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Maz Chats to Tyga

I got the chance to have a quick chat with Tyga a couple of weeks ago on behalf of MTV – The Wrap Up (THE urban destination, in case you didn’t know). Check it out…

This year, we’ve seen the tattoo-loving rhymer Tyga gain worldwide fame. His single ‘Rack City’, went certified platinum and he inspired almost every rapper to jump on YouTube and perform their own version of the party anthem…

Tyga’s new album, ‘Careless World: Rise Of the Last Kings’, is a well-orchestrated blend of party tracks, rugged hip-hop and emotive sounds – the Young Money camp are doing things big this year. I found out what he’s been up to and what he has planned for us next…

Hey Tyga! From being recalled to be being leaked, the release of your album, ‘Careless World: Rise Of The Last King’, has had its fair share of drama…

Hey! Yeah, the album was sent to stores but it couldn’t be sold because of a MLK sample that I used. For certain reasons, I wasn’t allowed to use it last minute. We had to remake a new album to go in stores by the next week, so for the whole first week I wasn’t actually able to have it in stores. Once you’ve made your album and it’s shipped in, it’s out there, you know? You’ve got people that copy them once they get to the stores. I know if I worked in a retail store and I saw a CD from my favourite artist that I’ve been waiting so long for, I’d probably grab a CD too!

What track on the album means the most to you and why?

The ‘Kings and Queens’ record with me, Wale and Nas. I just think the message behind it is a real strong one. It’s a strong record and I don’t think people were expecting that from me on this album.

‘Rack City’ is now certified platinum. Did you think it would make this kind of impact? And for those who don’t know, what is the meaning behind ‘Rack City’?

Tyga: ‘Rack’ is a term we use that means a thousand dollars, so ‘Rack City’ basically means a lot of money (laughs). I didn’t know that it was gonna be this big, like worldwide, but I knew it would be big with my fans and on the West Coast. But nah, I was shocked! I think it’s just a new sound, it’s different. Like, the flow of it and my tone on the record is just different. It just sounds like an anthem, you know?

Have you seen the YouTube video of a granny dancing to it? It has over 12 million views.

Yeah, I’ve seen it. It’s pretty wild and pretty crazy (laughs). I really appreciate it all, I’m just happy that people are enjoying my music.

Since your recent worldwide hit, how do you stay grounded?

For me, it isn’t hard to stay grounded. You just have to keep doing what you’ve been doing that got you to that point of success. I think as long as you stay consistent and you stay in touch with your old friends, you’ll always be good. 

In your last interview with us, you said that you didn’t think you had established your sound 100%. How do you feel now that you’ve had time to progress?

I think the challenge for me is to make sure I have a party sound and a more emotional sound, you know what I’m sayin’? I can make any type of music, so I wouldn’t want to describe myself as having one type of sound. I think music is about keeping it diverse.

How is your clothing line, ‘Last Kings’, going? Any chance of a UK store opening soon?

I’m just selling it on my tours and shows at the moment, and you can also get it online. The brand really represents being independent, making your own movements and controlling your own destiny. As well as the album, I really wanted to have something that my fans could have, so they could feel like a part of this whole movement.

You’ve collaborated with many amazing artists, but who has been your favourite person to work with?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, but I’ve worked with Chris Brown a lot. When we make music, it’s not hard at all. We’ve got a good vibe.

What’s coming up next for you?

I just shot the video for ‘Faded’ with Lil Wayne from my album, which is ready to drop soon. Those fun songs are just a thing I like to do for my partygoers. I’ve got a lot of other records, but I still wanna cater to the party people!

Where can we see you live and what can expect?

I’ll be in the UK in May. It’s gonna be crazy! Shows are gonna be sold-out so, once tickets going on sale, make sure you guys get your tickets. What can you expect from me? You can expect a party and a lot of energy.

Tyga’s new album, ‘Careless World: Rise Of The Last Kings’, is out now.

Stay up to date with Tyga on Twitter.

If you want to see this interview in all of its MTV glory or you fancy checking out my other work on the site, just click here.

