J-Kwon Releasing Hood Hop 2 Prepping New Label, Hood Hop Music Digital Album Coming February 17 on Gracie/EMI
St. Louis, MO -- At just 22-years-old, St. Louis native J-Kwon looks as though he could be another emerging artist on the scene, but he's actually already a Hip Hop vet. After achieving chart-topping success in 2004 with the single "Tipsy" from his So So Def/Arista debut album Hood Hop, the teen star was on top of the world. He followed with a few star-studded appearances, and then seemed to vanish without much explanation.
Now in 2009, J-Kwon is back in the saddle with a new digital album entitled Hood Hop 2, which will be released February 17 in association with Gracie Productions and EMI. J-Kwon also has a new label, Hood Hop Music, and has been honing his own instrumental and production skills.
When he was barely a teen, J-Kwon left home to pursue his music dreams. At age 15, he signed with St. Louis production team Trakboyz for $1,000 advance, and was swiftly introduced to MeMphHiTz, L.A. Reid and Jermaine Dupri at Arista Records. After his debut album spawned the hit single "Tipsy," which rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, everything seemed to be coming up roses for the young star. But when Arista folded, the Trackboyz' production deal was without a home.
“The experience was crazy, because it was what I had dreamed about,” explains J-Kwon. “I had dreams like making it to Saturday Night Live and Jay Leno - and I did that. Repping St. Louis was quite easy, because I had my friends and I was doing it. You’ve got Chingy, Nelly, then you’ve got J-Kwon. The city was on fire, and it was like a dice game - we were rolling too many 7's and 11's, and the industry turned that magnet off.”
J-Kwon turned his attention to building up Hood Hop Music, and recently teamed with Gracie Productions to put out the digital album Hood Hop 2. He still works with Jermaine Dupri and Trackboyz, and has dozens of completed songs awaiting release. When all is said and done, J-Kwon is confident in his own abilities, and envisions his creative endeavors without boundaries.
"J-Kwon is like a Black Rock & Roller who does whatever he feels like - we're not about to stress over music in '09," he states. "I want people to know that as an artist there isn't anything I won't do or try. Whoever wants a feature, let's get it. We don't know what J-Kwon would do - it's unorthodox. We'll figure it out as we go along."
1. Welcome 2 Da HoodHop2 2. Problemz - He Don't Want 'Em 3. F**k What U Tell Me 4. Rapper of da Year 5. Jockin' 6. Money 7. Food 4 Thought 8. I Told You 9. Ain't Sh*t 10. Promotions f/ Gino Green 11. *Bonus Track* 4-Sho - I'm From St. Louis
We often hear tales of people who strike out on their own at an early age, stars in their eyes and big dreams in tow. While very few people at any age actually achieve that time at the top, St. Louis native J-Kwon was a rare success. When he was just 17-years-old, he hit the top of the charts in 2004 with “Tipsy” from his debut album Hood Hop (So So Def/Arista).
Now 22, J-Kwon is back with an independent stride and even bigger goals as he digitally releases his new street albumHood Hop 2 on February 17, 2009 in association with Gracie Productions and EMI.
Unusually driven as a child, J-Kwon left home when he was only 13-years-old to pursue music. Family and friends didn’t believe in his vision, but fortunately there were people who did, namely Sean Caldwell. The budding music exec gave J-Kwon a place to stay as they began to build up the young rapper’s music catalog. Within two years, local production celebrities the Trackboyz heard J-Kwon’s song “Personality,” and the world opened up.
At the time, Trackboyz were already making hits for Nelly and Nappy Roots, and in their attempt to build up their production company, they signed J-Kwon for a $1,000 advance. From there, things moved quickly, as the Trackboyz introduced J-Kwon to the now-defunct Arista Records A&R MeMpHiTz (now at Jive). MeMph then arranged a showcase forAntonio “L.A.” Reid, Jermaine Dupri and their team of A&R executives.
After a rousing audition for the Arista team, Jermaine Dupri gave J-Kwon the opportunity to pour the last four years of his struggle into song for the world to hear, and at just 17-years-old, J-Kwon created Hood Hop. This 2004 debut release on So So Def/Arista featured production by the Track Boyz, Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox, and hit#7 on the Billboard 200, while the lead single “Tipsy” hit #2 on theHot 100 chart and #4 in the U.K.
