I could visualize people saying, “I hate this,” and not feeling bad about it. Letting that go gave me new courage that I didn’t know I had! I know that what’s meant for you will be for you, so my music will resonate with the right people. For example, if you’ve never been a second priority to anyone or ignored anyone important to you, then maybe Mindful isn’t the track for you. For the people that empathize that track may just mean everything to them ❤️

Along with the music you were creating, you made another change, your name. Why did you decide to go with the name La Hara? Can you explain the meaning behind it?

La Hara is an ode to one of my favorite paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat. I remember an old comment on one of my drawing videos that said, “Art creating Art.” What more appropriate of a stage name than one of my favorite pieces?

How did your audience take it when you made a switch on your name? Was the support the same or did it take a while for them to gravitate and embrace it?

I was thinking it would take at least a year, but wow people are really embracing the La Hara name! I love seeing Instagram comments that are uplifting where supporters use my stage name.

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In the beginning of the year, you released your debut single “Mindful.” What does that song mean to you? 

The song ‘Mindful’ by La Hara is a heavy track for me. It means being there for the people that mean the most to your world and knowing the impact your action or inaction can have on your loved ones.

Following up from the debut, you then released another track called “Unlawful.” Tell me about the process of putting the song together.

Unlawful is my BABY! I literally had so much fun recording this song! It came from the inspiration of watching a Netflix series where these two characters fought for their love. I originally wrote Unlawful as a poem.

You have always been a person that focuses on visual art/content. What was the inspiration behind the video for “Unlawful?”

The Inspiration behind unlawful was one of the opening scenes with Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale. Though I wrote the song with external factors being what a couple fought against, I thought it would be a nice spin to see a couple where what was being fought was within.


With keeping up with uploading on your channel and hitting the studio to put these songs together, it seems like it can be a lot. How do you balance out everything to the point you don’t overwork yourself/find time for yourself?

I started reading a lot of audiobooks and something that stuck with me was the importance of prioritizing playtime and rewards. I used to work and think that brakes were procrastinating. Now I divvy up my workload and the heart of the task, I think to myself, what is something that would really put you in a great mental health space? And I let that thing be my reward. Another thing that has helped is honesty. Sometimes being the perfectionist that I’ve been I thought telling people that I wasn’t feeling well or perhaps even saying no I can’t go to that meant weakness. I realized that people respect you more when you advocate for yourself and you’re transparent. Imagine showing up somewhere with a terrible migraine and a tummy ache, but not telling anyone. When you don’t speak to people in full transparency they may take it as you having an attitude or being low energy. In this country when you trust people with your truth they can work with you to come up with mutually beneficial solutions. But when you’re feeling good still go hard! It makes those pause moments so earned.

Something I can say about you is that you have a gift of uplifting and empowering others so that they can see the best in themselves. Just the way you carry yourself and allow people to see sides of you that can be hard can inspire others to do the same. With having a big platform and many looking up to you, why do you feel it is important for you to not be afraid to be yourself and help who you can with your messages?

I think this is important because frankly, most people can see right through you when you’re faking it. Being authentic can really help people feel like you’re not a robot and that you do a live a similar life with similar moods and struggles. Like, look y’all I stub my toe on the edge of the couch and jump up and down cursing too okay? But guess what? We bounce back after that too.

What is something you wished you knew before pursuing your music career?

I wished I knew how political it could be. Being an artist visually and hanging around a lot of photographers and engineers I am very laid-back. Music from stories I’m told can be like high school, the popular kids, the anime crew and all that! I never quite fit anywhere in high school so I’m prepping for that too in music.

Do you have any upcoming projects we can expect soon?

I’m working on an EP, but definitely taking my time with it because I want to make sure everything feels complete. I am also performing at the Bungalow Music Festival in D.C. which I’m so excited about because it’s my first performance. It’s on August 10 so make sure y’all get your tickets. I can’t wait!

The Saga Continues: A$ap Ant Releases “Addie Calipari”

For a little over a year now, I’ve been exploring and diving into A$ap Ant. The Baltimore rapper has intrigued me with his wordplay, the production of his songs, and his consistency when it comes to dropping new music for his fans. While we’re constantly focused on the “star” members of the A$ap mob, the real work is happening to the ones you aren’t paying attention to and Ant is one of them.

