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A Private Chat With Revealed Records' Hardwell, Dannic And Dyro

From Left: Dannic, Hardwell, Dyro

On a swelteringly hot Vegas afternoon we were graciously ushered into the dimly lit Hakkasan Nightclub. The brand-spankin'-new club is stunning; its architecture and design form a circular shape that hugs the DJ booth, allowing for an intimate and one-of-a-kind experience. As we arrive, Hardwell, Dyro, and Dannic, have already taken to the mic.

Who are your biggest music influences growing up?
Hardwell: For me, Tiësto. He and I were raised in the same city in Holland, so when I was like, 11-12 years old, I saw a documentary on Dutch TV about Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten and it really inspired me. I had always been into music, but at that point I was like 'Mom and Dad, I want to become a DJ'. So, yeah, Tiësto will always be my role-model. And for me it's actually so great to have him now as a good friend; we've worked together now for the last 3 years. …to me Tiesto is the Michael Jackson [or Elvis] of dance music. He's like the legend or icon. He was the first DJ to open the Olympic Games… he was the first DJ to ever play his own concert or go overseas from Holland.
Dyro: I'm pretty young. I'm 21, so when I was growing up this music style was already blowing up in Holland. It's been like that for 10 years already, so I grew up listening to guys like Hardwell and Tiësto. It's funny, guys like Hardwell were like my heroes when I started producing and now I'm working really closely with them so it's the best feeling there is.

What advice would you give to new/young producers?
Hardwell: I think it all starts with, if you have a good record, if you have a good track, share it with your friends and family. Just put it out and let as many people as possible listen to the track. Upload it everywhere [facebook, soundcloud] try to give it to the DJs for their podcast, try to send it out to every DJ, look on their websites… I know that it's really hard because not every label can listen to every demo, but everybody has the same chance, you know? Proven example: Nicky Romero send me a track four years ago, and he was on main stage yesterday. That's only in four years. …Afrojack, I think it was like six or seven years ago, I was playing in a club and he walked up to me with a CD [and said] 'Hey Robert, can you listen to my music?' and I was like yeah, sure. [and he said] 'no, no, no, right now! Play it in your DJ set' and I'm like, dude, I've never listened to it! And when I drove home in the car, I was like, wow, this guy has some serious talent. …Everybody has the same chance and seriously, if you make a good track just go to Miami Music Conference in March, walk up to the DJs and give them your CD [or USB] and I'm sure they will listen. And start online with social [media] marketing; Facebook, Youtube, spread it around and try to get as many people's attention.
Dannic: I think nowadays everybody thinks that they have to be released on a record label, but as long as you put your track online and share it with everybody, like Rob [Hardwell] said. It doesn't have to be released… if it's a hit record, it's a hit record.
Dyro: Last but not least, practice [producing]. There are a lot of tracks to use as a reference, but be sure to put out a good track… it's really good to have good feedback. A good record will find its way, that's it.

How do you stay original in an over-saturated market in which many records are starting to sound the same?
Hardwell: You have to focus on originality. It's very easy to copy Swedish House Mafia, or Avicii, or Skrillex, or whatever. People listen too much to each other and are too much inspired by each other. It's very easy to come up with a simple baseline and a new melody, you know? It's fair to say that all the guys who come up with their own sound are the guys who broke through immediately. Like Alesso did two years ago with the whole new sound- like more rave-y slash pop slash progressive kinda stuff out of nowhere and now it's everywhere within two years. And like, Avicii and his piano lines and more melodic stuff. And Dyro came out of nowhere with his own twist of electro-house music. …There is no answer to the question, other than to just be original, develop your own sound. The only tip I can give is just be yourself, you don't have to copy another song to be popular. Make music from your heart, even if it's experimental or not really common, try it out, it can only get you more recognized.

Be sure to grab Hardwell Presents Revealed Vol 4 out now. Packed full of Hardwell's trademark bangers and big room vibes, the compilation features 20 of the scene's hottest tunes including a handful of exclusives and unreleased tracks.