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Maz meets DJ Mo Beatz

DJ Mo Beatz has been on the grind since school days. His devotion to music kept him climbing the DJ ranks until he was the most sought after disc jockey in most of Detroit; with artists like Gucci Mane and Wiz Khalifa calling him for his services. The DJ from Motown is now Big Sean’s official DJ, mixing for the biggest events in the world and generally living a sweet (but busy) life. Myself and my Flavour Magazine buddy Shireen met him at the bar of his grand old West End hotel to talk about his journey, from making beats on tables to mixing at Lil Wayne’s party.

S: So you’ve been called DJ Mo Beatz since school days. How did the name come about?

Every day at lunch I would make beats on the table; this was before I was DJing. Some dude who was rapping was like ‘rah!’ and my boy said ‘that’s my boy Mo Beatz, he can make beats with his hands’ and then eventually I started DJing and it kinda stuck.

M: Is this your first time in London?

No, it’s actually my third time in London.

M: So what do you think about the music scene here?

Umm, I don’t know too much. The first time I came out here I had a tour of the city and the second time I was out here with Big Sean; we met Semtex and Tim Westwood and they put me up on [pauses] how do you say it, Wretch 32?

M&S: Yup!

Yeah so I heard him, Tinie Tempah and others.

M: How was meeting Tim Westwood?

He’s very funny… very very very funny, he’s definitely a comedian. I was surprised; I didn’t think he’d be that silly, on and off air! He’s real cool… But as far as the music scene, I’m digging some stuff, I have to do some research and find more, but the stuff I’ve heard so far is cool.

S: You’re from Detroit, aka Motown. How has growing up in such an exciting place musically influenced you?

Detroit is known for Aretha Franklin… soul musicians. It influenced me to a certain degree, if I had wanted to become a singer it would have had a lot more influence, but my influences came from different areas. Motown music made a big difference in music, but not as hugely to me – I’m a different kind of musician I guess.

S: Who’s your favourite artist from Detroit?

Big Sean of course! J Dilla, Dwele… Those guys I really rock with.

M: What inspired you to be a DJ?

I was in 8th grade and I already played drums, saxophone, clarinet, piano by ear… I would DJ for different parties at school in the gym. That’s when I realised I wanted to do this. But my mum never took me serious! I wanted to do something else to manipulate music as opposed to just playing an instrument and I realised with DJing I could do that.

M: Equipment is expensive and you started so young. How did you get by?

I begged my mum for a year straight! I had a magazine and I’d take it to school every day, I had what I wanted circled! She eventually saw that I was serious and then she surprised me for Christmas. It was the best thing ever.

S: Best event you’ve played at?

Man… I would say it was when I went to Cape Town, South Africa. It was just crazy. The energy and the location just made it amazing for me.

M: If it was your party, what would you want the DJ to play?

Personally, it would be Ludacris, Chris Brown and stuff like that. My musical tastes are all over.

S: What makes you individual as a DJ?

I guess you could say I’m a real DJ, cause a lot of guys now just push buttons or use iTunes [laughs]. There are no songs mixed or any scratching… I can’t call them real DJs.

M: It’s a competitive job, being a disc jockey. What tips would you give to get yourself noticed?

DON’T UNDERCUT OTHER DJ’s! [laughs] that would probably injury a career very quickly. Other than that just promote yourself; think of yourself as a brand. You almost have to sell yourself as a product, do your promo on Twitter and Facebook.

@djmobeatz

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Maz Meets Chipmunk

 

My colleague Cat and I went to London’s South Bank on behalf of Flavour Magazine to see Chipmunk perform a secret gig. The 20-year-old platinum selling rapper and songwriter hailing from Tottenham took time out to chat to us about his taste in ladies, future plans and getting mobbed…

Cat: So what’s going down in South Bank today?

