Exclusive: The White Panda Dishes Up 'Bearly Legal', The EDM-Rap Mashup Divide

Mashup murderers, The White Panda, dropped their fifth full-length album, Bearly Legal, this week (June 10) for the “smash-up” price of FREE (as the albums are). The Chi-Town duo—made up of Procrast (Tom Evans) and DJ Griffi (Dan Griffith)—are known to mix and mash their way across the States alongside hip-hop elite, such as Wale and Mac Miller, also joining electronic stars like Tiësto, Benny Benassi, Steve Aoki and more, on stages. Panda’s boyhood-buds and beatsmiths (say it three times fast and they’ll mash it up) are about to embark on a new tour, making people of all ages (better be careful of those “barely legal” P.Y.T.’s) go wild to the creative combo jams. Meet The White Panda in this exclusive interview with VIBE and cop Bearly Legal, here.

Talk about the process you two go through when putting together a mashup.
The White Panda: Most mixes begin as individual efforts. We send each other short 'concepts,' which are basically rough mashup ideas. When we think a concept has potential, we'll put some more time into it. [We] tighten up the foundation of the mix, add additional production (drums, bass, synths) where we feel it's necessary and master the track. These steps are much more collaborative as sometimes your ear can numb itself to a mix [after] hearing [the same] loop for hours on end. We build these ideas into an arsenal of finalized mashups, and only release our very favorites.

Aside from your success in the mashup production game, is there any reason you guys have yet to produce your own original tracks?
We spend a great deal of time producing original tracks, but we are still mastering our craft so to speak before scheduling any releases. In addition to that, our fans have a certain expectation of our musical style and we want to make sure that we reconcile our vision for the project with a product that our current fans will truly appreciate.

Can we look forward to any original productions by The White Panda in the future?
Yes, but we're not in a huge rush to get that content out. Developing a unique and novel sound is not an easy task, and as our own biggest critics don't plan to release anything we're not 100% satisfied with. That said, our new album Bearly Legal has a substantial amount of original production supporting the mixes. The album allowed us to utilize some obscure and awesome samples.

You've shared stages with rappers like Wale and Mac Miller to electronic greats such as Tiësto and Benny Benassi... what's more fun for you guys, live hip-hop or EDM?
It's always an honor to hop on the same stage as an artist or group that makes it into our regular listening rotations. We tend to pair better with EDM than rap because even though we use both of those genres heavily in our music, the energy and vibe of our performances more closely emulate that of an EDM show than a hip-hop show. As a result, EDM fans are easier for us to win over and we have the most fun on stage when the crowd is really feeling our music.

Are there any artists who you consider to be competition in your musical niche?
Not really - there are plenty of other big names in the mashup genre: Girl Talk, 3lau, Super Mash Bros - and we've performed with all of them at one time or another. There's definitely a mutual respect between the big names in mashups, and we're much more interested in seeing what direction they take their music than worrying about where we stand in the competitive space.

Who are some of your musical influences?
In general, we like to see artists that push the envelope of what's popular. Girl Talk did that in the early 2000’s when he brought the mashup genre into the mainstream. Daft Punk did that in 2001 with Discovery, putting out one of the first EDM records long before the craze. Recently, groups like Alt-J have stood out to us by making a name for themselves with a sound that is unlike anyone else's. Ultimately, it's the trendsetters that see the most success in this industry.

Who are your top four artists to mashup? Two rappers to electro producers!
Ooo, this is tough. We've got to throw Wale out there. Something about his voice is able to pierce through electronic music remarkably well and he's always an awesome feature in a mix. Probably, Michael Jackson/The Jackson 5 too. Their music is so timeless that sampling it brings life into any genre. Daft Punk makes the cut too - all of their music is so groovy and so recognizable, it's perfectly suited for great mashups. Lastly, we'll say Swedish House Mafia. For top-notch production and feel-good energy, they're one of the best acts out there and every crowd loves hearing samples from them in a set.

What's next from The White Panda?
Right now we're gearing up for a tour in support of our new album, Bearly Legal. Over the next few weeks we'll be rolling out full-length versions of the individual mixes from the album. After that, a steady stream of new music and podcasts as we continue to try and bring a fresh.

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Selah Marley Talks Childhood Trauma, Clarifies Comments About Parents

After an extensive video detailing a traumatic childhood, Selah Marley shared a follow-up video message on Instagram on Tuesday (Aug. 11) clarifying earlier comments about parents, Rohan Marley and Lauryn Hill.

