A Sit Down With Premo Rice

Typically when I do an interview, I try to do it in a place that seems to be tailormade for the occasion. Whether it’s a studio, stage or an office space, it always seems to work out.

However this time around, I felt like I needed to switch things up a bit and figuring that I was about meet with an artist who goes against the grain, it was the perfect time. This gave me an excuse to break my diet, and hit one of my favorite burger spots on the east coast. I’ll leave it up to you all to figure out which place that is.

Just recently, I had a chance to sit down and eat with one of the most groovy, hip-hop artist around right now, Premo Rice. Since I review music for a living, I’m always looking for new artists and songs to check out. Since my friends know this, my inbox is constantly full with new music suggestions.

One day, as I was scrolling through my messages, I saw this track that my buddy Grayson sent to me. I trust Grayson’s taste, so I clicked on it and right away, this hard- hitting bass line begins to blast through my speakers. I was so stunned by it’s sheer smoothness that I had to start it over right away.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that Premo has a phenomenal ability to create a vibe. You can hear a high influence of 1970s R&B in his discography, especially in reference to the song titled, “Player’s Anthem 2018.” Premo’s flow fits the track like a glove. He approaches his pieces with an evident sense of control and command. Rhythmically, he is completely unorthodox and doesn’t follow the standard vocal pattern that you may expect.

“When I was younger, I used to play percussion, and I was like nice,” Premo told me. I was not surprised at all, as his rhythmic control had already seemed to be trained and easily executed.

Premo and I began to speak about performing live, as we had both just recently come off headlining our own shows. He recently performed to a packed house in Memphis, as he let me know his fan base is heavy in the south.

When asked, “What is the key to accumulating a dedicated fan base besides obviously creating good music?,” he asserted that keeping a healthy and steady relationship with his listeners is always key. He also said that a lot of people get distracted by trying to be too separated from their “fans.”

Premo’s intelligence was evident during our discussions as we delved into a bevy of topics including: writing, the importance of studying your craft, and obviously, music.

Be sure to check out our full video discussion in the upcoming weeks! You can follow Premo on Social media @premorice.

Take Me Back To Astroworld: Travis Scott Show Review

As a young kid, I was never very picky about things. Tuna sandwich for lunch? Cool. Heading to the park today? Great! We’re going to Disney World? Awesome! I was pretty much a go with the flow kind of guy— easy to satisfy and hard to disappoint.

Nowadays, I wish I could say the same, but after a recent experience, I know that it isn’t going to be easy.

I’ve been listening to Travis Scott for quite some time now. My opinions about him and his music have differed over the years, but his last two solo projects have impressed me. He has truly showed his artistic and creative abilities. His use of voice variations, vocal effects, and sudden production changes all lead to this one of a kind sound that people have grown to yearn for.

Because of these things, Travis has gained mega star status, and has consistently drawn large audiences to his live performances. Many people in my circle have attended his concerts over the years have all described them as crazy, fun and full of energy. However, that pretty much describes any situation where you would have tens of thousands of millennials in one place. Nonetheless, I decided to see for myself.

Travis Scott’s Astroworld Tour kicked off right here in downtown Baltimore on November 8, 2018. One of my friends, Kendall, had four tickets to the show, and I was one of those of lucky four!

I didn’t know how much of a ride we would be in for. As we walked into the arena there wasn’t an immense amount of energy in the air. People seemed “relaxed” and ready for a good show.

The most adrenaline-rushing thing I saw on the way to my seat was a guy who almost dropped his popcorn and caught it before it hit the ground— it was quite the catch.

After a slew of popular opening acts such as: “Sheck Wes,” “Trippie Redd,” and “Gunna,” everyone in the crowd was ready for the main event. As soon as the lights went back down, everyone in the arena stood up and this very colorful but almost dark video with a very psychedelic feel began to play, as the audience was introduced to Astroworld. In the video, were several references to both Travis and the theme park and as everyone’s attention was focused on the screen— BANG on an entirely different stage at the opposite side of the arena, Travis pops up out of the ground.

Ticket holders with standing room on the floor all simultaneously ran to the other side of the arena. It was quite the spectacle.

While watching this incredibly intense performance, I noticed a large “coaster looking” object behind Travis. Before I could even blink, Travis began to walk over to it and you wouldn’t believe that it was a “miniature” upside down roller coaster.

