Sam Dew Sam Dew

Premiere: Sam Dew Longs For The Past On 'Rewind'

Here is the premiere for Sam Dew's "Rewind." 

Between the same rotation of turn-up tunes and electronic dance magnets, Sam Dew is creating his own genre. The Chicago-bred singer and songwriter, who is credited for the hook on Wale's "LoveHate Thing" and has penned tracks for the likes of Rihanna, Mary J. Blige and Jessie Ware, is bringing what he calls "distorted soul" into the musical landscape.

Here, Dew drops off "Rewind," an old school-esque jam produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek that fuses hip-hop with funk and #truestory lyrics. "That’s my ex," he tells VIBE of the track's meaning. "It felt like hell in the middle of it but that [inspired] the line, "I miss the belly of the beast/Where the sun don't rise in the East/Now that I won't feel another flame/Now I'm out in the cold." Too much of anything is bad, sure, but when you’re completely devoid of an existence in your life all of a sudden, it’s like the most sought after thing in the world."

The same could be said about his forthcoming EP Damn Sue, which puts his diverse musical tastes on full display (Dew listens to everything from Marvin Gaye to Hans Zimmer scores) while still keeping it real on life's precious moments. Soundtrack your nostalgia with "Rewind" and get more familiar with the man behind the music below.—Adelle Platon with additional reporting from Stacy-Ann Ellis

How did you discover your love for music?
It was just always around. My mother and father sing, not professionally but they sing all the time ‘round the house so that just became my music and radio became my trainer.

Describe your first performance.
My first performance was for a musical in grade school and I was pretty nervous. I was shaking and I could hear the shakes in my voice when I opened up for the first note, but it still sounded good and everyone was into it. Then I remember I wanted to hit a high note and [my voice] completely cracked. It’s on video. My parents still have it on VHS and they’re like ‘oh you know no one noticed.’ but everyone fucking notices that shit. (Laughs) I actually remember another [performance] before that. I did a talent show in the third grade and it was me my two homies. We had on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jerseys and we did “We Got It” by Immature. We didn’t win.

It’s okay. You won later.
Yeah, we always win later when we deserve it.

Exactly. Talk about some of your musical influences. Who do you really vibe with?
There’s Earth, Wind and Fire, Curtis Mayfield and Michael Jackson. I love the old soul stuff. For me, all of those elements made it into what alternative music is today so I don’t know, the future of soul is like in some [mix of] alternative and dance. So I listened to Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and all these different types of people. I listen to a lot of Caribou. The funny thing is I’ve been listening to Hans Zimmer scores for the past week and there’s no vocals on that. That’s usually what i listen to on my own.

Your influences are so diverse. How would you characterize your sound?
I think what I’ve been trying to go for is alternative soul, for sure. but we’ve been throwing around the title for the record that’s coming after the EP that's ‘distorted soul,’ which serves multiple purposes. It could be a genre, a feeling, a condition. (Laughs) It’s definitely the best thing I could articulate to describe the music so far.

Your range is crazy and super distinct. Are you formally trained?
Thank you. I sang everything from Barry White to Mariah Carey on the radio. That whole Butterfly record was like a singer’s dream to try to copy. It didn’t matter if [the singer was] male or female. Range was all I heard. It may have a lot to do with me keeping my range as I got older, going through puberty. When i got to college, I was in the Glee club at Morehouse. That took my vocal ability to another level because Dr. David Morrow and Dr. Mel Foster were whizzes. I was only there for a couple of years before I lost my [student] loan in the recession but I still learned what I could at the time. It worked out. I joined a band and started forgetting everything I learned and tried something else. I think anti-knowledge has a lot to do with who I’ve become.

