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Interview: Yung Joc Talks Joining 'Love & Hip-Hop' And New Music

Former Bad Boy recording artist Yung Joc is the latest rapper to join the Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta cast. This past Monday (May.5), Joc made his debut on the new season of the drama-filled reality show, and VIBE caught up with the rapper in New York City to get the 411.

VIBE: What was it like to be going through all these different situations in front of the camera?
Yung Joc:
What is it like because we’re definitely still filming. To be honest, I have mixed vibes on it because it’s kind of hard to say you can forget that the cameras are there but whenever you’re dealing with something and someone and you’re engaged in whatever it is that you guys are discussing or going through you can forget because you’re trying to get your point across to the other person you’re dealing with. I mean, its cool. Its always weird. It’s really weird though because you never know what you are walking into, let’s just say that.

Right, and sometimes emotions can take over.
Yeah! Not even just that, misunderstandings. You gotta understand that camera, the idea of what you are doing on a reality show. So you may be grounded and you may have a positive vibe or you just may be neutral and that other person is looking to gain whatever they may gain from anything they do that’s kind of just outrageous, outlandish, unorthodox. It’s kind of like you don’t know what they’re up to. When you’re watching reality TV and someone is having a conversation and that person throws a plate full of food like, what? Like, was this your plan to do this?

So, do you think cameras influence the way people act or what they are doing?
Yeah. Its a natural --its human nature. When there’s attention focused on what you’re doing or what you’re involved in you may react differently. Everything you do may be a little different. Think about it. Right now you and I are having a convo. If either one of us realized that someone is watching what we’re doing it could make you not wanna talk about it anymore. It can make you walk away or it could make you turn up because it's like I gotta audience, let me give them a show. It’s weird at times but you know, it is what it is.

Will you be in a lot of episodes?
You gotta watch. The way that goes its kind of like--the show hasn’t even started yet so I can’t say too much about whatever is or what’s not.

Did you get to interact with a lot of the cast?
I can’t say that either.(laughs). You never know because you don’t know how it’s going to unfold so...

Who did you know before the show?
I knew a lot of those cats. You talkin’ ‘bout Scrappy, Rasheeda, Kirk, Stevie J, even from K. Michelle to Rich Dollaz. A lot of them I’ve already know before.

Were they acquaintances or friends?
Stevie J, he and I we’ve done some functions together. Matter fact we hosted a function together. He was on stage with his band and I actually grabbed the mic and was singing. I wasn’t rapping I was singing. It was very entertaining (laughs). Of course I been knowing Scrappy forever he’s always been cool with me. Rasheeda and Kirk always been cool with me. K. Michelle we were label mates. Rich Dollaz worked at Bad Boy so he was one of my reps over there and me and him have a very, very good relationship.

So you didn't feel too crazy about it once you came on to the cast since you knew some people already?
Right but to be honest with you that don’t mean nothing. That don’t mean nothing ‘cause --let’s just say this. Put in the right or wrong situation either way there is always gonna be an outcome and human error is very very very very prevalent in any situation. Every moment you’re living human error is there, you know what I’m saying? You don’t know how someone is feeling today or what they are going through . You don’t know what the last five text messages that came through their phone. So they may already have that chip on their shoulder. They may already have that edge. You just don’t know, man. I think that’s what makes this fun because you don’t know what’s gonna happen.

Makes it interesting.
Yeah it keeps you on your toes.

Did you know Mona Scott before the show?
Well I had met Mona before I joined the show.

What was your perception of her before you joined the show?
She was cool. I could tell she was about her business. It wasn’t no games for her. She comes from this world of music itself and managing artists and things of that nature. So her aggression is definitely there. She didn’t over do it. She was always cool when I seen her. Always has a pleasant smile but you can tell she is about her business.

What’s she like on the set?
I’ve never seen her set. She’s hasn’t been around me during filming. I’ve never seen her on set.

So what really made you do the show?
Dealing with Karlie and the idea kept coming up and I was like I don’t know, man. I was just like I don’t know how I feel about reality shows. I was just like I don’t know if I really wanna do that. After awhile just talking to my dad and my friends and other peers it was kind of like pray about it, if it’s meant, then do it.

What was that piece of advice that made you want to do the show?
My dad was like look at it like this: they can only edit what you give ‘em. I was like you know that makes sense and then he was like you know that you wanna be in that world, you know that you want to be on TV because you know,I do want to act. This is something that I am going to take more seriously. He said it could be an eye opener for you in regards to what you want to do in your future. So I talked to pops about it, my moms about, my siblings, prayed on it and now I’m on the phone with you talking about it.