He followed promptly with the singles “You & Me” and “Hood Hop,” however neither had quite the reception with fans as “Tipsy,” which is still a mainstay club and radio track around the world to this day.
While J-Kwon went on to record the song “Get XXX’d” with Petey Pablo and Ebony Eyez for the XXX: State of the Union soundtrack, an EP remix of “Tipsy” with Chingy and Murphy Lee and appeared on Bow Wow’s popular “Fresh Asimiz” single in 2005, things behind the scenes were falling apart. Arista Records folded, and even through a series of negotiations, the Trackboyz and J-Kwon were left out in the cold.
“The experience was crazy, because it was what I had dreamed about,” explains J-Kwon. “I had dreams like wanting to make it to Saturday Night Live and Jay Leno - and I did that. Repping St. Louis was quite easy, because I had my friends and I was doing it. You’ve got Chingy, Nelly, then you’ve got J-Kwon. The city was on fire, and it was like a dice game - we were rolling too many 7’s and 11’s, and the industry turned that magnet off.”
Never one to allow setbacks to fade him, J-Kwon began to create new opportunities. Still on good terms with the great majority of his associates, including Jermaine Dupri and Trackboyz, the 22-year-old has already set out on his venture as an independent artist. He is working with a new manager, Keith Matthews of Skot Fre Music, and has now teamed with Gracie Productions and EMI to digitally release his new project, Hood Hop 2.
Working without limitations, J-Kwon has been developing his production skills as well. “I actually sit down with the MPC, the new Tritons, Blue Tube and plugins, I work it all. Then after I work with it, I pay someone to work it behind me, so we’re gonna make this extra nice. I play the drums and piano too, I’m kind of nice. I’ll play the harmonica if they pay me enough,” J-Kwon laughs. “My brother was telling me ‘you just got an ear for it’ when it comes to the instruments, and maybe I need to start running with that. I mix records too, I’m an engineer.”
True to his entrepreneurial spirit, J-Kwon also launched Hood Hop Music, and has his own roster of fresh talent including Gino Green, Lou Kane and the group The Showoffs, which J-Kwon is actually a part of. “I still work with the Trackboyz, I never really needed anybody but them. They’re hitmakers, and of course I do production by myself too. I’m just going to put out Hood Hop 2 right quick, and then spread myself out with everybody else. I’ll be following with Hood Hop 3, which is basically me and T-Black.”
J-Kwon’s journey thus far has been an amazing ride, and he’s really just getting started. In retrospect, he may have liked some things to go differently in his life, but he knows in the end that he’s a better man for his experiences.
“I didn’t get to graduate high school, and I can’t sit up here and say I never got to the point where I wanted to quit, because I have gotten to that point, I have been at that breakdown stage. I really work so hard for this, and people don’t know I put everything on the line just for my fans. I just work so hard for them - I transformed myself from the same type of ni**a from the south side of St. Louis toting guns and selling dope just so I could be out here for my fans. I really have a passion for music, and I want to give people what they need to be listening to. I don’t feel like anybody can do that better than me.”
A Full Schedule in 2009 For Interdependent Media Upcoming releases from Finale, Tanya Morgan, Truthlive, K'Naan, and Canibus
(Brooklyn, NY) With 2008 already a fading memory, there's a good chance you're going to need a fresh supply of music to hold you down in 2009. Interdependent Media has you covered with a full slate of brand new releases, including albums from Finale, Tanya Morgan, Truthlive, K'Naan, and Canibus.
First out of the gate, Detroit up-and-comer Finale is charged to set the rap world abuzz with his debut effort A Pipe Dream & A Promise. Dropping April 7, A Pipe Dream & A Promise finds Finale spitting vocal barbs over elite production from the likes of J Dilla, Black Milk, Nottz, Oddissee, and more. Following on Finale's heels is the much-anticipated sophomore LP, Brooklynati, from Tanya Morgan. Comprised of Brooklyn's Von Pea and Cincinnati's Donwill and Illyas, Tanya Morgan has received critical acclaim for their debut LP Moonlighting as well as 2008's The Bridge EP. Closing out the year are exciting new releases from Truthlive, K'Naan, and Canibus. Truthlive, the emcee work of iM founder Evan Phillips, will be releasing Patience, an album produced entirely by Jake One (50 Cent, De La Soul, Freeway), while Somalia-born K'Naan, set to release his major label debut Troubador on EMI in late February, will be releasing the live album The Dusty Foot On The Road, which documents recent performances from around the world including Paris, London, New York City, Edmonton, Brisbane, and Djibouti. Finally, iM will end the year with Canibus, one of the most ferocious emcees to touch a mic, who will make a triumphant return with The C Of Tranquility.