When you perform, you’re a man of little words and very little crowd interaction. What’s going through your head on-stage?
For me, songs are just moments. They’re glimpses so when I’m on stage, I do my best to recreate that moment that we felt when we were in the studio, making the music and trying to find a way to translate that live. For me, talking to people in between every little song [is like] you’re constantly breaking that illusion, that barrier and that just means you have to rebuild it. I try to keep it as basic and simple. The way I see it, people are here for the music. They’re not here for a monologue … My voice is heard enough in the music, you know?

For many, Wale's "LoveHate Thing" was their first introduction to you. Still, you've been working quietly for other artists like Rihanna and Jessie Ware. Was laying low until you were ready to release your own material your intentional strategy?
I mean I don't like to talk about stuff I do for other people because it’s not my project. If it comes out and I worked on it, I always plug and try to support it as much as possible but I really appreciate being as anonymous as possible. I know that kind of counteracts the work of being known but I just want people to know the music. I don't want people to feel like they need to know me unless they have to. I like to make it a choice instead of a force-feeding.

Even on social media, you’re somewhat mysterious.
Yeah, I just don’t post a lot of selfies. (laughs)

Was there ever a song you gave to another artist you wish you kept for yourself?
No. The best people I've spoken with that I’ve looked up to in this industry always believe that your best song is never the one you’ve already written so it’s like give that shit away. (Laughs)

Why is right now the best time to get to know Sam Dew?
Because the album is coming and you’ll be so confused you don’t know. (laughs) This EP is a primer. It’s gonna be a whole different world. It’s gonna be its own environment hopefully but the context is important. If you want to be part of the whole story, you’re gonna need to know everything.

Your EP is called Damn Sue. Is that a play off your name or does it have a deeper meaning?
It started as a joke but it actually came in handy because “Sue” became the woman that doesn't exist in my life. Damn Sue is like, 'Damn the woman I’m waiting for who doesn't seem to exist anywhere but I know I'm waiting for her. I know i need it and I know she’s around.' She’s like that pixelated face in the vision. You understand it and you see it but it’s never clear because it’s not in your life. “Sue” is the idea of the woman that doesn't exist but the reality that I'm fucked up because she’s not in my life.

What can we expect from the project sonically?
Sonically, you get a little distorted soul. Hopefully, you get a little alternative. There’s some hip-hop, old soul and rock in there. There’s some spaces to exist in. Hopefully, the pieces came together in the right way so that people really feel like they haven't sat through something like this in a while.

Stay tuned for Sam Dew's Damn Sue EP coming soon.

Photo Credit: Sam Dew

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Premiere: Chronixx's “Same Prayer” Music Video Feat. Kabaka Pyramid

Do not be deceived by the gorgeous vistas of Jamaican mountainscape displayed in the visuals for Chronixx's “Same Prayer.”

The subtly crafted song is more concerned with navigating the treacherous terrain of humanity's inner landscape than enjoying the view outside. And it's definitely not all zen, yoga, and spirulina. "There’s so much good in the world," Chronixx sings, "and still evil a lurk." The song finds him beseeching the Almighty (Jah) to protect him and his loved ones (I and I) "from the ones who nuh care 'bout the fact we share the same air / and the blood that we bleed is alike." In other words, it's a song for this exact moment—when people are dying every day and nobody seems to have the answers. A time when we all do what we need to do. Seen? By the end of the third verse, Chronixx is left crying a river of tears and hoping Jah Jah hears. Then it's time to touch the road—"Tuck it inna me waist and start up the bike." Today Boomshots and VIBE proudly premiere the official visuals for "Same Prayer."

This is the second song we've heard from Dela Splash, the follow-up to Chronixx’s Grammy-nominated debut Chronology. Where “Dela Move” explored fast-forward flows and trap-influenced drum patterns, the newly released Zion I Kings–produced track is grounded within the ancient traditions of the Niyabinghi order.

Judging by the first fruits of Chronixx's labor, the sonic palette of the new album will be diverse and the mindset noticeably hardened. Sorta like when 3 Feet High & Rising gave way to De La Soul Is Dead. While any similarities between the Long Island rap trio De La Soul and Jamar McNaughton’s beloved De La Vega City may be coincidental, both artists are attuned to Da Inner Sound Y'all.

