Ro Spit and Campbell-Ewald “Sell Detroit”

November 25, 2009

RESIZEcampbell_large Young Jeezy made a single encouraging listeners to “put on” for their city, but Ro Spit has done so in literal terms. The sneaker boutique he co-owns, Burn Rubber, has gotten attention in lauded publications like COMPLEX magazine, and its gear is on the backs, feet and heads of national rap stars such as Mos Def, Big Sean and Clipse. “Renaissance State of Mind” (click here to listen/download), his Monica Blaire-assisted remake of Jay-Z’s hit single, has given Detroit Hip Hop fans a new self-love anthem. And along with showcasing his own talents, his new solo release The Oh S#!t Project (click here to download) serves as a who’s who of what Michigan Hip Hop has to offer. For a more detailed breakdown of Ro Spit’s career, click here to read MichiganHipHop Managing Editor William E. Ketchum III’s feature in Metro Times.

But in a contest sponsored by CNN (click here to vote), Ro has the opportunity to represent Detroit in a brand new way. Check under the cut to hear Ro briefly break down how he and ad agency Campbell-Ewald plan to infuse energy in the area’s art scene. Continue reading →

P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. Interview

November 18, 2009

P2daResize“Phenomenal Hip-Hop Individual Living Through His Years.”

The name says it all. P.H.I.L.T.H.Y, born name James Gardin, can fight the AIDS epidemic, lead Bible study, do a fashion shoot, create an awesome EP, and still have time to jump on stage for a performance before the day is done.

After the mixtape Young Black Hope Vol. 1 and the album Save Us All (Click Here to Buy on iTunes), the 24-year-old has released the EP Love Songs for Losers & Ballads for Ballers (Download and Listen Here), which showcases his talent for laying lucid lyrics over the touching soundbeds to make a universally appealing listen. And don’t let the EP title fool you; this project encases a diverse topic line-up, covering  awareness, love, respect and more.

The 24-year-old Lansing emcee knows how to keep balance in his life and in his music, making him admirable to fans, fellow hip-hoppers and strangers he meets in the streets. In the interview below, P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. lets in on the secret to how he became a phenom without losing himself in the process.

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Royce Da 5’9″ Breaks Down Songs From “Street Hop”

November 5, 2009

royce“It’s time for you to start comparing me to the greats now,” Royce Da 5’9″ said in his last interview with (click to read). “I  got a classic album on my hands, and I can do it on that level.” It’s been years since plans for the DJ Premier-executive produced Street Hop were announced, but after hold-ups from bootlegs, mixtape releases and supergroup formations, the disc finally hit stores on October 20.  Hailed as Royce’s best project to date, the album further certified Royce as one of the most formidable emcees in the industry. Under the cut, Nickel Nine gives insight to the creative process behind songs from his masterpiece.

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Mr. Porter Interview Part 3 – Checks And Balance

October 7, 2009

RESIZEdenaun-porterMr. Porter has compiled quite the discography for himself since Dr. Dre gave him his first check for a beat (click here). His catalog isn’t only admirable because of the heavyweight names that it includes, but because of its balance—multiplatinum-selling superstars like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg have found the Detroiter’s production just as valuable as area staples like Monica Blaire and Guilty Simpson have. Add that to Mr. Porter’s partnership with Open Labs, a company that makes music production equipment, and you may think twice the next time you say it’s impossible to be in several places at once. In the final part of his interview with MichiganHipHop, Mr. Porter talks about how he balances his many musical lanes, executive producing future projects by Pharaohe Monch and Royce Da 5’9”, and the prospect of new music from D12.

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Mr. Porter Interview Part 2 – Learning From Legends

September 30, 2009

RESIZEdenaun-porterAn old adage says that it takes a village to raise a child, and Detroit producer Mr. Porter has had a supporting cast that Hip Hop heads would die for. Legendary producer Dr. Dre, hometown hero and game-changing producer/emcee J Dilla, GOAT emcee candidate Eminem, and superstar/rap mogul 50 Cent have all lent their expertise to Porter, who is on his way to becoming a legend in his own right with his solid discography (Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Royce Da 5’9″) and budding business savvy (working with music equipment company Open Labs). In Part 2 of his interview with MichiganHipHop, Mr. Porter talks about selling his first beat to Dr. Dre, and recounts lessons learned from his Hip Hop mentors.