Own it & check out the track listing below:

01. Alesso vs. OneRepublic - If I Lose Myself
02. Hardwell feat. Amba Shepherd - Apollo (Hardwell Ultra Edit)
03. Dannic - Rocker
04. Marco V vs. Stefano Pain & Alex Guesta - Quake
05. Kill The Buzz - Shake
06. Hardwell & Dyro feat. Bright Lights - Never Say Goodbye
07. Krewella - Alive (Hardwell Remix)
08. 3LAU, Paris & Simo feat. Bright Lights - Escape
09. Deorro - Yee | Calvin Harris feat. Example - We'll Be Coming Back
10. Martin Garrix - Animals
11. Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Gunthrie - This Is What It Feels Like (W&W Remix)
12. Skitzofrenix - Clap
13. W&W & Ummet Ozcan - The Code
14. Knife Party - LRAD
15. Showtek & Noisecontrollers - Get Loose (Tiesto Remix)
16. Mightyfools - Footrocker | Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso feat. Ryan Tedder - Calling (Lose My Mind)
17. Hardwell - Encoded (2013 Edit) | Matt Caseli & Danny Freakazoid - Raise Your Hands | AutoErotique & Felix Cartel - The Alarm (Charlie Darker Remix)
18. Goldfish & Blink - Here We Go Again
19. Alvaro & Mercer feat. Lil Jon - Welcome To The Jungle
20. Dyro - Leprechauns & Unicorns

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Omar Epps Talks New Horror Film 'Trick,' His Vast Acting Roles And John Singleton's Genius

If you came of age in the ‘90s, Omar Epps may eternally be Quincy McCall playing Monica for her heart, or Malik Williams running to regain his full athletic scholarship, or high school student Q romancing a grown-ass nurse with her own apartment (I’m really stuck on that detail as an adult) and trying to avoid Bishop in project elevators. But over the last two decades, Epps has pretty consistently stayed on-screen - small and big - in roles that run the gamut from DJ to doctor, from ballplayer to police officer. He was even the Black person that gets killed in a horror movie in 1997’s Scream 2 (that franchise was thoroughly committed to maintaining slasher tropes). When Brooklyn native isn’t juggling multiple projects, he’s one-half of ‘90s Black couple goals with his wife of 13 years, Total’s Keisha (and she’s still fine). But I digress.

This Halloween, Epps returns to the slasher film subgenre in Trick, the first installment in a new horror franchise from director Patrick Lussier, whom Epps worked with on Scream 2 and Dracula 2000. Epps plays Mike Denver, a small-town detective fighting to stop a serial killer terrorizing the community every year — even though Denver already shot and killed him.

VIBE talked to Epps about the new movie (carefully, so as to not give it all away), choosing vastly different roles over the years, and predicting the future with John Singleton.

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VIBE: Trick is kind of a full-circle moment for you; it’s been just over 20 years since you were in the last big slasher franchise, Scream. Now, you’re the one chasing the bad guy. There’s not that much we can say without giving the plot away, but talk about what attracted you to the movie and the character.

EPPS: For me, it all starts with the script. I thought it was really entertaining, I thought the role was fun, and obviously the chance to work with Patrick again. We have that trust factor there, I know he’s a really solid filmmaker. And I thought it was something unique, you know as it twists and turns you can’t really figure out what’s going to happen.

And this is one of the first new franchises in (the slasher movie) genre, which seems to be making a comeback.

We’re calling it “slasher noir”, so it’s a call back to that old school slasher movie, but a little more elevated in terms of the story and the plot. And it’s touching on some things I think that can make the mind wander in correlation to where we’re at as a society right now.