“‘Same Prayer’ is, in part, a prayer for the younger generation to reflect on internally," Chronixx explains to Boomshots. "It’s also a reminder that there is a greater power directing things in the physical space." On the timeless tune "Exodus," Bob Marley challenged listeners to "open your eyes and look within." Chronixx approaches his latest release with similar introspection: "Instead of looking for solutions in our material lives," he advises, "we can both reach out to this higher power and look deep within ourselves.”

The Chron Dada is joined on this one by longtime sparring partner Kabaka Pyramid. “It seems only a divine Power can help humanity at this point," says Kabaka. "This song is a call to reach deeply within oneself to find that Power, and ask It to guide and protect against the unknown elements along the way. So many things happening in realms that we are not yet able to perceive with our limited senses. Until we reach that stage we must trust the process with faith and determination."

The creative chemistry between these two artists is bubbling as usual, although Kabaka is better known for rattling off bar after bar of deadly wordplay, "Same Prayer" finds him in a more melodic mood. "Give thanks for this work of art Chronixx," he says, "I’m glad to lend some smooth vocals to it 😅” Don't get it misconstrued though, Kabaka's lyrics are as accurate as ever. When he declares himself to be "confident in the victory," he's quoting Haile Selassie I by way of Bob Marley's classic anti-racist anthem "War."

Kabaka first met Chronixx in April 2011 while celebrating his earthstrong (Rasta slang for "birthday") at Protoje's house in Kingston. "At the time I was recording my first reggae EP Rebel Music," Kabaka recalls, "and Protoje had given me some beats produced by Chronixx and Teflon (Zincfence). Our mutual respect was instant and still remains years later." Since then the pair have given us memorable musical moments like "Mi Alright" and "Blessed is the Man."

"It’s always a joy to collaborate with Chronman because he’s simply a genius in the studio," says Kabaka. "Everything he does somehow just works. On 'Same Prayer' I wrote my verse and he recorded and coached my vocals at Skyline Levels studio. You can give him a lot of the credit for the sweet vocals I delivered—haha.”

Art direction, Editing/VFX: Ivor McCray

Animation: Vo7can

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BH Releases “Code of the Streets” Music Video Feat. Lil Baby

“I love my haters, they my biggest fans,” stated BH on “1 of 1,” his collab with Nipsey Hussle off the landmark Crenshaw mixtape. Hussle encouraged BH—aka Boss Hussle—to focus on music after the young homie recovered from a damn-near fatal shooting sustained while running the streets of the Crenshaw district. “Nip was my mentor with this sh*t,” says the All Money In affiliate who joined Cobby Supreme and YG on stage for an emotional BET Awards tribute to Nipsey in June of 2019.

Over a year since Hussle’s tragic passing, BH has stayed in Marathon mode just like Nip taught him. Today he drops the official music video for “Code of the Streets,” a no-nonsense collaboration with Lil Baby. The visuals were shot in a Beverly Hills mansion with a few of the homies—Cobby, James Harden, Meek Mill, and Young Thug—counting stacks of crisp 100 bills amidst the old master paintings, chandeliers and lion skin rugs. But don’t assume that money is going to BH’s head. “You know how people get rich and they change?” he asks, rhetorically. “No matter how much money I get I’m still hood. I wouldn’t care if I had a billion dollars, bruh. I ain’t switchin’ up. I still come from this.”

BH and Baby’s chemistry on the track feels real because it is. Hussle’s always had strong Atlanta ties—Crenshaw was hosted by DJ Drama and Thugger featured on Victory Lap—and BH would often roll with Nip on trips to the A. “I would f**k with all the cool lil homies,” says BH. “And it just so happen that Baby, Gunna, all these ni**as lit now.”