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Royce Da 5′9″ Addresses Slaughterhouse/Shady Records Rumors (Video)

September 29, 2009

[via MTV News]

F.O.K.U.S. R.A.D.I.O. Interview with Mae Day and DeNotes (Video)

September 24, 2009

Mr. Porter Interview Part 1 – Eminem and Friendship

September 23, 2009

RESIZEdenaun-porterWhile one may not expect it considering Eminem’s tumultuous upbringing, his friend/partner-in-tunes Denaun Porter seems to have a great relationship with his ‘rents. When explaining to MichiganHipHop why he operates the way he does, he’ll often say, “That’s how I was raised.” These days, Ms. Porter must be proud of her son: along with producing for his multi-platinum selling group D12, the Detroit native has become a go-to beatmaker for the likes of Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, and helps music equipment company Open Labs develop sounds and keyboards. But Mr. Porter doesn’t let his big business get in the way of him making his stamp on the indie scene with artists like Royce Da 5’9” and Pharaohe Monch, and a consistent A-list clientele didn’t stop him from helping upstart artists with a web site that licensed his beats for as low as $50.

MichiganHipHop’s conversation with Mr. Porter was so packed with information that we had to split it into three parts. In Part 1 of this series, Mr. Porter talks vividly about his bond with Eminem. Check under the cut for how he stands by Em’s side as a producer, workout partner, hype man (in lieu of fellow D12 member Proof’s death), and as a friend.

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De Notes Interview

September 16, 2009

RESIZEDeNotes - Dewitt Moore PicAn old colloquialism goes, “One monkey don’t stop no show.” And if it weren’t true, then DeWitt Moore’s career would’ve ended way too early. As The Sicknotes, he and Bryan “Pep” Johnson laced memorable singles for Obie Trice and D12 (“Cry Now” and “How Come,” respectively) and became some of the most sought-after producers in the state. They would also help boost the careers of Rashad Morgan, who would later sign a deal with T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records, and Robert “Magnum” Curry, who is a member of Diddy’s Making The Band group Day 26. But due to what he cites as business issues, Moore split from his longtime partner in 2008 to pursue a solo career.

With his new De Notes company and production team, Moore hasn’t lost a step. He’s retained the duo’s roster of artists and musicians, and added clients like Detroit staple Stretch Money and rap legend MC Lyte to his list of collaborators. The first official De Notes release, Mae Day’s Sade-inspired Cherish The Day mixtape (click here), has garnered national praise from fans and critical acclaim from the likes of The Source, iMeem, and more. Moore let MichiganHipHop sit in on a studio session and hear material from De Notes artists Mae Day, rapper J Cope, girl R&B trio Jaime Summers, and rap group DRG—and if the full, multi-layered samples we heard are consistent with what they release, listeners are in for a treat. In the interview below, Moore speaks about the Sicknotes split, what his team has to offer, and finding artists with the “it” factor.

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Detroit CYDI Interview

September 10, 2009

RESIZEDetroitCYDI-4What started in high school with simple rhymes on lunchroom table beats has turned into much more for rap trio Detroit CYDI. Comprised of Rufio Jones, Sean Uppercut and Illingsworth, these 20-somethings have been together for several years now and released their EP The Rhyming Dictionary on Christmas in 2008. Influenced by the 90’s hip-hop era, they bring a classic approach to modern times. The group opened up to MichiganHipHop about how they started, what they are all about and what they believe is missing in today’s rap/hip-hop music.

How did you all meet?
Illingsworth: Rufio and I met at the six-mile bus stop; and Rufio and Sean were in the same Renaissance class together. It wasn’t until we were going to lunch and doing lunchroom cyphers when things really popped off.

Rufio Jones: Well, we were The Illiance in high school, back in 1999/2000. Then that like split off and paired down into Detroit CYDI; we still work with everyone but we’ve been together for about 3 or 4 years. Continue reading →