Thursday, March 24, 2016

Yo Gotti Was Born a Hustler

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 6:25 PM


Since jumping into the rap game more than a decade ago, Yo Gotti has glamorized his prowess for hustling. "Born Hustler," a mini-documentary presented by Epic Records and journalist Elliott Wilson, sheds light on where Gotti's unwavering grind derives from. 

The visual takes viewers through the streets of Memphis, the homes of Gotti's relatives and his restaurant Prive'. The Billboard-charting artist opens up about hailing from a family of hustlers. He also reveals his reasoning for trading in the streets for rap and entrepreneurship.

During the documentary, Gotti's mom and two aunts reflect on their introduction to hustling, how it changed their lives, and the impact it had on Gotti. And the rapper's brother and childhood friend both share how their lives have changed due to his success. 

Check out the mini-documentary below. And grab Gotti's latest album The Art of Hustle

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Xavier Wulf Drops "New Notification"

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 6:26 PM


Underground emcee Xavier Wulf gets a few things off his chest on the somber, bass-ridden cut "New Notification." The 901 representative uses the track to express his disdain for haters, rappers who need co-signs, and groupies. Stream "New Notification" below.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Young Dolph Hits NYC for "It's Goin Down" Visual

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 5:24 PM


The self-proclaimed king of Memphis, but Young Dolph chooses to float around New York City for the visual to his high-energy cut "It's Goin Down." Produced by the legendary DJ Squeeky, the track is from Dolph's latest album King of Memphis. Peep the visual below.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Starlito and West Reminisce on "Used to Be"

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 6:01 PM


Cashville's Starlito recently dropped the visual to his reflective track "Used to Be." The song appears on Lito's 2015 mixtape Introversion, and features fellow Trash Bag Gang member West. Peep the track's visual below. 

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Wave Chapelle Grabs Lil Uzi Vert for "Boss Up"

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 5:23 PM


Wave Chapelle has maintained a steady flow of musical releases since jumping onboard with Yo Gotti's CMG label a couple years back. His latest offering is the motivational vibe "Boss Up," which features rising Philly artist Lil Uzi Vert. Stream the track below.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Dope By Accident Takes Listeners to "Sense City"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 6:23 PM


Dope By Accident has been creepin' on a come up for a minute.

Her career started in Memphis, maneuvering through the city's underground music scene. She later migrated to Miami and began working with musical heavyweights Timbaland, Missy Elliott and Polow da Don. This led to her penning songs for the likes of Monica, Usher, Beyoncé and Chris Brown.

DBA recently connected with Trendsetter Sense (of the revered DJ collective The Aphilliates) to deliver the melodic “Sense City.”

Check out the track/visual below. 

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Virghost Delivers Visual for "Distractions"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 5:53 PM


A clever and transparent artist, Virghost vents about maintaining his grind despite countless disturbances on "Distractions." The catchy creation comes from his forthcoming album, It Gets Greater Later. The project is slated to drop in April.

Peep the visual for “Distractions” below.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday: DJ Squeeky Talks Memphis Rap

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 6:16 PM


One of Memphis rap's most iconic figures, DJ Squeeky talked with me back in 2012 about his indelible contributions to the city's music scene. He also opened up about his past issues with DJ Paul and Juicy J, revealed the equipment responsible for his subwoofer-satisfying production, and shared some advice for up-and-coming artists and producers. 

The interview can be read in its entirety here. Below are several excerpts from our conversation.

How did you get into music?

I have a lot of family members that go to church. Some sing. Some play instruments. I used to play drums at my church, so that really gave me a lot of good interest for the music game. Everyone was a fan of music back then. Either you were rapping or you were beat-boxing or you were DJing. You were doing some form of hip-hop. I started off being a DJ, but being a fan of hip-hop, I didn’t just want to play the music. I wanted to be involved with making the music.

What inspired you to primarily focus on the production aspect of hip-hop?