How did it affect you and Karlie’s relationship?
You know what, if people watch the show they are gonna find out.

I saw in the trailer she was mad about something. I forget what. Will we see a lot of that.
Yea.Uhhh I don’t know. I’m gonna be seeing it when ya’ll see it.

Right and then you guys are still filming so--
(laughs) Unlike if it was a show, unlike if it was a regular sitcom or show you're an actor and you kind of know what the outcome is gon be. Because you don’t know the outcome I think its smart to not to try to do people wrong because nobody’s gonna be your friend. The producers are not gonna be your friend so if you do something to somebody and they look crazy just know that there’s always the anticipation of that person always seeking revenge. So its like eye for an eye because at the end of the day the producers want what’s gonna be good for TV. I can’t really say how it affected our relationship just know that when the show starts you will know exactly what’s been going on.

Ok so I’m gonna jump right into the music. I heard the single today. Who produced it?
Kristos.

Who were the other two artists on the song, D-Dro and AE200?
AE200 is a young guy I know out in Atlanta and D-Dro is my Haitian partner. We came together and did this record just on a fly one night. I was like I kind of like it and everybody that heard it was like ‘I like it.’ But I was getting more women to say they like it. That was weird. Not weird, but you know what the real title of the record is.

You didn’t expect them to like it?
I’m not saying I didn’t expect them to like it because you definitely want females to be fans but I didn’t think that would be a first choice, you know what I’m saying?

What’s the name of the album going to be?
I’m trying to narrow that down now to be honest with you. I been tossing up a few ideas in the back of my head. I’m possibly thinking about calling it New Joc City 2.

Is there a release date?
I’m actually in New York at the label right now. We got meetings all kinds of stuff going on so I’ll be finding out that type of information out shortly.

Any collaborations?
Well because I don’t have a completed product I can’t say the album is done.I can't say who is on it. I can tell you the people I’ve worked with but I can’t tell you who is on the album because when it comes down to the finalized project that song with that artist may not make it on the record.

What producers have you worked with?
I got to work with a lot of producers. I got to go in with my guy Cheese Beats. He did one for me Wale and Jadakiss and Meek Mill. He just did “Back to Ballin” for Wale and French Montana and he just did the Migos new single. That’s one of my close friends. I went in with Dun Deals. He did the Stoners and Hannah Montana record and I got back in the studio with Nitty too. B.O.B just produced a record for me. B.O.B produced a record for me that I really like.

Is it going to make it onto the album?
I think it may make it actually because it feels good. It’s a good record. He produced a record for me called “Loaded”.

I wanted to talk to you about your hiatus because the people haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been doing?
I’m gonna tell you what’s crazy. I may not have been mainstream but I ain’t been gone and I haven’t been very viral in my approach. But I’ve been working for quite some time and been working on things that have been quite successful. They just may not have been directly on the forefront of music. Its like you’re actually interviewing me but you're not the face of the magazine you see what I’m saying? You still have a job. I’ve done publishing deals. At one point I was filming videos with my production company where we were doing music videos too.

Which music videos?
I’ve done all types of music videos from Waka to Gucci. A lot of different artists in Atlanta. The weird thing about me is that because I’m so laid back and humble there’s times where those moments where I’m supposed to turn my star on I’ll be more chill and don’t wanna be doing too much but sometimes that what people like to see when it comes to rappers.

What’s the name of your production company?
Hustlenomics. Hustlenomics is one of the labels that I started and I had a discrepancy with a guy who after I named my album Hustlenomics he went back and created a magazine called Hustlenomics. So we had to go back and forth to court about that and I had so much stuff established under that name and I don’t know how, considering I had it longer than him but some type of way it was a crazy kind conflict and they ended up telling me I couldn’t use that. But everntually he went out of business so I was able to use the name again. Its over so I had named the film company Hustlenomics.

So what are some of the music videos that your company produced?
We did one for Gucci I think it was called “Fast Lane”. I did one for Waka and this artist out of San Francisco or San Diego, I just know he is from the West Coast. I can’t remember his name. I don’t remember the title of the song.

When did you start the company?
Like 2009. I also had someone under me in the production company and we filmed a fitness kid DVD for the little kid CJ the workout kid. He was like nine at the time and he had a six pack and he was all cut up. I bought a guy and on and we did the gig through my company but he didn't do a great job to me and I didn't love it so I refused to put name behind it and I backed away from it. They didn’t like it either so they went to another company.

Did you any other business endeavors or other ventures while you were away from music?
Yea but nothing really notable or worth talking about. Just some little side things but nothing I wanna discuss.

