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Bu Thiam's A&R Chronicles: Rihanna Wants An Album Like 'Thriller'

What’s up, this is Bu and I’ve linked up with VIBE.COM for a new blog series. I’m going to be chronicling my experiences and role as an A&R. I have big shoes to fill as the Vice President of Def Jam, and I want you all to take a walk with me on Vibe.com. I should start by letting you know a little more about what I actually do and then give y’all a little sneak peek of what I’ve been working on.

An important goal of an A&R is trying to find the next superstar! I don’t want to find the next Usher, Lady Gaga, or T-Pain. I’m looking for the next YOU! I work by the Oscar Wilde quote “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Literally, I keep the quote written on a post-it note on my desk. Anyways, once I find someone with a spark, I develop a concept and find hit records. I go to different producers and writers studios and listen to different beats and songs. I look for records that are going to bring the artist and the concept to life. I’m also developing the artists at the same time which just adds fuel to the fire, and when all those pieces connect, it makes magic.

I’m working with some of the hottest artists out right now—Jeezy, Rihanna and of course my labels own, Cyhi Da Prince. I have a close relationship with all the artists I work with. It’s important so that we can vibe and I can respectfully push them to and past their creative limits. When an artist is able to get out of their comfort zone they make incredible music. That’s why Jeezy and Rihanna’s upcoming albums are going to be out of here. With that being said, let’s get into it.

First to end all doubt, Jeezy’s fourth upcoming album, TM103, is about 95% done and I have to say it’s his biggest album conceptually and musically. People keep asking why it’s taking so long and it’s because we’re putting together a masterpiece. He’s in the studio everyday thinking of ways to make concepts, verses and beats better and really pushing himself to new heights. We did a lot of things outside of the norm this time. The producers and cameos are unexpected but at the same time they make perfect sense for the body of work. Don’t worry, though, we do still have the same producers that have produced classic Jeezy tracks. We already have one of the top five records on the Billboard charts, “Lose My Mind,” so everything is going according to plans. After it’s released people will appreciate the wait.

Rihanna is coming along incredibly. I’m trying to push her to where every song will be a hit from 1 to 12. I’m talking about NO album fillers. Our bar for this album is Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We got smashes from Stargate, Ester Dean, Mel & Mus and Rock City. We’re definitely going in with Ne-Yo, The-Dream and other writers and producers that have always been a part of her creative process since day one. She’s great to work with and very hands on with every song that’s being written and produced. She has visual concepts for just about every song. It’s already giving me the feel of a timeless album, and right now is her time.

Before I say too much, Peace, Until Next time.

 


 

Check VIBE.COM every Tuesday for Bu Thiam’s weekly blog series about his adventures in A&Ring

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Jerritt Clark

Meek Mill And Future Announce Tour With YG And Megan Thee Stallion

Meek Mill and Future are hitting the road this summer, and they're bringing along some talented guests for the ride.

The pair are reportedly gearing up to co-headline the Legendary Nights Tour featuring YG, DJ Mustard, and Megan Thee Stallion.

The tour will kick off on Aug. 28 at St. Louis' Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, hitting a total of 24 cities, including Chicago, Washington DC, and Atlanta. The Legendary Nights Tour will conclude on Oct. 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Fans will be able to purchase presale tickets through Citi and Tidal on Tuesday (June 18). The general public can buy tickets on Friday, June 21 at 10 a.m. on LiveNation.com.

Check out the full tour schedule below.

The Legendary Nights Tour:

Wed Aug 28, St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino, Amphitheatre

Fri Aug 30, Indianapolis, IN, Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center+

Sat Aug 3, Chicago, IL, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Sun Sep 01, Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre+

Tue Sep 03, Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center

Wed Sep 04, Cleveland, OH, Blossom Music Center

Fri Sep 06, Pittsburgh, PA, KeyBank Pavilion+

POST CONTINUES BELOW

Sun Sep 08, Boston, MA, Xfinity Center

Tue Sep 10, Hartford, CT, XFINITY Theatre

Wed Sep 11, Wantagh, NY, Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

Fri Sep 13, Philadelphia, PA, BB&T Pavilion

Sat Sep 14, Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Sun Sep 15, Buffalo, NY, Darien Lake Amphitheater

Tue Sep 17, Washington, DC, Jiffy Lube Live

Thu Sep 19, Raleigh, NC, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek

Fri Sep 20, Virginia Beach, VA, Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater*

Sun Sep 22, Atlanta, GA, Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood

Mon Sep 23, Tampa, FL, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

Tue Sep 24, West Palm Beach, FL, Coral Sky Amphitheatre

Fri Sep 27, Austin, TX, Austin360 Amphitheater+

Sun Sep 29, Houston, TX, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Tue Oct 01, Albuquerque, NM, Isleta Amphitheater

Thu Oct 03, Phoenix, AZ, Ak-Chin Pavilion

Sat Oct 05, Las Vegas, NV, Mandalay Bay Events Center+

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Alex Wong

Donald Trump Refuses To Apologize To The Exonerated Five

Despite Ava DuVernay's successful series, When They See Us – which tells the story of the Central Park Five case from the perspective of the now-grown men – Donald Trump still refuses to apologize for his 1989 call to execute the five teenagers.

"You have people on both sides of that," Trump told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday (June 18) when asked if he would apologize to the exonerated men. "They admitted their guilt."

The president also noted Linda Fairstein's part in the case, stating that she and others still believe the men are guilty. "If you look at Linda Fairstein and look at some of the prosecutors," he continued. "They think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that."

As previously reported, Trump took out an $85,000 ad in New York City newspapers in 1989 calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York following the arrest of five teens in connection to the rape of a white jogger in Central Park.

All five teens were convicted based on coerced confessions and little evidence. They were exonerated in 2002 due to DNA evidence, which proved their innocence, and testimony from the real rapist.

When They See Us renewed attention surrounding the case when it debuted in May 2019. The series touched on Trump's involvement, noting how he incited the community to turn against the five boys.

"The statements that he made and the ads that he took out, he took out two weeks after they were arrested, before their trial, calling for the deaths of the minors,” DuVernay told People of Trump's past actions.

Holy shit -- years after DNA evidence exonerated them, Trump suggests the Central Park 5 are guilty and refuses to apologize for saying they should be executed.

"You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt." pic.twitter.com/Tb8ENrBJ1I

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 18, 2019

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Michael Loccisano

Killer Mike Says Rappers Deserve Credit For Decriminalization Of Marijuana

As the country continues to work towards the decriminalization of marijuana, Killer Mike says that the hip-hop community should be credited for their part in the movement. During the "Free to State" panel discussion, which was held by The Washington Post on June 17, Killer Mike explained why rappers deserve some of the credit for decriminalizing the drug.

"We know that with national decriminalization of marijuana now, a lot of people are going to get credit for it—a lot of activists, a lot of workers," he stated. "But I can show you a line that leads straight back to Cypress Hill, that leads straight back to Snoop Dogg, that leads straight back to people like [the late R&B/funk guitarist] Rick James."

The Run the Jewels artist also noted that if hip-hop is not properly credited the stigmas and prejudices surrounding marijuana use will continue. "If it's not duly acknowledged publicly—if the media isn't pushing the line of that narrative, if the media isn't giving us that freedom, if the media treats rappers differently than they do country artists—then you're going to see a galvanization of what the prejudices that we already see," he continued.

See Killer Mike full stance on the subject in the video below.

 

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