Problem Talks 'Welcome To Hollywood,' Getting Start in Rap and More Problem Talks 'Welcome To Hollywood,' Getting Start in Rap and More
Problem Talks 'Welcome To Hollywood,' Getting Start in Rap and More

Problem Talks 'Welcome To Mollywood,' Getting Started in Rap and More

When an up-and-coming L.A. artist has writing credits with the likes of Snoop Dogg and E-40, their entrance onto the scene should almost be inevitable. Meet Problem, a 26-year-old out of Compton, who has finally gotten his chance to showcase his own talent, and plans to do it his own way. After years of sitting back and taking notes, the rapper, producer and engineer is ready to make his own waves with his recently released mixtape, “Welcome to Mollywood.”

VIBE: Is your name as apparent as it seems? Is it simply that your rhymes are a problem, or is there more to it than that?
Problem: I mean, it’s kind of a simpler meaning. I got that name from playing basketball. I got the name form one of my brothers, he was like “You givin’ dudes problems on the court,” and it just kind of stuck. I had the name for a while and when I started rapping, I figured 'Aye, this would be dope, I could play off of it a little bit.' [People have] been calling mine that before I was rapping. Yeah, it’s from sports; I’m a good guy, I’m not a mean person [laughs].

Hey, Problem sounds like you might have a problem with Problem.
Nah, I’m a problem to the industry. I’m trying to show something new, that’s all.

You have writing credits with major artists like Snoop Dogg, Jim Jones, E-40, etc. What finally made you decide to come out with your own music?
I had always wanted to, it was just about not having the proper backing and no having the real know-how as far as what to do as an artist. I took my writing thing as like a class. I got to watch great artists and superstars, and how they moved, recorded, acted in interviews, and I took things from it. I always told myself when I was ready that I would get out there and do it. Then Diamond Lane Music Group came along and really pushed the button on me. So now, here we go.

So how has the transition been? You say you picked up things from other artists as far as performing, who did you look to, and what inspired you from them?
Snoop Dogg was a big influence because he was one of the first people that really took a chance on me. H e gave me some money for what I was doing, and really just used to talk to me a lot like: “Don’t be nervous. We like you, so you’re good. You’re in,” “If we’re in the studio and you gotta take your clothes off to get that right sound out, do that,” “Walk like this.” He really used to talk to me and kind of groomed me. E-40 is the same way. I was recording with him and he told me that pronunciation is the key. You know, I just take any and every little thing I could get.

What were the difficulties with coming from behind-the-scenes and into your own?
Just the lack of knowledge on how to do it, what to do and who to talk to and things like that. The music really wasn’t the issue. It’s just about aligning yourself with the proper team and trusting people to do their job while you’re doing your job to the fullest.

Did that have anything to do with the end of the Universal deal and your coming to Diamond Lane: How did that happen?

Well I got the Universal deal off of a record I had called “I’m Fucked Up” a while ago and it was a two-single deal. I learned so much going through that process that I figured the only was to go would be independent. I can’t say it was difficult, I just didn’t know [the business], so that situation didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to turn out.

You mentioned in a previous interview that you didn’t want to be boxed in and that you wanted to be able to do “whatever the fuck you wanted to do.” How important is it to do what you want, and how do you plan to keep that control as you move forward?
The importance of being able to do what you want to do is that you feel that freedom in the music, man. That’s how people like Prince are created. That’s how people like Kanye are created. That’s the goal I want to get to. Nobody can tell me I can’t sing. Nobody can’t tell me that I can’t stop and play a flute [laughs]. Why? ‘Cause this is my music. Let me do what I want to do. That’s why we have options; if you don’t like it, that’s fine, maybe put in something else until I do something you do like. But I cannot be boxed in because I feel like music shouldn’t be. Ray Charles put out a country album for Christ’s sake! And why not? The only way to keep that is to have a strong team behind you that believes in you. That’s why Diamond Lane is perfect for me.