When I first start noticed Ant it was while I was listening to his verse on “Runner” with Lil Uzi Vert on Cozy Tapes vol. 1. Then again on Cozy Tapes vol. 2 where he made more features on songs such as “Blowin Minds”, “Walk on Water”, and “Get The Bag”. This is when I knew I had to find more music by him.

So in 2018 when he released “The Prelude”, I was able to get a sense of what kind of rapper he was and his signature sound. Seven (7) songs, each about 2 minutes or less. What I found unique about Ant, other than his lyricism, was his consistency. Since The Prelude, Ant has consistently put out great quality projects so fans like myself never have to wait for new music from him — which is something I can get behind, for sure.

It was no question that I had to support and listen to his latest project — Addie Calipari which pays homage to the head coach for the college basketball team University of Kentucky. The rapper also makes that known in his album work, created by @antawge, which shows him at a basketball game holding the net.

Artwork by @antawge

The song breakdown

The album starts off with Tyson’s Corner, a reference to an area in Virginia with high end shopping centers. Tyson’s Corner shows off Ant’s wordplay and signature sound off bat — “he like a Christmas tree, when we shoot we light him up”. Sliding into Lord Superb, Ant plays with some bars to describe his childhood over a Sparkheem beat. Next, NBA Live 2005 and Offseason Workout — both references to the cover of the project. 21 Donut (feat. Lulu P) immediately catches my attention because of the best change. The first half of the project were beats with similar tempos and bass — great none the less, but 21 Donut’s beat reminded me of an old beat Lil Flip would be proud of in 2005. Tris Stratus — which I believe is a reference to a bad bitch and my favorite WWE Diva, is more of a freestyle from Ant which I could appreciate especially since its only one minute long. Okay so I know I’m a feminist and all of that but I have to be honest, Bri Bri Keep Playin is the song I keep on repeat everyday. I know y’all might be mad because of the lyrics but listen, between the beat, the catchy lyrics, I’ve been corrupted. The slow tempo of the beat along with the relaxed tone of the rapping, you definitely get a vibe from this one that separates itself from the other songs. And Bri Bri, I hope you stopped playin. Alright so, I lied; Cross Country Elementary is the other song I have on repeat too. Maybe it’s the beat or maybe it’s Ant rapping “get yo b*tch off my f*ckin d*ck” about eight times but Spizzledoe and Ant definitely snapped with this one — #GYBOMFD is the mood for 2020? A&W Cream Soda and Beat And 1 (feat Baby 9eno) both produced by Sparkheem with Jonny Caravaggio show off more of Ant’s creative wordplay. As the project ends, Ooze Edition and Infantry Mobbin both shine a light on the rapper’s brand Marino Infantry.

I’m A Hotboy And I’m Not Ashamed Of It

In middle school, I believed I wasn’t “allowed” to listen to any artists that were women because I was a boy. Yes, I know – VERY ignorant mindset. This changed in high school when SZA signed to TDE and I just thought her voice was dope af. I also loved Syd’s voice and felt The Internet was my own little secret band that none of my friends listened to – which they didn’t at the time. Anyway, the point is I got over myself and my toxic masculinity and just decided to enjoy the music because it was good music.

Why can’t some grown men do this when it comes to Megan Thee Stallion?

In 2019, it’s obvious women have made their presence known in rap. In a genre dominated by men, they have to work twice as hard and people make twice the assumptions about them too. Just like with the men, there are clear standouts and some are better than others and that’s the way it should be. Megan Thee Stallion fits both of these categories. She has a commanding presence about her and does this using a combination of her personality, looks and most importantly her skills on the mic. Like a lot of people (yes, I know some of y’all have been there since her very first tape) I first heard Ms. Stallion when her freestyle on the “Big Poppa” beat (Or, “Between The Sheets” whichever you prefer) went viral and I was very intrigued. I decided to wait for Fever to drop and was slightly disappointed as the songs outside of “Realer” and didn’t have the feel of that freestyle or others I had heard from her…then I listened to Tina Snow and officially became a Hot Boy.

