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Mike Dean

Mike Dean Launches M.W.A. Record Label With Houston's Dice Soho

The Houston legend is building his own roster of rising artists. 

Since his start in the '90s, heavyweight producer Mike Dean has deftly found a way to grow with the times. After establishing his career by working with Texas brethren Scarface, UGK, and Devin the Dude, Dean then forged relationships with the likes of Kanye West, Jay Z, and Beyonce in the 2000s.

READ: Dice Soho Reaches For The Sky With Mike Dean & Slim Jxmmi On “Goin Up”

Since West's debut album College Dropout in 2004, Dean has played a vital role in crafting albums for West. In 2011, he was pivotal in the creation of Kanye and Jay Z's 2011 opus Watch the Throne. For the All-Star producer, laying his fingerprints on notable projects like these not only bolstered his resume, but his connections.

Last year, he proved to be a workhorse in the studio, contributing to hit albums like Beyonce's Lemonade, West's Life of Pablo, Frank Ocean's Endless, Travis Scott's Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, Ty Dolla Sign's Campaign, and Kid Cudi's Passion, Pain, and Demon Slayin'.

READ: Mike Dean Launches Clothing Line At FANCY Pop-Up Shop, Discusses ‘Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight’

With over 25 years of experience under his belt, Dean has now ventured on his own and launched his new record label M.W.A. This year, he also signed one of Houston's budding rap stars in Dice Soho. Together, the tandem created their first offering "Goin Up" featuring Rae Sremmurd's Slim Jxmmi.

Billboard spoke with Dean to discuss his new label M.W.A., how he linked up with Dice Soho, his favorite Kanye projects to have worked on, the rise of Travis Scott, and more.

What made you decide that now would be the best time to unveil your new record label M.W.A.?
Mike Dean: Just a lot of new young artists that's been asking to get down with me and have me work on their projects and help them get deals. I figured I'd start a label and sign some new acts. Seems like a good time to start it. I got a studio out here [in Los Angeles] and I'm able to meet a lot of new artists.

What's the significance of the name M.W.A.?
That's just what I call myself when I DJ. Mexican Wrestling Association. It's something that I've done with the merch, so I just figured I'd keep the name going.

You signed Dice Soho as your first artist to M.W.A. How did that decision come about?
One of my homies Gustavo Guerra brought him to me. I think he's gonna be the next wave out of Houston. I picked him up. Dice has a nice swag.

How did the first studio session with Dice go?
The first session we did was the "Goin Up" song... I was like, "Oh, okay. This guy has something." He came out and we smoked a few blunts in the studio. I made the beat on the spot. Then he wrote his sh-t as I made the beat. It actually started out as a different song. We changed the hook. We thought it needed flavor.

Why did you guys add Slim Jxmmi to the mix for "Goin' Up?"
[Rae Sremmurd] is the wave right now. Plus, he's family. I've known him since those guys started. Mike Will introduced me to those guys a long time ago.

What kind of skill-set are you looking for from artists seeking to join M.W.A.?
Just good songwriters that know how to deliver it right. Something new. Something new in rap, or singing, or whatever.

Are you trying to keep the emphasis on hip-hop, or are you willing to jump different genres?
We'll start with some hip-hop stuff. We'll do some pop things, as I start getting some more producers.

You worked on Frank Ocean's project Endless. Which project of his did you enjoy more as a fan last year, Blonde or Endless?
I'd probably say Blonde. Blonde was more experimental, I think. Sonically, it had a weird and strange vibe. I just thought it sounded better.

You've had your hands on Desiigner's debut mixtape New English and produced "Tiimmy Turner." How would you describe his evolution as an artist now from when he first started with G.O.O.D. Music?
Well, he's still finding himself. He's experimenting with different sounds. I don't wanna comment on him too much, because he's still young. I got a lot of dope stuff for his album. It should be fire.

You've worked with Kanye West all throughout your career, dating back to College Dropout. If you could pick your favorite three albums that you were able to be a part of, which ones would you choose and why?
Hmmm. Probably College Dropout, because it was so groundbreaking. Probably Yeezus because I had my hands on it a lot. I helped shape that sound. Then, probably Life of Pablo just because it's dope as f--k. [Laughs.] I liked that album and the tour was crazy.

Continue reading at Billboard.

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Kodak Black performs onstage during the 4th Annual TIDAL X: Brooklyn at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 23, 2018 in New York City.
Nicholas Hunt

Kodak Black Under Fire For Comments About Young M.A.

The always controversial Kodak Black is under fire on Monday (March 18) for comments that are being described as sexual harassment, sexist and homophobic.