Did you pick up any new hobbies?
Well, you know one of my aliases is flatman because I was one of the first cats in Atlanta that had a lot of my cars flat colored, you know the flat colored paint. I was one of the first people in the city to have that color. So I had a flat white and blue camaro and I had a flat red corvette and once I got one of my partners, Big Cory, we started painting cars. That was the one I really didn't want to talk about but you got it out of me anyway. Haha you’re good. It was just a hobby. It actually turned into a decent little profit once I started learning how everything was going. It was fun.

I remember you said you wanted to act. Are you making any steps towards an acting career?
Its kind of crazy because music has always been my first passion but secondly it's always been drama because in the school I went to I was always trying to be in drama. I did that and also after high school and even while in high school I hooked up with this playwright by the name of (??) in Atlanta and he put on a lot of plays. I think I may have done ten plays with him. So that’s always been a passion of mine. So I think at this point I’m really ready to pursue it.

Any particular kind of movies you would want to do?
I can do any kind of movies. I can do a drama, I can do a comedy. I can do an action flick. I believe I can do it. I feel that good about it. Honestly its one of those things where people meet me and they're around me and they are like man you missed your calling and that shit always make me feel some kind of way because you met me when I was professionally being a rapper so don't say that that wasn’t my calling. Don’t say I missed my calling just say man this is your calling. Just say that.

You’re from Atlanta so Tyler Perry is out there so maybe you could hop on something with him.
Yea and I actually been talking to a few different agents so I’m definitely going to holla at the homie. He at the crib. I’ve been shooting a lot of different skits and stuff with STFU Shut the Funny Up in Atlanta. So we’ve been doing a lot of little skits where they bring in comedians or other actors, actresses or other entertainers, athletes or whatever and we just been shooting a lot of different comedy skits and what not. I’ve been working. Everything isn’t a sealed deal so I kind of didn’t want to talk about them but its other things on my plate. I don’t mind speaking things into existence but the way they are set up its kind of my best interest not to speak on it

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18 Best Latinx Albums Of 2018

A number of artists from the scope of latinidad contributed to making 2018 another rich year in music. If hip-hop is the world's most consumed genre, latin pop, reggaeton, latin trap, flamenco and more of the subgenres of Latinx music rested in between.

This includes J Balvin being one of the most streamed artists on Spotify, Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy scoring stellar Grammy nominations, the rising appeal of Harlem rapper Melii, the return of Wisin Y Yandel and Bad Bunny sprinkling the gift that is Latin trap on your getting ready playlists.

But there were also artists who took big risks like Kali Uchis' coy yet forward voice in R&B, Jessie Reyez's dynamic voice and collaborations with the likes of Eminem and many more.

Check out our favorite albums from the best and brightest Latinx artists of the year below.

READ MORE: 25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

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Nick Rice

25 Best Hip-Hop and R&B Music Videos Of 2018

Hip-hop has taken full advantage of visual platforms like YouTube. Keeping the same energy as the days of Rap City: Tha Basement and Direct Effect, music videos are back and bigger than ever.

Hip-hop’s landscape has changed radically since the golden age of music videos. Artists from all different walks of life are roaming the field, constantly raising the bar for music videos. From the trippy aesthetics of new generation rappers like Trippie Redd and Smokepurrp, hilarious efforts of Blac Youngsta and the regal aesthetics from Beyonce and Jay-Z, 2018 has been filled with amazing music videos.

VIBE took a look at these visuals and assembled a collection of the finest hip-hop and R&B music videos of the year. The videos below display the meaningful connection that a director created with an artist that enables the two to capture the emotion and feelings the artist laid down on wax. In no specific order, take a look at the 25 best hip-hop and R&B music videos of 2018.

READ MORE: 25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

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Music Sermon: Forget The King of R&B, Raphael Saadiq Is The Son Of Soul

#MusicSermon is a weekly series by Naima Cochrane that highlights the under-acknowledged and under-appreciated urban artists and sub-genres from the '90s and earlier. The series seeks to tell unknown and/or forgotten stories that connect the dots between current music, culture and the foundations of the past.

This week, Cash Money artist Jacquees set off an internet firestorm when he proclaimed himself to be the “King” of R&B “for (his) generation.” The comment led artists, executives, music fans and #BlackTwitter in general to debate: who is the King of R&B? (Spoiler alert - it’s not Jacquees.)

While a consensus was never reached, the heated discussion illustrated how much the definitions and ideas of R&B and R&B stars varies between age groups. Ironically, one name that seldom appeared in the convo belongs to one of the most consistent and prolific presences in soul and R&B music for the last 30 years: Raphael Saadiq.