We have some competition winners here; they’ve come to see me perform. The gig is in conjunction with Adidas and Footlocker. They picked me to be the face of their new campaign to help appeal to the ‘kids like me.’ [laughs]

Maz: A lot has happened in your career over the last four years. What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Honestly? Working with Chris Brown. Yeah, man. When I started music, he was already THAT guy. There are other moments, but I would say working with Chris because that was when I thought ‘Rah, this was what I dreamed of and its reality now.’

Cat: Were you star struck when you met him?

Na! I never get star struck. I think with artists you don’t get star struck because you’re all under the umbrella of music. Everyone has many different talents. He [Chris Brown] looked at me like ‘woah this guy is a sick writer’ and I looked at him like ’you’re some alien, the way you’re singing and dancing!’ It’s a lot, still.

Maz: How are received in America? Do they ‘get’ your music?

I haven’t put out any music in America you know. Everything I have done with American artists has been for my fans here who are also fans of Chris Brown and Trey Songz. I think a lot of people forget, but amongst the artists there is a high respect for me as an English rapper that they can actually understand me and I sound English! But swag wise, I’m just like them… We’re into the same things.

Cat: Have you got any plans to release any material out there?

I got plans to get a name in the US, you know. But everyone forgets that you can’t skip stages; I came from the BOTTOM. Unless you don’t mind having a song that is bigger than you, you have to start from the bottom. I don’t wanna go over there and have a big song and people know my song but I can still go to the mall, you know. I wanna do it properly.

Cat: So you wanna be mobbed, do you?!

[Laughs] Na, it’s not that I wanna be mobbed, but I never wanna have a song where people are like ‘who are you…? Oh, you’re him!’ Na. It’s gotta happen at the same time, I wanna do it from the ground up, just bars and gain the respect.  The respect is coming from the artists, you know. Tinie is doing well, but I don’t know another UK MC that has had the love simultaneously from so many different artists at once.

Maz: That being said, who are YOU feeling in the UK scene this year?

Umm… If I took myself out, as a fan, I think the best rapper word for word; forget about making a hit… I would have to say Wretch32.  He’s a sick rapper. I think the best all-rounder in terms of singing, delivery, character… it would be Dappy. I think N-Dubz splitting up has allowed him to gain the credibility that he has been dying for.  It’s amazing man. I like Dappy.

Maz: I didn’t know they had officially split up, I thought they were just on a break. But I guess you know them so you would know…

Yeah I know them… [Silence]

Cat: We’re gonna do some quick fire questions. Ready?

Always.

Cat: Kelly or Beyonce?

[laughs] BE-YON-CE; you mad!

Maz: Blondes or Brunettes? [the rooms is full of brunettes]

I just like pretty girl’s man, you could be bald!

Cat: In 3 words, what is your ideal girl?

Beautiful inside out. But if you’re talking looks, I do have a type.

Maz: Which is…

Pretty! No discrimination here…

Cat: Chips or Munks?

I’d have to say Chips.

Maz: Only Way is Essex or Made in Chelsea?

I don’t watch either of them! But if I had to watch one I would say The Only Way is Essex because a few of them have got their names out there. That’s when you know you are doing well, when you subconsciously be hearing their name. I respect that, that’s what I call hustling.

Maz: You’ve had many international collaborations. Are there any more we can expect?

There’s some coming. There are some certified ones that are gonna happen, but ones that I wanna make happen are with Wayne and Drake. That’s the two collabos that I want.

Cat: So what else is next for Chipmunk?

I’ve got my new free mix tape coming out, Spazz.com. It is gonna drop in the next three weeks. It’s just me MCing with my peers. Wretch 32 is on there, so is Tinie Tempah and Sneakbo, he’s doing well for himself. So yeah… Spazz.com. Then I wanna live some more and then start working on my third album.

Cat: You’ve dominated the music scene. What about TV, any plans for you being on a reality show?

Nah, my music is for the public, I try and keep my personal life personal. I think that’s when people start falling off when they do them sort of things. I’m not really on that.

Maz: What direction are you planning to take on your next album? Are you gonna be hopping on the bassline thing like many other artists are doing at the moment?

