Freddie Gibbs Tupac influenced flow and Madlib’s soulful production combine to pay tribute to Harold’s Chicken Shack in Gibbs’s Gary, Indiana hometown. Their Pinata album has proven to be a critical favorite this year.
Daily Archives: August 5, 2014
New York, NY – July 14, 2014 – As Hollywood reshuffles the casting deck for a posthumous bio-pic on R&B star Aaliyah, the summer issue of Wax Poeticsdelves into the singer’s background and career as it celebrates the 20th anniversary of her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number (Jive Records,1994). In his cover story “Eternal Soul,” veteran journalist Michael A. Gonzales fuses exclusive content from interviews with the late singer with recent recollections of those who guided her career, to reveal fresh insights into her short life.
Gonzales lays claim to being the first print journalist to interview the vocalist, just as her professional career was taking off. Having first met the singer at a Motor City Sheraton back in 1994, Gonzales says, “Aaliyah was a sweet, shy young lady. But I could tell immediately that she was serious about her art.” After going on to achieve fame as a singer and actress, Aaliyah died on August 25, 2001 at the age of 22 in a plane crash that also killed the pilot and eight other passengers.
Gonzales has a storied career as a journalist, having covered popular culture for more than 20 years and interviewing countless R&B legends, including Barry White, Curtis Mayfield and Sade. “When I first heard the R. Kelly-produced Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, I was already comparing Aaliyah to pop legends Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Marilyn McCoo and Janet Jackson. She had a soothing and slightly-reserved soprano that was pop while still being soulful.”
Featuring stunning images shot by celebrity photographer Jonathan Mannion (Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z), “Eternal Soul” largely focuses on the singer’s musical legacy while briefly touching upon the sex scandal surrounding Aaliyah and her musical mentor R. Kelly. Covering the time-period between her first two albums Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number and the groundbreaking One in a Million, the article was culled from interviews Gonzales conducted from 1995 to 2005 with the late singer as well as R. Kelly, Wayne Williams, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, and Kelly’s former music teacher Lena McLin.
The chorus of voices Gonzales interviewed to compose “Eternal Soul” also includes Michael J. Powell, who produced Aaliyah’s earliest demos and is also best known for Anita Baker’s Rapture album; Jeff Sledge, former Jive Records A&R man, photographer Terrence A. Reese, who shot the Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number album cover; engineer Jimmy Douglass who has worked with producer Timbaland since the beginning of his career; Jason King, inaugural and founding faculty member of The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music; fledgling artist/singer Courtney Noelle, the first lady of Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang; Bill Banfield, composer and professor at the Berklee College of Music and pop journalist Elon Johnson.
Wax Poetics is a quarterly American music magazine dedicated to vintage and contemporary jazz, funk, soul, Latin, hip-hop, reggae, blues, and R&B in the crate-digger tradition. Wax Poetics #59 can purchased through their online store beginning August 5th.
“Detroit keeps me grounded and hungry”
Kid Vishis emerged as a rapper on his brother Royce Da 5’ 9”’s M.I.C.: Make It Count mixtape ten years ago. Since then he has toured with D12, released his own mixtapes and finally arrived at his debut album, Timing Is Everything this year. Being the brother of a respected and tenacious rap star forced Vishis to have a stellar work ethic and to write each bar as if it were his last. Last month Timing Is Everything was released and the 11 songs reveal an MC passionate about his craft with no interest in the frivolity associated with mainstream rap. Vishis spoke to Kickmag about the album, Detroit and the expected comparisons between him and his older brother.
How did you start rapping?
I started rapping for fun or a hobby. I wrote 4 raps and held on to them for like a year lol. Once I rapped for my brother and he felt me it was motivation enough to feel like I should keep going. It wasn’t about anything but me loving hip-hop so much and just getting better bar for bar. I still have that same passion till this day.
People inevitably compare you to your brother Royce but what are the similarities and differences in your rhyme styles?
I’m not exactly sure because I have 4 brothers and people always says that we all sound and act alike so naturally I’m sure we sound similar but hey, what do you want from me, we got the same mother and father and was raised around each other LOL. Differences I believe are the levels of experience, you can tell Royce is a polished artist who has been working hard for more years than myself. He’s a Legend and I’m an upcoming problem that’s gonna be tearing up all competition in my way until I reach that level.
Is “Talk Behind My Back” about a certain Detroit state of mind?
Well, nobody from anywhere want fake people around them. No matter where you’re from, you’re not gonna appreciate it when people are in your face smiling and shaking your hand but as soon as you get far enough away, they talk a bunch of shit that they would never say to your face. That’s definitely a part of the Detroit mind state though because you have to have respect to come here and survive. I’m sure it’s like that most places tho.
Is there anything about being from Detroit that you feel has shaped you as an artist?
Detroit keeps me grounded and hungry. It makes me specifically feel like somebody has to start making a difference in this city and lead by example like the O.G’s do, but it’s gonna be coming from a young killer like myself. Detroit has made me tough mentally and taught me that I have to grind to get it no matter what, so I honestly feel like if I’m put in a position to be successful and make lots of money, I would see to it that other Detroit artists eat but also give back to the city and prep the youth for the future to be soldiers.
You’ve been on Royce’s mixtapes, touring and making music for almost a decade, what is it about the timing that made you release your debut now?
I’ve grown as an MC to where I’m comfortable with making music and not just writing verses. I feel like now is the time where people will be interested in my growth as an MC and also feel like rap needs more hip hop music and less feminine male rap. It’s time for a change and instead of complaining about it, I’m gonna lead by example.
Who are your top 5 rappers?
In No Order:
1) Royce Da 5’9″
3) Jay Z
5) Biggie (sorry I know I cheated but that’s how I feel lol)
What is your most personal song from the album?
The “Big Brothers” track is the most personal joint on the album. I talk about how things were growing up and how important my brothers and family are to me. I plan to get more personal on future projects but it’s all gonna be part of paying attention to my growth as an artist. I got a lot to say get ready LOL..
What inspired “Message To The MC’s?”
Hunger.. I’m hungry, I feel like I can rip apart any new rapper with no exceptions.. I felt like voicing it on record because Mr Porter had me feeling myself when he gave me that banger LOL!. Don’t blame me, blame Mr Porter for giving me a beat that inspires me to wanna shit on rappers lol..
How did you come up with the spelling of your name?
I honestly started off spelling it like “vicious” but I didn’t like how it looked when I wrote it on paper when I seen it, it just seemed so regular to me so I just decided to switch it to something else and there weren’t too many other options LOL..
More music, more videos, tours, collabs, etc.. I’m grinding to make a difference in hip-hop, not just one of those guys that rap with no purpose or real mission. I want to be considered one of the best MC’s ever so expect to see it all from me from now on.
Kindred The Family Soul and Valerie Simpson share “A Couple Friends” in the mode of a moving photo album that never ends.