vibe-ro-james

Ro James Discusses Upcoming EP And Working With Miguel

Tattoos, note-worthy resume, D'Angelo comparisons and a bad-boy persona. All seem to be the formula for another R&B commodore but with Ro James, it's just different.

For starters, in between serenading the crowd with singles such as "Adidas" and "Pledge Allegiance" at New York's Canal Room in March, Ro takes a few swigs from a Jack Daniels Bottle. A native New Yorker, the singer birthed as Ronnie James said he began his music career like most great singers: in church.

With his father a preachy pastor, James said he would be forced to sing the gospel. “He always tried to make us sing and I would hate it,” he recalls.

Drawing inspiration from Donny Hathaway to Johnny Cash, James’ sound breaks genre barriers, describing his own sound as "rock n’ soul." His biggest inspiration, though, is Prince. “He wasn’t afraid and he didn’t have a lot of boundaries," Ro said. "He did what he wanted to do and he built a lane for himself, combining a lot of things.”

The admiration for the "Purple Rain" singer is also common ground Ro shares with another R&B rebel, Miguel. Ro's pen game landed him a by-line on Mig's sophomore effort Kaleidoscope Dream, co-writing the sensual tracks “Use Me” with the “Do You.” The writing process didn’t intimidate James because he says they’re close bros.

“Wow,” Ro began when asked how he and Miguel met. It began on MySpace where Miguel expressed interest one of his songs in one of James’ songs and one of his friends named Kesh. “He hit me up like, ‘Yo, I like your music. So tell me more about Kesh’ and from that we just connected and grew,” James said.

While scribing “Use Me,” Ro said he learned to be free in his writing and became a fan organically. “I grew to love his music and he loved mine. We just stayed in contact until where we’re at now.”

Now, James is readying his EP Coke, Jack & Cadillacs, a three-part album that portrays Coke as a woman, Jack [Daniels] as himself (“smooth but it’s rugged at the same time”) and Cadillacs hosting “music that you can just ride out to.”

The project tells the story of James’ first love at 19 and how coming together eventually tore them apart. “Every thing, every song is about something that actually happened,” James said. “I drew inspiration from my own life and the things that I’ve been through.”

With a musical bomb of genres, James wants listeners to “love again" with his EP.

"I want them to feel the soul, the emotion and the honesty," he said. “I’m just ready to share.”

Photo Credit: Finallybrave

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty

Nicki Minaj, Tracy Chapman Fail To Reach Settlement In Copyright Lawsuit: Report

Tracy Chapman’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Nicki Minaj is moving forward after the two reportedly failed to reach an agreement during a recent court-ordered mediation.

Chapman is accusing Minaj of unlawfully sampling her song “Baby Can I Hold You” for the track “Sorry.” Minaj reportedly confirmed in court documents that the song never made it to her album because Chapman didn't approve the sample, The Blast reports.

According to the website, the battling sides “couldn’t reach a settlement,” and an agreement is not “imminent.”

Chapman sued Minaj in the fall of 2018. Months earlier, Minaj revealed that Queen's release date hinged on Chapman. “So there’s a record on #Queen that features 1of the greatest rappers of all time,” she tweeted at the time. “Had no clue it sampled the legend #TracyChapman - do I keep my date & lose the record? Or do I lose the record & keep my date?” Minaj also pleaded for Chapman to get in contact with her.

“Sorry” was never officially released, although  Minaj is accused of leaking the song to Funkmaster Flex who debuted it on his radio show.

The "Megatron" rapper denies committing copyright infringement, and reportedly claimed fair use as her defense. Minaj also allegedly argued that Chapman doesn’t even own the copyright, and is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

Continue Reading
Kevin Winter

Iggy Azalea Calls T.I. A “Misogynist” For Saying She Tarnished His Legacy

T.I.'s apparent moment of candor didn't sit well with Iggy Azalea. The Aussie called her former Grand Hustle boss a “huge misogynists” in response to him saying that she stained his legacy.

“Imagine thinking I was his biggest blunder lmaoooooooooooooo. Tip. Sweetie. We have a whole list for you,” she reportedly wrote in a series of tweets that were later deleted.

“The tea I could spill on what bulls**t this is but at the end of the day I think people can see it’s clear he’s salty,” she continued. “He’s a huge misogynist and has never been able to have a conversation with any woman in which he doesn’t speak like a fortune cookie.”

Earlier in the week, T.I. told The Root  that he was “actively looking for another female rapper who can undo the blunder of Iggy Azalea.”

“That is the tarnish of my legacy as far as [being] a [music] executive is concerned," said the Atlanta native. “To me, this is like when Michael Jordan went to play baseball.”

Azalea signed to Grand Hustle in 2011, but severed ties with the imprint around 2015. In 2017, Azalea left Def Jam for neighboring Island Records, before going independent. The “Sally Walker” rapper released her sophomore studio album, In My Defense, over the summer.

Continue Reading
Frazer Harrison

Wale Says Record Deals Should Include Mental Health Assistance

Mental health is an issue that record labels should be prioritizing, as Wale explained in an interview with TMZ Live on Friday (Oct. 11). The DMV rapper, who has been open about batting anxiety and depression, and released his Wow That’s Crazy album, during Mental Health Awareness Week, says signing a record deal should come with mental health assistance.

“People live their life for this, and lose their life because of it,” Wale said while discussing the perils of fame. “All of your failures are magnified by 100 because everybody’s watching you.”

The Grammy-nominated recording artist thinks labels should pay for mental health treatment, or have someone on deck to help artists unpack what they’re going through. “Artists generate so much revenue, that’s the least they [labels] can do.”

Wale also noted the difficulty of living life under a microscope, and how coming into money at a young age can be traumatic. “There needs to be a relationship between the mental health agenda and entertainers,” he reiterated. “It doesn’t have to be mandatory but I definitely think they [record labels] should help.”

Watch the full interview below.

Continue Reading

Top Stories