Premiere: Go Behind The Scenes With Lecrae In The Making Of "Blessings"

The Grammy Award-winning Lecrae gives us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video.

After dropping the stunning visuals to his heartwarming single “Blessings” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, the Grammy Award-winning Lecrae gives us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video.

In case you missed it, the video featured Houston-born rapper and Ty$ spending time a good Sunday evening eating dinner with the family. “Blessings” captured the essence of the good and wholesome family dinners and gatherings. Longtime collaborator Propaganda also made an appearance. In it, Lecrae explains the significance of “Blessings” and how it focused on the things many of us hard working folks take for granted.

“For “Blessings” we wanted to do a video that just kind of focused on the everyday things that we just take for granted,” he said. "It was just a fun time, a good time enjoying family, enjoying friends, enjoying people. It’s like going to big momma’s house when you got that feeling of nostalgia and you come to grandma’s house and just meet up with your whole family.”

The rapper and activist also went into details on what it was like to work with Ty$, and salutes him for his versatility and talent.

“Ty’s hella cool, man. As a person [he’s] dope, as an artist [he’s] amazing. He uses multiple instruments, has a lot of input and insight as far as music is concerned,” said Lecrae, who also continued his Church Clothes mixtape series in 2016. "He has a strong appreciation for good music and good singing. It’s unique to find an artist who’s reached the heights that he’s reached but he’s still very down to earth.”

“Blessings” peaked on Billboard charts at No. 28 on its Hot 100 list. His yet-to-be titled album will be coming soon.

 

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Premiere: Next Town Down And 6LACK Make Love Look "Easy" In New Visual

Love looks pretty good on Next Town Down. The R&B group does the dance and then some in their new visuals for "Easy" with 6LACK.

The visuals are simple and sweet as the guys' court their partners with adoring compliments. Comprised of Leon, Malik, Terence, Tre'Von and Chris, the guys met on social media after sharing interests in legends like Boyz II Men and Chris Brown. From there, magic happened on the music and with fans via apps like Musical.ly and YouTube. "Easy" proves this as each vocalist is given their time to shine while flashing their unique style of pop-like R&B.

In a statement to VIBE, Next Town Down gushed about their major-label debut and working with Grammy-nominated crooner 6LACK. “It was insane to work with 6LACK on our first major-label release. We look up to him and his artistry and he really took the record to another level,” they said. The guys signed a deal at RCA, home to other popular acts like Childish Gambino, SZA, Zayn Malik, Miguel and Usher.

“It is our dream to sign at RCA, the home of R&B and of truly legendary artists like Chris Brown and Usher who made us all dream of pursuing careers in music," they said. "We are grateful to the entire RCA team for this enormous opportunity to be a once in a generation R&B group.”

Their "Evolution of Boybands" video helped boost their image with over 20 million views. In addition to big co-signs from "boy band" legends like Ricky Bell, Donnie Wahlberg, and *NSYNC, they're working hard to make their own lane.

 

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jus about ready to take over the damn world

A post shared by NTD (@nexttowndown) on Aug 7, 2019 at 4:34pm PDT

Enjoy the visuals for "Easy" below.

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Premiere: Josh Dean's "Funny Valentine" And Debut EP Is The Vocal Hug We Needed

There's more than a few powerful nayhoos behind Josh Dean. The singer-songwriter has a vibrancy about him that instantaneously puts anyone that is touched by him in a good mood. It's what pulled him into Janelle Monae's Wondaland orbit and a spot on Hitco's roster. It's also what makes his latest single, "Funny Valentine" so lovable.

The visuals for "Funny Valentine" are just as nostalgic as his interpolation (Sixpence None The Richer). Shot in black and white, Dean is all alone as he sings about the wonders of a cautious love. It's almost insane to think Dean's strong vocals weren't heard until he accidentally left his vocals on an early recording of Jidenna's "Classic Man."

Dean, who was interning for Monae's Wonderland as a graphic designer, was given a slot on the label's roster as well as an opportunity to record his debut EP Dear BlackSheepe. Some might call it fate or mere coincidence but for Dean, this feels like destiny.

"When I first got to Wondaland as an intern, I was having a conversation with Mikael [Janelle’s manager] he was like, 'People change once they get fame or famous.'" he tells VIBE. "I never want to change. I do want to be smarter, more of a seasoned singer, I want my connection with people to be stronger now than it is. In terms of who I am and the things that have shaped me, my foundation, I don’t want those things to change. I’m happy to be where I’m from, I’m happy to have been raised on a farm, I don’t think I would be the same person without it. I don’t want to step into this next phase of my life and feel like I couldn’t be myself."