Many men have said they don’t like Meg because they don’t want to hear her rap about sex. But, what’s the difference between her doing it and literally any other male rapper doing it? It’s the same exchange just from the opposite perspective. This is especially interesting because Kevin F., who has been listening to Ms. Stallion for months was drawn to her for this same reason saying “There’s something engaging about hearing a woman own her sexuality and be as aggressive as men while still owning her femininity”. When Megan says things like “Imma need that head, give me neck like a vertebrae” and “Sitting on your bae face, I’m the ‘bae-by’ sitter” some men would rather say “I ain’t tryna hear all that bro” instead of just admitting these are simple but clever and fun bars. But if their favorite male rapper said “Got the moves like I’m Ryu/Yellow diamonds, Pikachu/When I switch my hair to blonde/I’m finna turn up like Goku” they’d be all over it. Too bad because Meg said that too.

“There’s something engaging about hearing a woman own her sexuality and be as aggressive as men while still owning her femininity”

Megan Thee Stallion for XXL Freshman

Perhaps it’s because some men can’t handle that she is better than some of their favorite male artists bar for bar? As our very own CEO Amani put it “Imagine a new rapper coming in, rapping circles around current artists, using vulgar language, and looking amazing while doing it. No it’s not a typical male rapper, it’s Houston’s very own Megan Thee Stallion” There are multiple women that are rappers that are legendary as well as those who are popular or not popular now. However, unfortunately they are still overshadowed by men and treated unfairly behind the scenes too. It’s almost as if some people have regressed all the way back to elementary school and are saying “Girls can’t do that” Kevin alluded to this too saying “Some men want their women to be inferior to them and when a woman comes to them and shows up as their equal or maybe even superior to them they get intimidated” Megan is making her presence known among men and will continue to whether they listen to what she has to say or not. Writer Kennadi H. put it bluntly saying “I feel like anybody that has a negative opinion is a hater…” This is an excellent point too. Some men simply decide they do not like a woman because she is bringing change to something they thought “belonged” to them. If you don’t like her simply based on the fact she is a woman that raps you are 100% in the wrong.  This mindset exists outside of the rap world too and can be attributed to movies, games and TV Shows that have had strong women taking over leads that were previously held by men.

“…she goes outside of the box people try to put female artists in. She speaks her mind, has an unapologetic attitude and an empowering amount of confidence! Not to mention her sex appeal…that’s on a whole different level.”

Outside of the haters, we fortunately have another segment of the male population with a much more favorable opinion of Megan and these are her Hot Boys. A “Hot Boy” is simply just the male counterpart of a Hot Girl. These men love and support her just as much as the women do. YouTuber and Hip Hop Critic Kenya P. believes the reason men feel this way is “…she goes outside of the box people try to put female artists in. She speaks her mind, has an unapologetic attitude and an empowering amount of confidence! Not to mention her sex appeal…that’s on a whole different level.” Meg’s technical ability as a rapper is what draws a lot of men in too. On the surface, she may sound like other popular female rappers but when it comes down to it – the bars are still there. And, she writes her verses herself. Also, as Kenya mentioned, men enjoy attractive women obviously but an attractive women doing something they already enjoy and doing it well? It’s a package deal.  Meg’s confidence is what pulls me in personally which easily comes through in her flow and her bars. She says what she means and means what she says. Also, her punchlines are clever and sometimes even funny as she has referenced Spongebob and The Jackson Family in the same verse. Her production is always on point too as it compliments her energy and makes every word just stick. Not to mention she’s an anime fan and as of the day this was written her current favorite anime is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure which happens to be one of my favorites too. So basically, I’m sold all the way on her. Hot Boys aren’t afraid to admit they love Ms. Stallion because they see nothing wrong with loving her. Can we 100% relate to everything she says? Of course not. But, can we with most rappers? No. Good music is meant to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone and that is exactly what Megan Thee Stallion creates.

Hotties Stand Up. Haters Tune Out.

Real Street Festival: The Hottest Festival Of The Summer

Just when you thought festival line ups of summer 2019 couldn’t get any better, Real 92.3 announces their Real Street Festival line up. With top hip hop acts such as Migos, Future, A$ap Rocky, Meek Mill, and the Bronx’s very own Cardi B taking over the stage.

In August 10 to August 11, the Honda Center grounds in Anaheim, CA will be shut down with the hottest acts and even hotter brand activations. The festival will feature three stages, and a number of inviting and interactive experiences such as art installations, live murals, an artist alley, a vendor village, the California Love Thunderdome, and more. Along with these activations a car show located inside the Honda Center along with Big Boy’s Neighborhood.