Saadiq has become like a stealth superhero of soul for the last several years of his career, moving to the background as more writer/composer/musician, so the impulse for many might be to label him as an “old school” artist. But that’d be a misnomer, as he’s still had his hand in some of the most influential music for the current generation. Perhaps he transcends a simple R&B conversation as a self-identified Son of Soul (the difference between R&B and Soul is a topic for another day), but however you want to categorize him, he is not widely-enough acknowledged for how he’s kept us jamming, constantly, for three decades.

Let’s explore the iterations through which “Ray Ray” has blessed us over the years.

TONY! TONI! TONÉ!

During the birth and rise of New Jack Swing and then the subsequent evolution to Hip-Hop Soul, Tony! Toni! Toné! was one of the last of a dying R&B breed: the band. They – and a few years later Mint Condition - were standouts as live musicians in an R&B landscape turning to sample-based production. This set both groups apart, establishing them early on as serious soul acts, and making them forerunners of the neo soul sound to come in the late ‘90s.

Like almost every black musician and/or producer of note in his peer group, Saadiq developed and honed his musical chops in the church. Exposure to Motown and Stax by his blues singer father led him to the bass and served as inspiration for his future style. But he, brother Dwayne and cousin Timothy Christian received their formal Tony! Toni! Toné! training on the road: Raphael and Christian toured as part of Sheila E’s band on Prince’s Parade Tour and Dwayne with gospel great Tramaine Hawkins.

Having been properly trained, educated and tested in blues, soul, gospel, and funk, the three formed Tony! Toni! Toné!. Their first album was a modest success, achieving gold status from the RIAA, but wasn’t a standout. The trio started taking the reins on writing and production on their sophomore effort, and the Tonys as we now know them showed up. They announced both their musical background and intentions with their album titles: The Revival, Sons of Soul, House of Music. They were not there for catchy, formulaic R&B. They developed a signature blues, soul, gospel and funk hybrid, rolled up in modern R&B and hip-hop fusion.

The Revival is arguably a new jack swing album – “Feels Good” is a must-have on any new jack playlist – but they were taking the existing marriage of R&B and hip-hop and adding an even deeper soul element, reaching back to ‘70s sonic roots. It was the sonic equivalent of taking new jack swing chicken and shaking it in a paper bag of old-school musically-seasoned flour.

The group still had the kind of jammin’ uptempos found on their debut, Who?, but started to establish themselves as producers of some of the greatest R&B ballads of the ‘90s.

When you think of the Tonys’ music, aside from “Feels Good,” the first song that comes to mind is probably a slow jam. Most acts are fortunate to get one true signature song in their career. Tony! Toni! Toné! has several, and they’re timeless. Put them on today and see if you don’t hit a body roll.

They also established themselves as formidable soundtrack players (as any 90s act worth their salt did. Remember soundtracks, by the way?). They had cuts on the House Party II and Boyz in the Hood albums.

By Sons of Soul they’d found their pocket, and they pushed the sonic limits of contemporary R&B to the extent that some outlets classified the album as jazz, it was such an outlier. Saadiq recognized that they were doing something important for genre. Something that was connecting old style and new. In an interview about the album in 1994, he expressed what he saw as the group’s role in music. "We've been very blessed to be able to be a group that writes our own songs and people have accepted us from both sides, hip-hop and the R&B…I feel very fortunate to be able to do that here in 1993-94, because like you know, it was starting to be a dying thing that was happening. But I guess we were like the bridge between hip-hop and soul and R&B.”

Going back to the aforementioned King of R&B discussion, Diddy chimed in the conversation (he knows a little something about the topic) to run down some criterion to even be considered. His list included vulnerability and adoration in the lyrics and subject matter, the ability to sing a woman’s “draws” off, and the pen game to write hits. Check, check and check. Sons of Soul deservedly landed at or near the top of a gang of 1994 year-end lists and the Tonys continued to raise the bar for the ballad game. Real talk, the last four and a half minutes of the “Anniversary” album cut are better than some entire R&B albums.

With House of Music, the group sought to even more fully showcase all their influences and inspirations: the Al Green-esque “Thinking of You;” the Stylistics-inspired “Holy Smokes & Gee Wiz;” the Bay Area connect with DJ Quik for some G-Funk with “Let’s Get Down;” the straight-up church moment of the “Lovin’ You” reprise closing out the album, with Christian putting all that good anointing on the Hammond B3 organ. This was our clearest glimpse what Saadiq had in store for the future.