I think production came when I started doing mixtapes. I was DJing at the clubs but I wanted to start doing the mixtapes, too. I really got inspired by DJ Spanish Fly (legendary Memphis DJ and rapper). He used to be on the radio at 12. Club Expo. If you were a young cat, you were waiting to hear the Spanish Fly mix. You knew it was fixing to go down. I used to be like, ‘I want to do that too.’ I was still more curious with producing, because everybody was involved with the rapping part. [That's] what everybody got into, but you had to have music to rap.

How old were you when you first started producing? And who were some of the first artists you produced for?

I was probably about 15 [or] 16 years old. I did some work with 8ball & MJG, Criminal Manne, Project Playaz and Tom Skeemask. We all kinda grew up together in the same neighborhood. My house was the place that we came and put it down at. I had [Kingpin] Skinny Pimp, Al Kapone. Anybody that had a little name back then was at my house. 

I noticed you haven’t done a collaboration with Three 6 Mafia. Why was this? Were you guys in competition with each other?

It really wasn’t a competition, it was an issue with them re-making my music. They were really on the ‘stealing people's music thing back then.’ Their whole style, their beats, hooks, everything were based on shit I did. All the hooks that you heard from them [earlier on] were samples they took off my mixtapes. They were making their own songs off them. That’s how they got started.

Did that cause an issue between you guys?

I had a real big problem with it back then. I felt like, I’m just a dude over here in the 'hood trying to do my own thing with my music, and I see another guy trying to jump in on what I’m doing, sample what I’m doing, and steal the style of what I’m doing. Then you want to make beats like I’m making and everything. It was like they weren’t sticking to their own shit, which is what they should’ve been sticking to instead of trying to be a DJ Squeeky fan. I know they couldn’t help but be a DJ Squeeky fan, because I was the only thing around back then. But the thing about it was instead of sampling me, [they] should have been apart of what I was doing.

Are you referring to DJ Paul and Juicy J in particular?

I’m referring to both of them. I just look at them like they took what another man worked hard on doing. You want to be like him. You want to sound like him. You want to work your music like he works his music. And try to be me. Every album by Three 6 Mafia that’s came out to date got some DJ Squeeky on it. It’s got a DJ Squeeky hook, a DJ Squeeky sample, a DJ Squeeky beat pattern. It’s got something on that record concerning me.

Would you say that you helped establish the early Memphis sound production-wise?

Fasho, I did. Back then, everybody was doing it, but I took it to the streets. I was doing the mixtapes, putting them in the stores. Nobody was putting rap mixtapes into stores. Everybody was trying to get into record stores. I was going to Mr. Z’s, the stereo shops, and all that. 

What are some of the machines that you use to produce?

I’ve used the SP-1200 [drum machine]. I had a Boss Dr-660. I had an old Roland keyboard before Mini came out. My music back then was more like a sample thing. I was sampling things that I heard and was putting beats to it. I’m still using the drum machine to make beats. The MPC-3000. I’ve been dealing with Fruity Loops too. 

What advice would you give for up and coming artists and producers?

All I can tell you is that you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing, and the best thing that you can do is to try to keep loyalty with the people that you’re dealing with. It’s hard trying to keep people in a group or a situation when you’re trying to make a dream come true. You have to really be focused on what you’re doing. I’ve had a lot different distractions from people who just tried to get me out of my direction in life. You just have to stay focused. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody’s going to believe in you. 

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Yo Gotti Talks The Art of Hustle, Keys to Success

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 3:37 PM


Although there's no release date for Yo Gotti's The Art of Hustle, the rapper is reportedly narrowing down tracks for the long-awaited project. 

During an interview with AllHipHop, Gotti provided an update on the album and labeled it a "classic." He disclosed that he's establishing "10 laws of what the art of hustle is" to go along with the effort. 

Gotti also shared the keys to prosperity for an independent artist. And he defined what he personally considers to be success.

Check out the interview below.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Q & A with Chris Travis

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 5:34 PM


Shortly after the release of his 2013 effort, Born in the Winter, Chris Travis stopped by the Flyer's headquarters to talk music, purification, and overcoming adversity.