Coming from L.A., do you feel the pressure of legends like Snoop and Dre? Do you feel pressure to live up to those guys?
Not at all. I don’t wanna be the next them, I’m tryin’ to be the first me. And the fact that I can say I know them, and I;m blessed that I’ve gotten the chance to work with them, they’ve told me: “You got it. Just do you. Be the best you that you can be, and you gonna be alright.” I put more pressure on myself with helping to get this label to where it needs to be. That’s the only pressure I have. [The legends] already got their stuff set in stone, they forever on. I’m tryin’ to get me somewhere on that wall, you know what I’m saying? [Laughs]

With your only competition being yourself, how do you feel you’ve grown since you came into the game?
Because at first I thought I was competing with everybody else. I was paying too much attention to what everybody else is doing instead of what I was doing and what my team was doing. I learned how to not have the cockiness, but the confidence to understand that you were put here to do this. I was blessed with a talent man, and if I don’t use it, it’s my fault. So now I wake up everyday thinking, “I gotta get to the studio. I gotta do something.” I have to do something to progress daily, or there’s no point in having it.

Explain the title of your mixtape “Welcome to Mollywood.”
Mollywood became popular, but it was something I was doing for a minute. Instead of saying “I about to pop this,” my homies would ask me what I was doing and I would say “I’m about to go to Mollywood,” and they would just be laughing at me. So I had a promo run and when I came back, my CEO Fast Lane told me he was gonna let me do the mixtape I had been wanting to do. He said “But here’s the catch: you only got two weeks to get it done.” So I hopped in the studio, I’m doing my thing, and I’m like, “I have to call this Welcome to Mollywood.” The studio sessions were so turned up, everything was fun, it was like this big two-week party of music. That’s the vibe of the record, so that’s where it came from.

So you had to record a mixtape in two weeks. Did you have to sacrifice anything at all with having to do it so fast, or did you get the exact finished product that you wanted?
The crazy thing is we did so many records; I had the chance to pick through about 35 records, and we ended up putting 16 on there. I was very satisfied.

You recorded 35 songs in two weeks? Did you ever leave the studio?
Well I don’t like to leave the studio, there’s no point in that unless I’m with my kids or doing a show. I explained to everybody what I was fittin’ to do, though. And I engineer, so it’s no real time for me to get in there and do it because we don’t have to wait on anybody. Also, the producers in the squad, they’re amazing. So it’s not really that hard.

If someone never heard of Problem, which track on “Welcome to Mollywood” do you think would be the perfect introduction to Problem?
The first track you hear, “Welcome.” You’re getting the rhymes, you’re getting the full Diamond Lane swig, you know what I’m representing. I produced the track too. You’re getting everything, so that’s the best description of me.

Your single “T.O.” was produced by Mr. Rack City, DJ Mustard. How did you get up with him?
Well I’ve been knowing Mustard for a minute, seeing him around and seeing him grinding. He hit me and was like “Yo, I got a beat for you,” and I was like “Come through.” The beat was on, we was chilling, I’m smoking, they was bagging. I really don’t even know how we got the record done because there was so much joking and other activities goin’ on [laughs]. But when it was done, it came out crazy.

Do you think that the fun atmosphere under the two-week crunch contributed to you being so satisfied with the record?
Most definitely. I love being in the studio with other artists; I’m not really into emailing records and things like that. I want you to feel that everybody was in the room, going back and forth off of each other, trading ideas, You can tell on a record if somebody just sent it. I don’t like records that. Now I understand the scheduling thing, if you gotta move around, we gotta do what we gotta do. But if we’re in the same city, in a 20-mile radius, come on.

If there was anything else you could be doing besides music, what would it be?
Nothing. There’s nothing else. Anything else I do know how to do, I would get in trouble for. This is the only option; I’m tunnel vision with this. When you go options, that means your looking around thinking, “This not gonna work.” I’m going straight in.

Last question. What, in your opinion, is the greatest hip-hop album ever made?
I just had this conversation with somebody, it’s crazy. To me, remember this is to me, in my opinion, it was the second Eminem album, “The Marshall Mathers LP.” That’s my favorite, from top to bottom. I could not understand how this man made me wanna do all these crazy things I’ve never done in my life. His single was about a stalker, that’s crazy! That album to me, production-wise, he had everybody on it; Dre was all on it. He had the rock elements, the rap elements, the lyrics were crazy, he had the delivery, the cadences he rapped in. That’s my album right there. I just listened to it last week, all the way through.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

2 Chainz Highlights His Riches And Accomplishments On “Stay Woke Freestyle”

Rightfully so, it’s no secret that 2 Chainz’s levels of bragging can reach astronomical heights. But when he lays it on wax for listeners, it’s more of a motivational tool to get your own piece of the pie than another artist displaying their wealth.