LUCY PEARL

When Tony! Toni! Toné! broke up and Saadiq put together supergroup Lucy Pearl, we realized he was on some other sh*t. First, the very idea to bring En Vogue’s Dawn Lewis, A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Saadiq together was genius. Then, oh…what’s this sound? Tony! Toni! Toné! with a little somethin’ extra on it? Saadiq revealed his ability to reinvent himself, stylistically and sonically, and play in different music spaces. Successfully. Hits, check.

WRITER/COMPOSER/PRODUCER/MUSICIAN

After Lucy Pearl, Saadiq embarked on his first solo projects. We’ll get to those, but the more remarkable part of this era was his expansive work as a writer, producer and session musician for others. As mentioned earlier, Tony! Toni! Tone! was an inspiration for neo soul (a term Saadiq loathes), which pulled from ‘60s and ‘70s influences, paired with the return to live instrumentation, mixed with hip-hop swag. Saadiq was a sometime member of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and J Dilla’s Ummah production collective, but had also been working on outside projects since the Tonys were active. Through either the Ummah or alone, Ray was behind hits you may have attributed to someone else.

-D’Angelo, "Lady:" Saadiq co-wrote, co-arranged and co-produced the still-perfect ode to #WCEs (Women Crush Everydays) with D’Angelo.

-Bilal, "Soul Sista:" Soul and R&B great Mtume on the pen, Saadiq on production.

-Angie Stone, "Brotha:" OK, who’s gonna create the 2018 “Unproblematic” edit of the “Brotha” video?

-Total, "Kissing You:" No, this wasn’t Stevie J. Now, imagine this as a Tony! Toni! Toné! song. You can absolutely hear it, right?

-Erykah Badu and Common, "Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop):" Saadiq again proving he’s a master of the perfect fusion of hip-hop and an old soul groove.

-D’Angelo, "Untitled (How Does It Feel):" Saadiq has admitted he later realized he was channeling Jay Dee’s style throughout the D’Angelo session.

SOLO SAADIQ

As a solo artist, Saadiq has accomplished what few can: continuously evolving his sound and aesthetic while yet managing to still always sound like himself. The retro-influence has been a constant in his work, but that influence ranges between decades and musical eras. He’d given us a taste of solo Ray through “Ask of You” from the Higher Learning soundtrack, but that could easily pass as a Tony! Toni! Toné! song.

With Instant Vintage (again letting you know what he came to do with the title), Saadiq expanded on his existing signature sound of soul, funk, gospel and R&B; a sound he coined “Gospaldelic.”

With Ray Ray, he delivered a modern blaxploitation soundtrack. But then, in 2008, he went all the way back to Motown and the purest soul sound for The Way I See It. Saadiq was committed to an authentic return to ‘60s soul for the entire process. He eschewed slick, modern production techniques for old-school practices, including vintage equipment, all live instrumentation and single-take recordings. He donned slim-cut suits and classic frames for his look, and delivered a retro soul package via the 45 inch LP box set. But it still sounded incredibly fresh and modern, and that is his gift.

His last solo album, 2011’s Stone Rolling, was a progression of The Way I See It, staying in the same retro soul pocket, bringing some funk and rock’n’roll back into.

Or did he?

MILLENNIAL RAY

The thing about Saadiq is that he doesn’t just look a perpetual 30 years old (he’s 52. It don’t crack.). Unlike a lot of “old heads,” he keeps his ear current, as well. Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington, Anderson Paak, and BJ the Chicago Kid are his musical nephews. He praises them and their music often in interviews, heralding them as the current bridge-builders between eras and urban genres. Labelmate Leon Bridges adapted his The Way I See It and Stone Rolling formulas - from the sound to the ‘60s-style dress and imaging - for his own, and had Saadiq’s enthusiastic blessing. He listens to SZA, PJ Morton and Daniel Caesar. And he still has his finger on the pulse of current urban musical movements.

Saadiq was an executive producer on Solange Knowles’ 2016 A Seat at the Table, garnering a Grammy for the anthemic “Cranes in the Sky.”

He’s also helped to bring the full authenticity of the West Coast to Insecure for the past three seasons, serving as the show’s composer.

And he hasn’t abandoned his peers and contemporaries, garnering a “Best Song” Oscar nomination last year with Mary J. Blige for Mudbound’s “Mighty River,” and just recently executive producing John Legend’s first Christmas album, A Legendary Christmas. Only time will tell what he brings on the forthcoming solo album he told VIBE about, titled Jimmy Lee.

Whether his name is included in King of R&B conversations or not, Saadiq has been booked and busy in every area of black music since before 1988, keeping both aunties and nieces grooving, with no signs of slowing or stopping.

RELATED: Raphael Saadiq Talks New Music, 'Insecure,' And Why Tony! Toni! Toné! Won't Reunite

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