The killer’s motivations give you pause to think, for sure. In Scream, they got you up out of there pretty quickly (Epps laughs). Now, instead of being one of the “kids,” you’re the adult trying to solve the problem. You play a police officer who’s very grounded, very logical, so the idea of something paranormal and supernatural really disturbs him as he’s trying to put the pieces together. How did you place yourself in that headspace?

The keyword there is “grounded,” and that was both the challenge and the exciting part, for me, to play this character. He’s someone that, to your point, is logic-based, and he’s looking at everything from a linear point of view in that way. But as things progress, he’s basically someone who loses himself over this case; over trying to figure out what’s going on. I think part of the headspace is you have to be in the moment of that process versus having a  strategy to attack it. You have to be immersed in the moment. And again, working with Patrick, we have a shorthand, creatively, which allowed me to be malleable in that sense, and I think we pulled it off.

Later this year, you also have the movie 3022 coming, a sci-fi thriller that takes the “lost in space” theme further than usual with an extinction-level event that destroys the Earth and traps a crew of astronauts on a space station just...until.

I really love that project; I think it’s a powerful piece that every human being will be able to relate to because it touches on age-old questions: What would you do? Why are we here? It just hits on so many broad themes. And (director) John Suits, man, he did his thing with that. And I think the cast is magnificent. I’m really excited about that one.

We (Vibe and Vibe readers) think of you first as one of the core young Black actors of the ‘90s, but over the years you’ve done such a variety of work between both TV and movies. You’ve done medical dramas, you’ve done procedurals, you’ve done sci-fi, you’ve done rom-com, you even had a moment as a ‘90s video lead. You really don’t have a box, Omar, which is a beautiful thing as an actor, but how have you made your choices?

It’s been a combination of me making choices of things that I connect to, and the blessings that come down and opportunities that come my way. I think every artist is sort of a blank canvas, and no one’s in a box. You’d be surprised at how many actors can sing or rap or dance or how many musicians can act - we’re artists. I’m just thankful to — knock on wood — continue to get these opportunities, because the next path for me is writing, producing and directing.

You’ve dabbled in that a little bit already. Are you working on anything now?

Oh yeah, I’ve got a few things bubbling. I don’t want to jinx them, but we’ve definitely got some things in the works across all those fronts: as a writer, as a producer, as a director.

My favorite roles of yours are Q (Juice) because of nostalgia, and then Quincy McCall (Love & Basketball), but I really loved you as Dr. Eric Foreman (House). I thought you guys were brilliant as an ensemble. Do you have a favorite?

I honestly don’t. For me, they’re all pieces of a bigger mosaic; of a picture, when it’s all said and done, of what will be my career. But there’s nothing like your first, right? There’s nothing like that first experience. So with Juice, that movie and character will always hold a special place in my heart.

And it was such an iconic moment for the culture. When John Singleton passed, I wrote about his work, and how when Higher Learning came out (in 1995), critics said the various characters were too on the nose and stereotypical. But when you view the film from a 2019 lens, it’s almost prophetic. Have you thought about that?

That’s the thing; great storytellers all tap into that same zeitgeist of eternity in terms of the human story. And when you whittle that down to American culture or to Black culture, it’s just one of those genius things. When we were on set filming, we could feel that this was saying something bigger than our parts in it. Now, when you look back on it in 2019, it seems prophetic because it was. It’s not “seems,” it was. Look at where we are in society right now, it’s crazy, but I think that’s a testament to John Singleton and his genius.

So, you worked with Tupac in his seminal role, you worked with Singleton. Is there a person that you still want to work with that you haven’t yet, or is there a dream role that you haven’t had the opportunity to play yet?

I don’t necessarily have a dream role, although, I would love to play Frederick Douglas. But the person I want to work with is Spike Lee. I’ve never worked with him and I don’t know how that hasn’t happened. We were trying to do something a few years ago that didn’t come together, so I’m going to put that back out in the universe because I have to work with Spike.

'Trick' is now in theaters, on-demand, and on digital streaming platforms now. 3022 is expected to hit theaters, on-demand, and digital platforms on November 22nd.

