Flo Rida Talks Success of ‘Wild Ones’ and Shares the Wildest Thing He’s Ever Done

Flo Rida lit up New York City last night at Windows’ and HP’s ARTIST #TALK alongside famed blogger and music expert, Arjan Writes.

Relaxing on set overlooking lower Manhattan, Flo Rida opened up to the audience about his upbringing in Miami’s Carol City, and the importance of charity in his life, which was inspired by What’s Happening’s Fred “Re-Run” Berry.

“My charity, "Big Dreams" for Kids, was inspired by those who came to my neighborhood,” he said to the audience. “I wanted to show the kids if I can do it and I’m from here, you can too.”

Flo also made time to run through each of the nine tracks on his fourth studio album Wild Ones, offering commentary and unique tidbits. The rapper cited Michael Jackson’s Thiller as key influence this time around for limiting the album to under ten tracks. Wrapping up the conversation, he shared exclusively with the audience that 50 Cent is set to appear on the official single of the Rico Love-produced track, “Thinking of You.” The collaboration wasn't completed in time to make final album cut.

Ending the night the best way he knows how, Flo Rida slipped into his party animal mood, popping bottles with all in attendance. With champagne in hand, he sent a few suds over the penthouse balcony so all could share in the luxuriant fun down below.

VIBE had the opportunity to catch up with Flo Rida before the night’s festivities began to discuss the success of Wild Ones, feel good music, and the wildest thing he’s ever done.

VIBE: Your latest album, Wild Ones is debuting at No. 14 this week, with 31, 000 units sold. Do you expect the album to continue to rise up the charts?

FLO RIDA:Most definitely. The records on the album, so far with the couple of singles we put out, it’s definitely been a mega success. As get the chance to get more into the rest of the singles, I’m definitely looking forward to the album moving up the charts even more.

What do you feel you did differently on this album this time around that you haven’t done before?

Just with the experience alone, being influenced by all the different club scenes, the people I’ve worked with, as far as producers and everything. They’re at the top of the Richter scale when it comes down to being hot producers, alongside my A&R staff and everything. It was a lot of sleepless nights, but we came up with an album I really appreciate with a lot of people who’d give me their true opinion.

You make a lot of feel good records (Wild Ones, Good Feeling, etc.). Would you say that’s a reflection on your life right now?

Definitely. It’s definitely wild. Just to be able to go out and perform in front of crowds of 50 thousand to 100 thousand people and you definitely want to leave them with a memory they’ll never forget, so I do of wild things on stage.

Check out page 2 for the rest of the interview.

So, I’ve heard you’re a wild one, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for fun?

Go sky diving. Actually in the last video for “Wild Ones,” I go sky diving in Dubai. It was something I told myself I’d never do, but I did it and it was amazing.

Were you scared?

I was definitely scared, but once you get up there, there’s no turning around.

While a majority of your music frequents in the pop/dance medium, are you concerned with losing your core hip-hop audience who’s been rocking with you since “Low”?

Not at all. For the most part, my thing is to make music that I love. At the time, majority of the people---I get calls from little kids to older adults who definitely appreciate my music. They tell me how positive it is. I go on Twitter and I get a lot of positive feedback. I love music so I’m always willing to go outside of the branding. I don’t stick myself in one box.

For those who have yet to pick up Wild Ones, what are they missing out on?

Well, if you’re talking about how you’re the life of the party. I’m definitely your match. This album has definitely been energetic, but at the same time, it has its transitions with “Thinking of You” which is more slow paced. It’s definitely well-rounded, and thought about. I’m a really big fan of the Thiller album which had nine records on there. Completing this album I made sure that every record gets you going in some way.

What’s next for Flo Rida in the near future?

Touring, inside and out of the country. I have my record label, I.M.G., International Music Group, where I have an artist by the name of Tyler Medeiros, who’s from Canada. I’m looking forward to kicking his career soon, as well as a hip-hop act by the same of Wild Child.

If you could look back to the moment when your career kicked off, would be able to say you knew you’d be where you are now?

Not at all, but I definitely knew it’d be a success, just because anything I attach myself to. I work hard.

Photo Credit: ArjanWrites

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A NYPD Cop Falsely Arrested A Black Man Lied On The Paperwork, But Still Has His Job

A New York police officer has faced no punishment for falsely arresting a black man and lying on his police report about what a witness statement.

In June 2016, officer Xavier Gonzalez arrested investment adviser Darryl Williams at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station. Gonzalez alleged Williams, 58 at the time, pickpocketed straphangers on a 4 train.

Gonzalez was undercover at the time and wrote in his report that Anthony Osei, who was also on a northbound 4 train, said Williams stole his phone. However, Osei, a paint shop clerk, told the New York Daily News Gonzalez lied.

When Willaims sued the city and the NYPD over the arrest, Osei, swore in an affidavit, reviewed by The Daily News, he didn't tell officers Williams stole his phone.

“A cop came up to me and said, ‘Did he take your phone?' I said, ‘No, I have my phones and wallet.’ Two weeks later, I get a call from the prosecutor. I told them the same thing."

In court, Osei testified on Williams' behalf stating "I defended him (Williams) because it was the right thing to do.”

Williams worked at the Sanitation Department for nearly two decades when he was arrested. He had private clients and his financial license was suspended for two months. He spent $1,500.

There's a process called “arrest overtime” in which an arrest made toward the end of a cop's shift helps bolster his or her overtime pay. It's a beloved practice that drives up a cop's pension.

“I have no trust in cops anymore,” said Williams, 60, now retired. “He’s putting perfectly innocent people in handcuffs. People who don’t have the resources I have, they could go to jail for something they didn’t do."