The new track is taken from BH’s forthcoming project Blueprint, which he’s planning to drop sometime this summer. “I want the people to know no matter what you start with, that don’t mean that’s how you gotta end,” he says. “So I’m basically givin’ em the blueprint of how I did it. If y’all believe in me and what I stand for, this is my blueprint that took me from nothin’ to somethin’.”

BH was raised to abide by certain principles, hence the title “Code of the Streets,” a timely reminder of the rules he adheres to. “Look at Tekashi,” BH says as an example. “Nothin’ against his music—he dope. But that ain’t the f**kin’ code of the streets, man. What the f**k wrong with you, boy? You f**kin’ the code up. Get your bi**h a** outta here! Go raise your family and do whatever the f**k a snitch ni**a do. Don’t come back to music f**kin’ the game up where these kids thinkin’ it cool. Nah. You got ni**as you say you love life in jail. You knew what you was doin’. Don’t fold and give everybody else life and then come back out talkin’ all that sh*t—’I’m the king’ and all this. Ni**a, this is hip hop. This sh*t ain’t built on rats. How you the king? You the king of snitches.”

Speaking to VIBE amidst the wave of Black Lives Matter activism triggered by George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, BH shared his thoughts on the incident. “Man, they did him wrong! My thing is this: if you resisted and you fightin’ and you free, alright it’s one on one. Y’all could fight until whoever get it. But when you in handcuffs and you layin’ on the ground, you can’t even do nothin’. You couldn’t’ hurt the f**kin’ ground if you tried to. Man, why the f**k is he still bein’ choked out like that? He tellin’ you he can’t breathe. You see the man checkin’ out, bro. He can’t even move.”

BH has had enough experience with the LAPD over the years to know what he’s talking about. “The LAPD used to stop me every day,” he says matter of factly. But some days are worse than others. This past November he was pulled over in Beverly Hills by a small army of cops for driving a car that police claimed was stolen. After holding him a gunpoint, police cleared BH of any wrongdoing, but the trauma of the incident still remains.

“They said I fit the description of a stolen car or some bullsh*t,” he says. “My mind state was like ‘BH, I know you been through it. Don’t make them shoot you.’ When they realized it was not me they let me go.”

“Police feel like they can do that sh*t,” says BH, still angry from the experience. “Come on bro. Something got to give. It’s so much sh*t goin’ on that we let slide and go under the rug.” Nipsey may not be around to lead the resistance to the pandemic of racism and police brutality, but his All Money In team is definitely out here making sure The Marathon don’t stop.

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Courtesy of Roc Nation

Premiere: Robin Thicke Keeps Love Alive With "Forever Mine"

The smooth sounds of R&B never get old. When it comes to the soothing tunes of Robin Thicke, they're no exception. To bring that heart-warming vibe to our days of self-quarantine, the soul singer is delivering a new track titled "Forever Mine."

As the piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, muted trumpet, and drums set the jazzy tempo, Thicke sings about holding on to the love of your life while keeping the romance alive. No matter how long it takes or what's going on in the world.

"Made for each other, feels like no other / Once in a lifetime, can't let a love like this pass you by," he croons. "Tell me your stories and I will tell you mine / I don’t mind living in paradise..."

"When you meet the perfect someone, you can’t let them slip away,” said Thicke to VIBE when asked about his new single. The 5-time Grammy Award nominee and The Masked Singer judge shared the personal significance of the new record, adding: “'Forever Mine’ was the last record I finished with Andre Harrell, my mentor, executive producer, and Godfather to my son Julian."

During BET and REVOLT's A Tribute to Andre Harrell: Mr. Champagne & Bubbles special on Sunday night, Thicke revealed that Harrell gave a "stamp of approval" for this single one week before his untimely passing and teased the song for viewers hear.

Play Robin Thicke's new record, "Forever Mine," which is slated to appear on his upcoming studio album.

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