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David Becker

Suge Knight Reportedly Signed Over His Life Rights To Ray J

Suge Knight may be locked behind the G-Wall, but the former hip-hop mogul is attempting to keep the cash flow flowing.

Monday (Oct. 21), TMZ reported that Suge Knight has signed over his life rights to Ray J, with the hopes that the reality television star will create some lucrative deals for the Death Row CEO.

According to the report, a Suge Knight and Death Row Records documentary is in the works, as well as a Tupac album. There are even talks of reviving Death Row Records.

The former CEO was sentenced to 28 years in prison last October after pleading no contest to a charge of voluntary manslaughter for a January of 2015 incident in which he struck and killed 55-year-old Terry Carter and injured Cle "Bones" Sloan in a hit-and-run.

Ray J recently inked a $1 million deal in the cannabis industry and has major investments in the headphones and scooter industries as well.

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Nicki Minaj attends the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 27, 2017 in Inglewood, California.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Nicki Minaj Lists Dream Collaborations "If There Is An Album"

Nicki Minaj is celebrating the release of her Fendi collaboration but while the Queens native is promoting the partnership, she's also answering questions on her suspected retirement from music. The Shade Room interviewed the "Megatron" rapper on her announcement to which Minaj said she had to re-think her decision to share that with the masses.

"When I posted that retirement tweet, I knew that I still had music that I already had recorded that was still going to come out, so the retirement was kind of talking about my album, meaning 'do I want to go back and record my fifth album?'" she noted before adding, "I always get asked to do features and I like features. So it was really about the fifth album."

In terms of new music, Minaj touched on a song she recorded with Kanye West. What started out in one direction has reportedly taken a turn, she said. “What’s funny is that I did a song with Kanye, that he now wants to transform into a gospel song," she said. "I done wrote three different verses chile, and I don’t know. We ain’t seeing eye to eye on it. I don’t know, but of course, I love and respect Kanye, and Kim, we’ll see what happens with that.”

She also mentioned collaborating with DaBaby, Gunna, and Megan Thee Stallion, plus more unexpected content. "If there's an album there would be other surprises," she said before giving a hearty laugh. Listen to the interview below.

 

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🔊 Sound on! _____________________________________ Earlier this week, #NickiMinaj dropped her highly anticipated #Fendi collection, and we were right there celebrating with her as she commemorated this new milestone that has all of the fashion industry talking. Aside from that, we sat down with Nicki and had an exclusive interview where we talked about what inspired the collection. As well as her upcoming nuptials to her man #KennethPetty, whether or not she’s really retiring, other artists she would love to collaborate with and much more. _____________________________________ If you’re like us, then you’ve been counting down the days since Nicki and Kenneth obtained their marriage license, as we wait for them to officially say their “I Do’s.” Nicki talked to us about their upcoming nuptials and whether or not they’re going to have a big wedding. _____________________________________ She said, “We’ll definitely do the paperwork portion of the marriage, but the actual wedding, I don’t know. You know when you’re a little girl and you want this big beautiful wedding, and I used to think I was one of those girls, I always wanted the fairytale. But then the things that used to matter to you don’t matter as much because I remember wanting those things with people, where real love wasn’t there. So now I feel like now that everything has finally lined up and matched up being that I’m madly in love with this man, he’s also my best friend, the things that used to matter to me before, don’t matter as much now. So yes, we’re going to have a big wedding eventually.” She also expressed how deeply in love she is right now, and the importance of——click the link in the bio to read more at TheShadeRoom.com

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Oct 20, 2019 at 3:45pm PDT

In August 2018, Minaj released her fourth studio album, Queen. The extensive project featured charting singles "Barbie Tingz," "Good Form," "Bed," and "Chun-Li." Listeners also find the famed entertainer pairing with fellow rappers like the influential Foxy Brown, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Swae Lee, and singers Ariana Grande and The Weeknd.

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