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'The Chi' Recap: Ep. 3 Shows The Effects Of Childhoods Being Stolen By Adults

A child can die and still grow up. A child can die from growing up. In The Chi, where humanity is hustled and children face their mortality, childhood is a luxury few are lucky enough to keep let alone enjoy. Adults traffic in stolen youths, trading in childhoods that never belonged to them. Some use them to make their lives easier, others use them to advance their careers, but they all snatch away the childhoods of young black boys and girls in order for them to navigate adulthood better.

On the insidious side, Ronnie’s lawyer Kimberly Hendricks (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) uses Kevin’s youth to both intimidate and discredit the only eye witness to Ronnie’s murder of Coogie Johnson in Season One. She orchestrates this by employing a white man with a purported history of dealing with black youths testifying in court to tell Kevin’s family about the untold dangers that can arise from his testimony against Ronnie in the courthouse. All the while, Hendricks sits nearby surveying the scene of her own making, knowing the preservation of Kevin’s precious youth would be his mothers’ first thoughts when hearing of these “consequences” and force them to not have Kevin testify.

Not too long after that, Hendricks calls into question the validity of the 12-year-old eyewitness account, since she claims the accounts of adults are typically unreliable and Kevin having experienced trauma from shooting Ronnie makes his account even more shaky. Soon after, we find out Hendricks’ motive for using Kevin’s young age to get a murderer out of jail is not based in some warped view of justice, but instead in her desire to advance her own law career by making partner at her law firm.

The Chi drives home the severity of what Hendricks’ actions could do to the future of a child like Kevin. Before Kevin and his family are intimidated by Hendricks’ flunkie in the courthouse, Kevin mentions how some of his knowledge of the criminal justice system comes from long-running TV drama Law & Order. Mere seconds later, a young black boy, who looks no older than Kevin, is escorted in handcuffs by police officers while wearing grey prison garbs. This idea of adults snatching away black boys’ youth through the legal system is an all too common reality in a city such as Chicago, where judges go against local ordinances banning the detention of children under 12 years of age at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Beyond Chicago, adults within the American legal system have had transactional relationships with black youths. Between 2000-2007, judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania received financial compensation from the owners of juvenile detention centers for filling their detention centers with young offenders through excessive sentencing for minor infractions. The ordeal is referred to as the “kids for cash” scandal, a title that could easily be the name of an episode of The Chi.

But, just like in episode two, where Jerrika appeared to sell out of her blackness for the advancement of her career, nothing is ever clearly good or bad in The Chi. In one of the more heartbreaking scenes in the early part of the season, Kevin discovers his classmate Maisha (Genesis Denise Hale) hasn’t been coming to school because she has to watch her siblings while her mother works. Her mother is robbing her daughter of a traditional childhood by having her assume parental roles over her siblings versus focusing on school. As Kevin sits in her living room surrounded by her siblings and their toys, Maisha’s usual calm but condescending demeanor is replaced with irritable fatigue. You can see her face struggle to contort into a smile when joking with Kevin.

Neither Maisha nor Kevin make any mention of Maisha’s father, so it’s safe to assume she lives in a one-parent household, like more than 11 million other American households, according to 2016 Census data. Of those more than 11 million households, more than 80 percent of them are headed by mothers. Those same mothers have to spend upwards of 70 percent of their annual income on child care. Without Maisha sacrificing a piece of her childhood, her siblings may not have one of their own.

When Maisha somberly asks Kevin if she’ll see him tomorrow after school—she’d asked him to bring her each day’s homework—the look in her eyes is one crying out for a connection to her peers’ leisurely, carefree lives. That’s what people see when they look at him: the purity of childhood. It’s the reason why Jake wouldn’t let Kevin be part of his illegal candy resale scheme in episode two. So much of The Chi involves making sure this one black boy doesn’t get swallowed by the streets.

Despondent themes aside, the episode is not without its silver lining. There is a humorous side to children growing up too quickly in The Chi. Papa, Kevin’s best friend and the most mature kid in the show, participates in the school’s candy drive in order to win a flat screen TV for his man cave. But instead of a “man cave,” he calls it a “Papa cave.” Humorous displays of otherwise depressing topics, such as black youths growing up much faster than they should, gives The Chi’s commentary a bit more realism, showing that there’s good in the bad, and vice versa.

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Prince's Memoir Set To Be Released Fall 2019

In October 2019, Prince's memoir will be available for purchase, titled "The Beautiful Ones." According to the Associated Press, the 288-page book will be divided into four sections. Readers will learn about the "When Doves Cry" artist's childhood, journey into music, and an intimate look at how the Minneapolis native established the iconic status of "Purple Rain."

"The Beautiful Ones" will present "a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him," a brief synopsis of the passage states, per publisher Penguin Random House. Another part of the book will display "candid photos" that'll showcase a timeline of Prince's rise to stardom.

The Prince Estate is thrilled to announce that on October 29, 2019, @RandomHouse will be publishing THE BEAUTIFUL ONES by Prince, the American artistic visionary—singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actor and filmmaker. Available for preorder now. https://t.co/gEqMEdYoEa pic.twitter.com/RJtK9fowH8

— Prince (@prince) April 22, 2019

Described as a "deeply personal account," the publishing company also noted that the memoir will touch on Prince's death in 2016. The organization described that time as a moment when the award-winning artist "was thinking deeply about how to reveal more of himself and his ideas to the world, while retaining the mystery and mystique he'd so carefully cultivated." At age 57, Prince passed away from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

The book will be released on Oct. 29.

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