In a since deleted video, Selah revealed that her father was an absentee parent and detailed some of the issues in her parents’ relationship that she witnessed as a child. She spoke about their breakup, being spanked as a child, and connected the dots between things that happened when she was younger and how they have impacted her behavior today.

Selah also shared that she had an emotional conversation with her father and plans to visit him this week. “At the end of the day you know that I would never come through to bash my parents.”

The “complex” issue is one of  nuance, the 21-year-old model explained.  “Really what I was discussing was how a lack of unity in the household can create severe trauma that you’re not even aware of. And now, I had to go back and see where these different things impact my life and how they impacted my life. At the end of the day, I never said my father was a f*cking deadbeat completely. I just said that he wasn’t as present as I needed him to be,” she said before adding, “Don’t go bashing my f*cking father and my family.”

Rohan showed a united front posting a throwback family photo Instagram  captioned in part, “Love unconditional.”

Watch Selah’s full video below.


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Nick Cannon Is Not Suing ViacomCBS For $1.5 Billion, Says Rep

Nick Cannon’s camp is denying claims that he’s prepping a $1.5 billion lawsuit against ViacomCBS over his series, Wild ’N Out. Cannon’s rep said on Wednesday (Aug. 11) that reports about the massive legal action are “inaccurate,” the New York Daily News reports.

“Nick’s focus right now is on unifying communities and combatting bigotry, racism and hate of all kinds, not seeking personal financial gain.

The billion lawsuit was first reported by The Shade Room. A source allegedly told the outlet  that Cannon’s Wild ’N Out series “has brought billions of dollars in revenue to Viacom since 2015. And Nick deserves and has earned everything it is worth.”

Viacom cut ties with Cannon over anti-Semitic statements made in a clip from his YouTube show that went viral last month. Cannon, who had been apart of the Viacom family since he was a teenager, initially slammed the company, accusing them of “mistreating and robbing” the Black community “for years,” and banning ads supporting George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

“I am deeply saddened in a moment so close to reconciliation that the powers that be missed an important moment for us to all grow closer together and learn more about each other,” Cannon wrote in a Facebook post. “Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked to make an exampled of an outspoken black man.”

Cannon went on to apologize to the Jewish community, as well as Viacom boss Shari Redstone, and vowed to take time to educate himself on the Jewish faith. Cannon later revealed that his great-grandfather was a  “Spanish Rabbi,” and published an opinion piece with Anti-Defamation League director, Jonathan Greenblatt, calling for unity between Black and Jewish communities amid the three-year anniversary of Charlottesville.

“Our powerful alliance didn’t solve all our problems, but it sought to elevate all of us,” the piece reads in part. “But in recent years, these ties have frayed. Our communal groups have not always partnered. Our collective interests often have diverged. Loud voices on the fringes have contributed to the distrust and create even more distance. Today, certain voices seem intent to push us even father apart. This needs to change. Now.”

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Orange County Declares Aug. 24 “Kobe Bryant Day” In Honor Of Basketball Legend

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday (Aug. 11) to declare Aug. 24 as “Kobe Bryant Day.” The late NBA legend and longtime Orange County resident was a “treasured member” of the community who “inspired so many men and one to pursue their dreams and never give up,” O.C. County Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel said of Bryant.

The resolution reads, “The Orange County Board of supervisors recognizes August 24th as Kobe Bryant Day an encourages members of our community to continue Kobe Bryant’s legacy by engaging in community building helping young people in need, encouraging aspiring youth to follow their dreams, and living by Bryant’s words: ‘The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”

The date of Aug. 24 was chosen in honor of Bryant’s basketball jersey numbers 8 and 24. Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, would have celebrated his 42nd birthday later this month.

Bryant was drafted into the NBA directly out of high school in 1996. His list of accolades includes winning five NBA championships, being an 18-time NBA All-Star, a 2008 NBA MVP, and a two-time NBA Finals MVP winner.

The Lakers star, who was the only player in the NBA to have two jersey numbers retired, became one of the biggest names in basketball and used the sport as a launching pad to help others. Bryant, and his wife Vanessa, founded the Bryant Family Foundation aimed at helping young people in need and “encouraging the development of physical and social skills” through sports. Bryant also opened the Black Mamba Sports Academy, which is where he was headed on the morning of the tragic fatal crash.

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