On Monday (Jan. 21), the “Spend It” rapper released “Stay Woke Freestyle” to fanfare. The nearly three-minute song places the Atlanta native in a space of reflection while letting fans know that his season of rap domination is upon us.

He kicks it off: “I got a bag, I’m working/ Her bag, is Birkin/ My past, ain’t perfect/ I brag, on purpose.” Produced by Buddha Bless, the single begins with an interpolation of Ghost Town DJs’ “My Boo” hit and "Swag Surfin" by Fast Life Yungstaz. The flow is also reminiscent of what fans can expect from 2 Chainz, a topic that was recently brought into contention when Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” song and video supposedly took its cue from not only him, but also Soulja Boy.

In early 2018, 2 Chainz announced the forthcoming release of his next studio album, Rap Or Go To The League. Within the announcement, the Pretty Girls Like Trap Music artist said the project will speak to the racial climate of America today.

“With the height of racial tensions in America, felt I should do my part in explaining some of the brain washing formulas used in my community, this next album not only touches on those who did succeed thru entertainment but those who didn’t,” he said.

With the height of racial tensions in America, felt I should do my part in explaining some of the brain washing formulas used in my community , this next album not only touches on those who did succeed thru entertainment but those who didn't ! Welcome to Rap or Go TO THE LEAGUE ! pic.twitter.com/F1BRPL3mRR

— Tity Boi (2 Chainz) (@2chainz) February 17, 2018

Spin the melody below.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

French Authorities Reportedly Investigating Rape Claim Against Chris Brown

French authorities are reportedly investigating Chris Brown after a woman allegedly accused the R&B singer of rape. According to the French tabloid, Closer, a 24-year-old woman claims that Brown raped her in his hotel room.

The unidentified woman alleges that she met Brown at a Parisian night club in rue de Ponthieu, near the Champs-Elysées, on the night of Jan. 15 into Jan. 16, before heading back to his room at the La Mandarin Oriental. The woman also accused Brown’s bodyguard of abuse, Closer reports.

Brown was recently spotted taking in the festivities of Paris Fashion Week, and smooching rumored flame, Ammika Harris. The “Undecided” singer shared video from dance rehearsal in the French city over the weekend. He has not commented on the reported rape allegation.

Brown is currently embroiled in a separate civil lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by Brown's friend, Lowell Grissom, during a party at the Grammy winner's home last year. Brown requested that the lawsuit be dismissed.

“For the last 10 years anybody who comes at him should know they're going to meet the full force of my firm,” the Virginia native's lawyer, Mark Geragos, warned in an interview last year.

The woman has since filed court documents on Jan. 7, asking a judge to block Brown’s request that she give up phone and text records citing privacy concerns. According to The Blast, the woman asserts that she already turned over hundreds of documents, including text messages, emails and medical records.

 

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Spotify Testing Feature That Allows Users To Mute Certain Artists

Spotify users will be able to mute certain artists, for their listening pleasure. The streaming company introduced a “don’t play this artist feature” as apart of a new IOS app update, according to Thurrott, which got its hands on an early version of the feature.

The block button allows listeners to banish specific artists from their personal music libraries, and stops them from popping up in automatically curated playlists, and other pages on the music streaming app. In order to utilize the mute feature, users clicks on the menu above an artists’s page and selects the “don’t play” option. The feature doesn’t work for songs that the artist may be featured on, the Verge reports.

The update could be a middle ground for Spotify as it faces increased pressure in wake of the #MuteRKelly movement, and Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly  documentary. A Change.org petition calling for Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube to remove R. Kelly’s music from its services is close to garnering 150,000 signatures.

Last year, Spotify briefly removed Kelly, XXXTentacion and T-Kay (a Texas rapper convicted of murder) from featured playlists due to the company's hateful conduct policy. “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values,” the company explained in statement to Billboard last May. “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."

Spotify abandoned the plan after pushback from fans of the artists singled out, and industry heavyweights like Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith, whose label imprint is home to Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolBoy Q and more.

Tiffith reached out to Troy Carter, Spotify’s global head of creator services, and threatened to remove his artists’ music from the streaming service. “I don't think it's right for artists to be censored, especially in our culture,” Tiffith told Billboard. “How did they just pick those [artists] out? How come they didn't pick out any others from any other genres or any other different cultures? There [are] so many other artists that have different things going on, and they could've picked anybody. But it seems to me that they're constantly picking on hip-hop culture."

Continue Reading

Top Stories