Travis started performing while literally going upside down, riding it during one of his songs. He even let a fan get on and ride it too. The amusement park theme was in full effect.

After that, Travis disappeared for just about a minute. Where did he go, we all wondered— and BOOM there he was on the other stage in the arena. Once again, people ran towards that side of the arena. The crowd was in a frenzy and, at this point, I officially declared this to be to be the most exciting concert I had ever attended— and still it wasn’t over yet!

An even bigger roller coaster hovered over everyone, then dropped down from the ceiling and Travis strapped himself up and rode it above both stages, all while still performing!

There was never a stop in action and during the more “chill” songs a simulated skyline of Houston was shown on the circular screen going around the arena.

After all of this, all I can say is…. take me back to Astroworld!

Live Performance Of Wale & Friends

If you’ve ever been to a live performance, you know that the show itself is only half of the affair. There are many opportunities for you to get excited.

First, you find out the artist is coming to a town near you. You call up your friends, check your schedule, and do everything in your power to make sure you’ll be at the show.

Fast-forward and you’ve bought your tickets and now you’re intently listening to their latest album so you will be able to sing-a-long— well, at least I do. You are finally in the car, on the way to the venue and it’s getting more and more real by the second. Well, I recently had this very same experience!

I was in the middle of perusing through Instagram, as I do daily and I saw the usual jokes, motivational quotes and memes. Then all of a sudden, I came across a post that read: “Does anyone want tickets to the Wale show tonight?” Well yes, as a matter of fact of I do.

It was about 10 a.m. the morning of the show and I took a chance. I purchased two tickets, which turned out to be floor seats!

Now, this is where things started to get crazy. Knowing that I only had one extra ticket, I thought finding one person to go along would be a breeze. Wow, was I wrong! I made a record breaking 26 phone calls before I finally found oneof my close friends, Justin who was down for the ride.

The ticket said start time was 6:30 p.m. but from personal experience, it really meant the show would more likely start arount 8 p.m.

Once we arrived and parked the car, you could feel the enthusiasm in the air. South D.C. was in full-fledged party mode. Men were doing backflips in the street, red carpet photos were being taken, and security was plentiful.

Believe it or not, the security seemed to be just as joyous if not more so than some of the concertgoers. The vibe was stirring outside and easily trickled into the venue. Being that the show was held in D.C., there was this indescribable feeling of culture in the air. People were very responding to the DJs on stage and plenty of dancing was taking place.

One of the standout performances of the night was 27-year-old, D.C. native, Ari Lennox. She performed some of her fan favorites such as: Whipped Cream and Backseat. She had complete command of the stage. She used her sheer vocal range and soulful cadence to captivate those in the arena.

I was impressed by her capability to keep her energy up-tempo, even though some of her songs might be categorized as “down tempo.” She even kept the crowd engaged with a few jokes and keen storytelling. Ari’s set was quite entertaining.

Shortly after Ari’s set, Wale, the man of the hour took the stage. First and foremost, let me say that Wale’s band was immensely gifted. Their set up of percussion, drums and bass opened up the door for a full and rich gogo sound. This twist on Wale’s set made for an exciting event. The audience was already biting their fingernails for Wale to hit the stage, so for him and his band to execute the way they did, it seemed to fulfill a lot of suspense.

Overall, the entire experience was one that I think many people would have enjoyed and for the people actually got to experienced it, I hope they were well entertained. If you haven’t been to a live performance in recent time, I recommend you plan one in the near future— the rush is always exuberating!

Music Review: Kay L.A. – Wave

When it comes to rating musical projects, one of the most important points that I hone in on, is the project’s fluidity. Yes, a few good songs here and there can be nice by themselves, but do they really fit the vibe and/or message that the artist is attempting to communicate? We may all have heard of the cliche, “a first impression is a lasting impression,” and for 21 year-old Baltimore native, Kay L.A., her opening track “Wave” speaks volumes about her debut project titled: Summer in LA.

Wave was my first encounter with Kay L.A. as an artist, just as it was for many others who gave this five-song project a listen. I was anxious to hit the play button, as I wondered what I would be getting myself into for the next three minutes and 20 seconds of my life.