The full interview can be read here. Check out the visual portion of our conversation below. 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Snootie Wild Talks XXL Freshmen Class, New Mixtape, and Yo Gotti

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 1:15 PM


One of the nominees for XXL's 2015 Freshmen Class, Snootie Wild checked in with Sway in the Morning while out at SXSW

The CMG representative shared his thoughts on being selected as a XXL Freshmen Class candidate, and provided a pre-acceptance speech. 

Snootie also explained the title of his upcoming project, Ain't No Stopping Me, during the interview. And revealed why people call him "the James Brown of rap." 

The melodic Memphian later disclosed methods he uses to stay relevant, touched on Yo Gotti's involvement with his forthcoming mixtape, and performed the hook of his yet-to-be released song "Who's Faking." 
Check out the interview below. 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Lil Lody Talks Sister's Death, Being Sued by Juicy J and Project Pat

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 6:41 PM


After creating my blog Calling the Bluff in 2012, the first artist I interviewed was rapper/producer Lil Lody.

In September of that year, the North Memphis-bred talent came to the Flyer's headquarters and chopped it up with me. During the interview, Lody talked about everything from his introduction to music to dream collaborations.

But something that really stood out was when he opened up about losing his sister in a fatal car crash, and also being sued by Project Pat and Juicy J. 

Check out the excerpt from the interview where he touches on both topics below. 

On your latest mixtape, Foolish, you touch on some personal topics, primarily in the song “Foolish.” One of them is losing your 10-year-old sister a few years ago. Can you elaborate on this?

It happened on December 28th, three days after Christmas. She was in a car wreck. She was on her way home from the skating rink in the car with some more people. As they were getting ready to turn, a police officer was coming fast down Jackson. He tried to hurry up and turn the lights on, but it was too late. They were in the turning lane. They had their turning signal on, and the police car just hit them. Boom! The car flipped multiple times. She flew out of the car. We couldn’t even find her.

By the time we did find her, she was still alive, but they said her brain was dead. She was pretty much gone when we got there. They tried to put her on machines and stuff, but she wasn’t responsive. It fucked me up mentally and physically. I’m past all of that. I feel like death is something that’s going to come. Nobody can run from it, and you can’t change it when a person dies.

In “Foolish,” you also mention being signed to D. Brady Entertainment, a record label founded by Project Pat and Juicy J, and subsequently being sued by them. How did that happen?

When I deal with people, I don’t deal with people on a business level. I deal with people on a more personal level first, then we can get into business. When I did the agreement with them [signing to D. Brady Entertainment], they promised me a lot of stuff. They told me, ‘You should sign with us. We’re going to do this for you. We’re going to get that.’ But when they brought me into the picture, it basically wasn’t that. They were just trying to use me to get beats. I kept telling them, ‘I’m a rapper. I was a rapper first.’ They were hearing me, but they weren’t hearing me. They signed me as an artist. That’s what the contractual agreement was about. The beats didn’t have anything to do with it. They wanted me to be a rapper, come out with an album and all that. If you look in one of the albums’ artwork they put out during that time, you’ll see my name, ‘Coming soon, Lil Lody.’

I was seeing that they weren’t fucking with me, but I was still making moves. One day, I just called them and told them I wanted to get out of the contract. I told them, ‘I don’t feel like anything moved for me. Y’all are not keeping your promises. Y’all have breached the contract because y’all haven’t done anything that y’all said y’all were going to do. Y’all haven’t given me an advance. Y’all haven’t given me any money. Y’all haven’t done anything but bought a few beats from me.’ I was giving them, like, 10 to 15 beats for $1,500 to $2,000. I know that they’ll never tell you anything like that, but I will. I can’t sugarcoat anything. 