Interdependent Media is no ordinary record label, and iM's innovative and interactive marketing and promotion methods for 2009 continue to raise the bar. To help promote the new Finale album, iM will be releasing a Super Mario Bros. themed online video game, complete with an 8-bit version of the song “One Man Show,” produced by Black Milk. Featuring Finale as the Mario of the Hip-Hop world, players who beat the game will receive an exclusive remix track. The setup for Tanya Morgan's Brooklynati release will be driven by one of the most involved and intricate marketing campaigns ever for a hip-hop release; the virtual city of Brooklynati will become a reality. The city will have an extensive website, video newscasts, a Chamber of Commerce where fans can apply for and receive Brooklynati drivers licenses, menus to the local Chinese restaurant, and its very own fledgling record store. Finally, thanks to the amazing work of artist Jamar Nicholas, fans will have the opportunity to channel their inner-child with a brand new limited-edition coloring book featuring the label's entire roster - get those crayons ready!
About Interdependent Media:
Founded in 2006 in the Bay Area by Evan Phillips, Interdependent Media has built unique strengths in the development, production, and marketing of recorded music via new methods of marketing and promotion. Armed with a comprehensive understanding of both traditional and emerging methods of marketing, iM has successfully created multi-faceted methods of raising awareness and interest in their projects. Industry veterans Ian "ID" Davis and Dominic Del Bene head operations at iM and are credited with discovering and/or developing artists such as 9th Wonder, Little Brother, Tanya Morgan, Blackalicious, Del the Funky Homosapien, the Hieroglyphics and more. In 2009, iM will be releasing multi-media projects from artists Finale, Canibus, K'naan, Truthlive, and Tanya Morgan. For more information, please visit http://www.imculture.com .
Unity is a word that has been thrown around a great deal of late, but there is generally a lack of any real evidence of it in the streets. Color, or geography, are often the lines that divide and it can be hard to look past those things and find a commonality. Music, though, can be that bridge and Houston artist Rob G seeks to use that tool to illustrate that despite outward appearances, there is more to unify us all than a casual glance might indicate.
Black and Brown Sounds: Both Sides of the Fence will be a multi-volume mixtape of all original, unreleased tracks that bring some of the best that Texas' rap world has to offer - both Black and Latino - under one umbrella. Volume 1, co-hosted by Trae Tha Truth, which already has over 5,000 pre-orders, hits stores on February 17th. Later volumes will be co-hosted by well-known rap artists from 'both sides of the fence."
Each successful in their own right, Trae Tha Truth and Rob G have been doing their independent thing in Texas for some time now and have also collaborated on some very successful street records (How You Like Me Now, Road to Success); there is a chemistry. Finding themselves under the same management team put them on the road together, giving each a chance to really interact with one another's fan base. Thus, the concept for Both Sides of the Fence was born.
A promo tour is currently in the works in support of Both Sides of the Fence: Volume 1 that is expected to hit every major stop in Texas as well as Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama and even California. Stay tuned for routing news.
Below, you can download 2 sample tracks from Both Sides of the Fence and online orders can be made via each artists' MySpace page.
Ball Till We Fall - Trae Tha Truth, Rob G featuring J-Dawg (Boss Hogg Outlawz) -http://www.sendspace.com/file/1pdry0 .
While Jeezy may indeed "put on" for his city, 6'6 Houston native Slim Thug runs the streets. I Run, the Jim Jonsin produced first single from his upcoming solo album, Boss of All Bosses (March 24), is currently playing at Top 40, Rhythmic and Urban stations coast to coast and entered the Urban chart at #39 this week. The play on Flock of Seagulls' 1999 smash I Ran has already garnered almost 3.5 millon plays on MySpace.