When the piece began, I was instantly drawn in by a suspenseful aura being built through the instrumentation. As I expected, the aura quickly took a turn, and yes, it was a turn for the better. A female vocal sample is looped very cleanly over the equally smooth percussion/bass. Kay begins to adlib a bit, giving the listener a glimpse of how real this is becoming, No longer do we wait and wonder what is the sound of Kay L.A.— here it is.

Before I could dissect the musicality of Kay’s voice, what truly stood out to me was her sheer confidence. She was never rushed, never hesitant, never unsure. Kay truly owned the moment.

I’ve listened to songs from new artists, and sometimes their voice is great, and the track is nice as well, but they’ll be missing that command over the song, which makes every bit of a difference in the listening experience.

Kay’s voice slides in quite provocatively and enticing to say the least. There is an underlining tranquility and “matter of factness” to what she is telling to her lover throughout the piece. Kay expresses that she has been the best relationship partner that he has ever had, and along with that, she would do just about anything for him, even if it wasn’t in her best interest. Her partner on the song, Andre Flores compliments Kay’s style very nicely. His aggressive and straightforward approach smoothly juxtaposes Kay’s laid back feel. I thought it was an interesting decision to have a feature on her opening track, but it worked in her favor.

Among all of the creativity going on, from a technical standpoint, the engineering of the piece was superbly done. At times with new artists, one of the roadblocks that seems pop up on the road to a good sound, is the actual quality of the sound itself. Everything from the volume to the reverb to the equalization was superb. The engineering gives this song an extra boost and takes it from just a good song, to a professional sounding song.

This opening song was a great choice for the start of her project, and an even better choice for the start of her career. Kay’s project is currently available on Soundcloud, but will be available on other streaming platforms in the future.

I’m looking forward to Kay’s progression and growth as an artist. Keep on surfing!

Ch4n’s 3:04 AM Creative And Purposeful

Art— well art can be tricky. We’ve all been in a situation at one time or other, where we are listening to the latest popular song or checking out the new trendy design that everyone is going crazy about and said to ourselves, “I don’t know why people like this.”

The line between what art is or isn’t can be blurry and difficult to establish at times. Art is very subjective. Nonetheless, while I was listening to “Paradise Tape,” a five song extended play (EP) by Baltimore artist Ch4n, I experienced both sides of the shaky fence. My range of opinions were mostly formed in regards to Paradise Tape’s opening track, titled: 3:04 AM.

Before we proceed to analyze the trees, let’s take a look at the forest. For the 23 minutes and some change, the duration of this project, Ch4n does a great job of keeping the feeling of “paradise” alive. Mykst Ansestree (pronounced mixed ancestry) produced this project with a conscious feel and sense of minimalism. This minimalist approach fits the tranquil and serene environment that Ch4n was able to create.

Before I was able to fully appreciate this body of work, I had to start from track one, “3:04 AM.” The intro to this piece provides 30 seconds of soothing water waves, accompanied by what seems to be someone playing a Rhodes piano. I genuinely thought this track was going to be an instrumental interlude with a variety of subtle and ambient sounds. However, a few moments later, the track takes a significant pause, and a vocal sample boastfully follows. Then, there is the sound of a snap, as Ch4n undergoes his melodic quest shortly after.

My ears were not satisfied with Ch4n’s vocal approach on the first go around. I found them to be uninspired, lagging and void of musicality but looking back now, I realized that I completely misconstrued the story and the unique approach that Ch4n was conveying there. For goodness sakes, the song was taking place on an island, during the wee hours of the morning! What was wrong with me? Ch4n’s style was more than creative— it was purposeful.

He was not just giving us a performance musically he was taking on the entire storyline and role of the song’s landscape. Everything about Ch4n’s artistic approach was calculated to the last decimal. His longest held notes were beautiful and stretched out just like a yawn after a relaxing nap. The “snap” we heard was symbolic of Ch4n waking up and getting his bearings. Ch4n’s lyrics were also straight to the point and relatable.

The first line, “No I can’t pick up the phone, I’ll call you later.” I’m sure many of us know that feeling during vacation. I was very impressed by this opening track. It plays a distinct part in the sculpting of Paradise Tape. This is a great listen for anyone in need of something to kick back to.

Ch4n said to me, “I’m in love with music. One day, I plan on running away with her.” Well, keep treating her with this kind of attention and detail, and she’ll gladly run away with you.