I’m not even about to jump on the bassline! I like Ms Dynamite ‘Neva Soft’, but to me that sounds more like bashment anyway. It’s got a Caribbean flavour to it. If something like that comes up, I’m in. Otherwise, I’m not really that head banger kind of guy, it’s not really me man. I’m gonna stick to what I know but I am gonna try and branch out and do different stuff as well. But that Dynamite tune is my favourite song right now… it’s crazy!

 

* This article was originally published at Flavour Magazine *

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Maz Meets Trey Songz

A ladies man, worldwide singing sensation and part time actor, ‘Trigga’ Trey has the world in his palm. His current fourth album Passion, Pain and Pleasure hasn’t stopped selling since its September release and I can’t wait to hear what his next LP will bring. I got the chance to speak to the US born heart-throb about his love for music and other inspirations…

Hey Trey, how are you? I’m good, girl. How are you?

Good! So, from the beginning, when did you realise singing was your destiny? I enjoyed singing from a very young age and I soon realised it was one of the only things that I was really good at. I started going to talent shows and then I hooked up with American producer, Troy Taylor, who was a friend of my mother’s. From there, music was all I ever wanted to do.

When I met Troy Taylor, I sang for him and he thought I had the talent it took to make it in the industry, he was impressed. From then, we worked consistently on getting my tracks perfect. I was fortunate enough to work with an amazing producer so early on in my career.

You are quite the ladies man. Are you single? I love women and I have been in serious relationships before, but for now I am single. I do put a lot of real emotions into my songs, as I gather emotion from the things that I’ve learnt from in my life and from things that I hear when I talk to my friends. I am really observant of other people’s situations and relationships that they have been in and this helps me put raw emotions into my lyrics.

What can we expect from your 5th LP? You can expect it to be all real and very musical. With every album I plan to grow, I grow as a person as well as musically. I also try to expand my audience. You know, I want to open them up to new sounds from myself. Every album I have released has been bigger than the last, so it’s been great to accomplish that.

You are touring the UK with Ne-Yo this year. Excited? I am very excited; he has such a raw talent.

You and Ne-Yo would sound amazing together. Any possibility of the two of you collaborating? Ne-Yo and I have always spoken about putting a record together; I can’t believe it hasn’t happened yet! It probably will be happening soon, so watch this space.

How do you like the UK? I’ve been to the UK a few times. I love it, it’s a beautiful place, and my fans show so much love. Their appreciation for the music and the live performances is great. I love the vibe!

We saw you in the 2010 film Preachers Kid. Will you be doing any more acting in the future? I love acting and it is something that I would definitely look forward to getting into. I am very excited about the opportunities that have come forth where acting is concerned. The thing is though, is I have a lot of things on my plate, right now touring is my focus and I want to ensure that I cover everywhere musically first. Music is my first love and always will be, so I wanna make sure I’m in the place that I wanna be before I get into any new ventures. Acting takes a lot out of you, you have to be focused so I want to make sure that when I go into that field that I am very focused.

Musically, what is coming up next for you? I have a few collaborations coming up, actually. I have done a duet with J Cole, who has been touring with Drake. So definitely look out for that, it’s hot. I am very excited about him as an artist; I think he is really dope. Outside of that, my single Love Faces is doing well in America. Another song that is starting to pick up is Unusual with Drake. We’ve worked together several times; he is an awesome artist. As far as collaborations are concerned I am willing to work with anybody that is talented and takes this thing seriously. I want to do a big duet, maybe for my next album, like a really big, strong R&B ballad duet, preferably with a powerful female singer.

Have you got anyone in mind? I reckon you and Alicia Keys would sound sick together. (Laughs) That would be GREAT! You never know…

You’ve worked with Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. The whole Young Money camp is really taking over the scene right now. How was that experience? It was great; they are all very talented. Drake and I have been working together for a long time, so that was nothing new. Every time we get together musically, it is magical.

For anyone who dreams of being in your shoes – What is your advice? Believe in yourself. There will be hardships and times when you want to give up, but if this is truly what you love, then you must never give up and work really hard at it.

This interview was conducted in March 2011 and was first published on NXG Magazine online.