I ended up meeting [Young] Jeezy. We vibed off the rip. As soon as the “Ballin” song dropped, Def Jam gets a letter from D. Brady. I asked them why they’re suing me, and they said basically because I was signed to them as an artist, and they feel like they helped me blow up. I was only messing with Jeezy on a producer level. They had me signed as an artist. I was trying to understand how they could do that. But really they had me locked all the way around where I couldn’t do anything like that without their permission. I fought the case. They were asking for $250,000 at first. My lawyers broke them down, and they couldn’t show any proof of where they gave me $250,000. They couldn’t show any proof that they gave me any advance or anything, so they had to end up settling for $50,000. I gave it to them to keep it moving with my career.

Read the full interview here

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wave Chapelle Grabs Curren$y for "Let Me Be Great"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 3:28 PM


CMG's very own Wave Chapelle grabs Jet Life captain Curren$y for his vibe "Let Me Be Great." 

The two emcees talk their ishh about the spoils of a relentless grind. The up-tempo effort is laced by T-AL. 

Last year, Wave got a chance to join Curren$y on his “The Drive in Theatre” tour. He reflected on the experience during an interview with DJ Smallz

Peep "Let Me Be Great" below. 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Virghost Recruits a Few Friends for "The Grind"

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 3:14 PM


Virghost connects with Memphis rap vet Tom Skeemask and up-and-comers Soulman Snipes and FlowSo for his new track "The Grind."

The mellow ode to hard work and persistence is Virghost's first official single of 2015.

"The Grind" showcases Virghost, Snipes and Tom Skee dropping lines about their unyielding hustle over a chill backdrop boasting a Fat Pat sample. And talented hip-hop/R&B artist FlowSo croons smoothly on the hook. 

Currently residing in Nashville, Virghost said the song was inspired by his continuous effort to record good music that generates income for his family.

"A lot of hip-hop purists will try to tell you it's not about the money; it's just about the art," Virghost said. "I beg to differ! It's about the art and the money. No one wants to be a broke rapper, especially someone like me with a wife and kids. That's my new mind state: to kick knowledge and positivity to the people and profit off of my talents in the process."

Virghost is currently working on a new album, which is slated to drop in the first quarter of 2016. 

Stream "The Grind" below. 

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Documentary Showcases Musical Impact on Le Bonheur Patients

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 6:04 PM

A bedridden Le Bonheur patient receives a live performance in "Melodic Medicine."
  • A bedridden Le Bonheur patient receives a live performance in "Melodic Medicine."

There’s an old saying that music can soothe the soul. And research shows it can serve as a form of therapy — boosting the ability to reduce stress, depression, muscle tension, and other physical and psychological issues.

A new documentary highlights the positive impact music has on youth at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Entitled Melodic Medicine, the 12-minute film profiles local artists interacting with patients and providing them with intimate performances, along with a few smiles.

“We always complain about our daily lives — stuff we have going on,” said a member of Chinese Connection Dub Embassy during the documentary. “We don’t take the consideration to look toward others who have it a little worse than [we] do. We have to be thankful.”

Other artists who appear in the documentary are Cimberly Rene, William Charles, Danny Cosby, Vanessa Winter, and Frankie Hollie.

All of the aforementioned artists are involved with the Musicians for Le Bonheur project, a movement launched in 2010 by Memphian Justin Jaggers. Since its establishment, around 40 artists have come together annually to raise money for and awareness of Le Bonheur through a compilation album, as well as live performances. All of the proceeds raised from the endeavors go toward supporting Le Bonheur’s efforts in pediatric medicine. Thus far, the project has raised around $10,000 for Le Bonheur.

Since the 1950s, Le Bonheur has served Memphis children, and those throughout the Mid-South, refusing to turn away a patient no matter their financial status.

Melodic Medicine was created as part of this year’s Musicians for Le Bonheur project. The film is narrated by WMC-TV Action News 5 morning reporter Amy Speropoulos and directed by Jaggers.

“I love coming down here and playing my guitar, and you can’t beat a smile of a kid,” said Frank Hollie in the documentary. “And when a kid smiles at you for playing something that they know or something that they like, it’s just very heart-touching.”

Check out Melodic Medicine below. 

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