The Alabama native is a clear student of music. Thanks to his grandmother, Dean started at an early age. He was taught the importance of melodies in the church and continued to explore music in school. But shortly after his mother's death, Dean moved to Florida with his father where he enjoyed the thrills of graphic design. That passion would lead him to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta to study Marketing and Computer Science. The power of graphic design also led him to an internship at Doppler Studios for Grammy-Award winning producer and songwriter, Bryan Michael Cox.

“I went one day and I sat in on this session they were working on, and I was amused by everything that I saw,” he said. By the end of the internship, Dean's passions began to intertwine. “It reignited my pursuit of music again, it gave me more of a reason and hunger to not only be in [that environment] but I was sharing my gift at the time in order to be there.”

Dear BlackSheepe showcases this with an appreciation for pop-R&B and funk sounds, specifically on fan-favorite track "DropDead." Like his influences (Prince, Michael Jackson) the singer has found a way to use upbeat grooves to heal painful memories.

"'DropDead' came from a sad place," he said. "My uncle passed away before I recorded that song. I was afraid because the song doesn’t necessarily sound like that. [My family] all thought he was doing really great, but what we didn’t know and what he didn’t tell us, was [that he] was suffering from an illness. And one day he literally drops dead and my whole family was shocked by it."

It's hard to ignore the Jackson influence but it's also easy to see Dean's vision. The singer isn't trying to emulate anyone other than himself.

"For so long in my life, I shied away from really just singing or having this connection with myself," Dead admitted. "When I got to Wondaland I wanted to step outside of that box. The whole idea of Dear BlackSheepe is that. It's a journey piece for me. Dear BlackSheepe is like, ‘Yeah we’re all different but we’re all alike and there are these things inside of us.'"

With his talents blending, he's keen on how his music videos like "Funny Valentine" and "DropDead" will be perceived. Artsy but not overly provocative, his visuals prove just how much Dean is aware of his artistry.

"The video shoot for "DropDead" was also a release for me too because I had never performed like that," he said. "I do it in front of my mirror all the time but it’s different once you’re performing in front of a camera. I learned so much that day about myself, about what I want to see on future sets of my music videos."

It may be early in his career, but Dean is checking off many moments off his bucket list. This includes opening up for boss lady Janelle Monae later this month in New York.

"I’m just really grateful because I think back to four or five years ago, I was sleeping on Janelle’s couch in her studio," he said.  "When I stepped through the doors of Wondaland, I had no idea that five years from now I would be opening up for her. It’s amazing to see how so much growth has happened in that bit of time. It all went by so fast, time flew by. She’s my big sister and I’ve learned so much from her style of performance [just by] sitting on the side of the stage. I’m really excited to take a lot of what I’ve learned and put it on the big stage. This will be one of my biggest shows to date. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. I’m a little nervous, but the nervousness I think is a good thing."

Josh Dean is still evolving, he’s still growing. He's also a gem that can shine in today R&B space.

Stream DearBlackSheepe here.

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Premiere: Ras Kass Drops 'Soul On Ice 2' Single 'LL Cool J' With Snoop Dogg

Despite being repeatedly snubbed by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, LL Cool J is still in the hearts of real hip-hop heads - and west coast rap legends Ras Kass and Snoop Dogg pay homage on the new single named after him.

Ras Kass earned his reputation as one of the greatest ever with his 1996 debut Soul On Ice, a densely-packed lyrical exercise named after deceased Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver's collection of essays. For his upcoming sixth album, Soul On Ice 2, he hopes to bring back that same energy - and fans' first glimpse of the album is "LL Cool J," a silky, Felony Muzik-produced number that Ras and Snoop spitting equally smooth rhymes while showing reverence to the hip-hop pioneer from their opposite coast.

“As soon as I heard this track the first person I thought of was the S-N-double O-P!" Ras told VIBE. "He killed the verse & even sang the hook. LBC & Carson.”

Soul On Ice 2 features production and guest appearances by Diamond D, Pete Rock, Snoop Dogg, Immortal Technique, Justice League, Cee-Lo Green, DJ Green Lantern, Everlast, Styles P and M.O.P. It's scheduled for a Sept. 6, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, and is available for preorder now. Listen to "LL Cool J" below.

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