The accompanying video, directed by Mr. Boomtown, has already debuted on BET's 106 & Park and can be viewed on Slim's newly launched web site http://www.immahogg.com. The site is Slim Thug's newest web destination and features up-to-date blog information on his comings and goings, as well as the latest music and videos.
Slim Thug is a reluctant celebrity if ever there was one. The Houston-bred rapper who pushed his towering frame through hip-hop’s heavy doors in the late ‘90s never envisioned himself as a rap star. “I didn’t come in the game wanting to be a rapper,” he explains. “I wasn’t like a kid saying I wanna be a famous rapper, I wanna be like Tupac. I was from the ‘hood. We didn’t believe in none of that shit. I’m 6’6 tall and I never played basketball because I never believed in going to the NBA. That was just too far fetched for me and being a rap star was too far fetched for me.”
But it wasn’t long before an eye-opening encounter with Swisha House’s Michael “5000” Watts had Slim singing a different song. “I was at a party freestyling and he invited me to his house to do a mixtape,” he recalls, adding that Watts “showed me the hustle of it, how it all worked. As soon I saw that, I started making money.”
Although he has only one major label release to his credit – 2005’s Already Platinum, Slim Thug has the swagger and the fanbase of a more seasoned rapper. His new CD, Boss of All Bosses (Boss Hawg Outlawz/E1 Music), is a testament to his independent spirit both as an artist and an entrepreneur. It is a testament, he says, to the ‘reality music’ that has made his native Houston a hotbed for hip-hop over the years. “This album is me doing what I wanted to do. I put it together the way I wanted without being influenced by any other people – no A&Rs, none of that. What people are gonna get from this album is Houston. I have all the artists out of Houston on it: UGK, Scarface, Lil Keke, Z-Ro.”
As he cites appearances on his CD, Slim Thug gushes with pride. “These are the people I listen to all the time all day,” he proclaims, “and I just wanna give the world that, let the world know the type of stuff that we’re on because I don’t see too many people outside the southern region catching on to how we do our stuff out here. There’s still a whole other side of Houston that hasn’t been displayed so I’m still trying to bring it out to a broader audience.”
After one CD, several mixtapes – including Serve and Collect: Volumes 1 and 2 – and a number of appearances on other people’s projects (Mike Jones’ ‘Still Tippin’ Gwen Stefani’s “Luxurious" and Beyonce’s “Check On It”), the original boss man from Houston is back in the mix, still calling the shots, still doing things his way. “It’s always been like that,” he says confidently. “I was always in control of whatever I did. That’s why when I got with the majors I wasn’t comfortable because I wasn’t calling the shots. I’ve always been a boss in this music game. Now, in my mind, I’m starting over from scratch. I’m just hitting the reset button and start from there.”
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There's a party goin' on, y'all! Oh, snap, if y'all haven't heard, De La Soul's Plug Three a/k/a Maseo has a LIVE streaming video of his radio show known as the "De La Soul's Dugout." It's where they play good hip-hop music along with others. If you stay for a while, you may see Maseo himself appearing on screen and you could chat with him, too. What can be doper than that, fam? Click the link below to go there NOW, who knows how long it will last? * http://www.ustream.tv/channel/delasouls-dugout *
There are a lot of questions you expect to hear from your mom when she gives you a call. “Have you heard of someone named Nipsey Hussle?” is not one of them. Of course, because this is my life we’re talking about here, the other day my mom called me up with just that question.
As a public service to the world, in this week’s edition of the Fairfield County Weekly I have an article describing, in-depth, what you can discern about your Valentine’s Day date based on their choice of R&B singers. This article can be used in a number of ways. All the fellas out there can use it to figure out what kind of woman they’re dealing with, while all the women of the world can use it to figure out what kind of vibe they’re giving off.
We've received word tonight via AllHipHop and Rolling Stone that Snoop Dogg is leaving Geffen/Interscope for greener pastures elsewhere. When asked for a comment Snoop had this to say: "We are pushing the envelope on getting everything finalized. But I will not be releasing anymore projects under Interscope/Geffen." Snoop had been with the label since 2004 when R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta) - The Masterpiece was released. We'll keep you updated on his future plans and which new label this hip-hop/mainstream superstar will call home.