According to John Reese, founder of Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE) and producer of Real Street says, “Hip hop is a GLOBAL SOCIAL PHENOMENA and the ability to produce a music festival of this magnitude in the heart of Southern California is a dream for SGE. Working with the Honda Center and its grounds has brought so much to the event. The building will be open so people can actually use a real bathroom at a music festival! Plus Big Boy’s Neighborhood and other attractions will be on the Honda Center floor center court. Real 92.3 is an awesome partner, and with so many interactive experiences, three stages of amazing artists, special food and drinks, and so much more, Real Street will be the place to be this summer in SoCal.”

Who would want to miss the biggest hip hop festival in California?! Real Street is a festival FOR the culture. From the graffiti walls to Big Boy’s Neighborhood, festival goers are bound to be immersed into what real hip hop culture is. For decades Big Boy has been a staple in the hip hop game. With his transparent interviews and love for music, Big Boy has become an icon in media as well.

If you haven’t, make sure to grab you ticket and your homeboy/homegirls a ticket too because there won’t be any other hip hop festival like this one! We’ll see y’all there and make sure to come see the Glossē team while you’re out there!

For more information or to purchase your ticket: https://realstreetfest.com

Ghostwriting: What’s The Big Deal?

In the music world there are singers. There are also rappers. There are also songwriters. Sometimes these positions overlap.

They are not required to.

In the past few months, the conversation of ghostwriting has come back to the forefront again. Some feel it should never occur in the world of rap and I disagree with this. Songs are made to be enjoyed by the listener one way or the other. This enjoyment does not always have to produce happiness but can even be sad or another non positive emotion. Regardless sometimes an artist may need help conveying these emotions. This is when the songwriter comes in. The songwriter knows what words and arrangements touch people and they may be cliche but they still work. The more accessible the song is the more successful it will be. And, the success of the song is at the forefront of some artist’s minds while others could care less about it.

The dividing line for me personally when it comes to ghostwriting is the type of song that is being written and the persona of the artist. For the sake of this conversation we will stick with rap for now and take a classic song like Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck”. Debates on who had the best verse on this song are still had today. This song flows perfectly and combines hype and bars effortlessly. Based on the Wu’s reputation and image we expect each verse to have been written by each member and each member only. And they all were. But what if it was revealed that this wasn’t the case? Would our perception of the legendary group change? Of course. This is because when it comes to them we expect them to write their own verses based on who they are. And, this is a verse driven song – not a hook driven one. Sure, you’ll rap along if you know it but the average listener can not get up and dance to it. This was not the song’s intention – it wasn’t written to be accessible by the average listener.

Now let’s look at an oldish Kanye West (STAY WITH ME) song “All Day”. This song has three audible voices on it – plus the whistling of Paul McCartney. It also has 21 credited songwriters. Why? Because this is what Kanye does. We affectionately call him a “coraller” or “maestro” as he knows how to bring the right people together for a song and of course a full album. We expect multiple people to be involved when it comes to his work. He believes in giving credit where credit is due and even you make a small writing suggestion or are the original artist of the sample on a song – you’ll be credited as a songwriter. Songs like “Monster” and “All Of The Lights” have multiple writers (obviously) and are fantastic songs. They’re easy to sing along with and are accessible by the average listener. Songs like “Jesus Walks” and “Flashing Lights” have only one additional credited writer each and while carrying a message with them, still are accessible by the average listener. All four of these songs have a completely different tone to them, are excellent overall and in my opinion – timeless. This just shows how sometimes having multiple writers can enhance a song or sometimes multiple ones aren’t needed.

The world of ghostwriting is a tricky place. When we found out Joey Bada$$ had writing credits on “rockstar” and Lil Yachty had writing credits on “Act Up” in which he said “I wrote the whole song, except J.T.’s last verse” our minds were blown. Did that stop us from enjoying the songs? Of course not. An artist can have ghostwriters however if they say they wrote the song by themselves then that becomes an issue. Or, if the artist has ZERO writing credits on the song then that is an issue as well. Artists like Drake who are huge are likely to have ghost writers based on the fact that their music is supposed to be successful and accessible. We should not condemn them for this. Artists whose careers are based around their verses as opposed to their song’s accessibility are likely to have no ghostwriters and likely only bring other writers in for hooks. Having ghostwriters is not a bad thing – it just depends on how you use them.