"It feel good to know that somebody love you out there. I know more people love me than hate me. And I do more good than I do bad. I do a lot of stuff, but I do more good than I do bad," he said on Instagram Live, from the seat of a car. He then stated, "How you a girl but don't want your p***y penetrated? How? ... Don't be mad at me because I want you, baby. Don't be mad at me cuz I want you."

It all started from his February release "Pimpin Ain't Eazy,"  where Kodak references Young M.A. in the chorus and the second verse. On the chorus, he rapped, "I be pullin' out straps on these f**k ni**as, I go Young M.A. on these dumb bi**hes. Like a dyke man, you ni**ass can't f**k with me." And in the second verse: ""I'm f**kin' Young M.A, long as she got a coochie. Say she got the strap and the toolie, say she put the crack in her booty."

Young M.A., who is openly gay, responded to fans' questions on Sunday (March 17) on her own IG Live about how she felt about the lyric.

 

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TSR STAFF: Tanya P.! @tanyaxpayne _________________________ #YoungMA responds to #KodakBlack after he included her in some NSFW lyrics on his song ‘Pimpin’ Ain’t Eazy.’ ____________________________ In the song, Kodak raps: “I don’t even see the confusion, I’m f****ing #YoungMa, as long as she got a coochie.” ___________________________ Needless to say Young MA wasn’t feeling the line, and said she might even pull up on him in Arizona. Both coincidentally have a show out there so we’ll see if this gets squashed or not 👀👀 (SWIPE)

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Mar 17, 2019 at 11:07am PDT

"Y'all keep talking about this Kodak situation. Y'all ni**as is weird, bro. ... Come on, obviously the n—a is weird, bro. Obviously, he on some sh*t, bro," she said. She and Kodak were both scheduled to perform at the Pot of Gold music festival in Arizona on Saturday. "I'll holla at him, if I get a chance to see him. Y'all do this internet sh*t too much, bro. I don't like the internet sh*t, bro. I don't like this internet sh*t. I deal with my issues in person."

Kodak Black then posted his response on Monday. The rapper has been charged with sexual assault, and is facing a possible 30 years in prison.

Kodak Black, a known rapist, sexually harrassing Young MA, a Black queer woman, reminds us of the following:

*Black women are still disposable.

*Black LGBTQ remain under attack.

*Hip Hop remains sexist and homophobic.

*People are still buying/supporting known sexual abusers.

— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) March 18, 2019

Kodak Black publicly harassing Young MA for sex as if he wasn’t charged with felony first degreee criminal sexual conduct and doesn’t have an upcoming rape trial he should be worried about https://t.co/RPTkxUFeiK

— Ivie Ani (@ivieani) March 18, 2019

it’s very very very very strange that kodak black, a man facing a r*pe charge, is harassing young ma for sex and the internet finds it funny. this place just gets weirder.

— Lauren Chanel Allen (@MichelleHux) March 18, 2019

Young MA is a lesbian. Plain and simple. What Kodak Black is doing is harassment. The responses are interesting because it shows how little many of you respect women who identify as Lesbian or women full stop for that matter.

— Richie Brave 🧼 (@RichieBrave) March 18, 2019

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation

DMX Delivers Powerful Sermon At Kanye West's Sunday Service

DMX commits to delivering the good word with his recent poignant prayer at Kanye West's latest "Sunday Service." His touching reflection was captured and shared on social media this past weekend.

“Father God thank you for making me righteous and acceptance through the blood of Jesus because of that I am blessed and highly favored by you,” the 48-year-old rapper preached. “I am the object of your affection, your favor surrounds me as a shield. And the first thing people come in contact with is my favorite shield. Thank you that I have favor with you and man today. All day long people go out of their way to help me.”

“Doors that were once closed are now open for me. I receive preferential treatment. I have special privileges,” he continued. “I am God’s favorite child…I have supernatural increases and promotion. Like the restoration of everything the devil has stolen from me. This is the day, time, and moment for me to experience the free grace of God.”

 

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The Free Favor of God 🙏

A post shared by DMX (@dmx) on Mar 17, 2019 at 4:44pm PDT

Since DMX was released from prison in January for tax evasion, the New York native has wasted no time getting back in the music scene and voicing his opinions. Never one to hold back his tongue, during his first interview since being a free man on Real 92.3, he expressed his distaste for this generation's latest crop of rappers, which heavily glorify drug usage.

"They're all promoting drug use," DMX said. "If that’s what you want to do, that's your business, but you ain't gotta promote it like it's cool and make it cool."

Nonetheless, if you're a fan of DMX's classic music, you're in for a treat as he's currently on tour to promote his legendary 1998 It's Dark And Hell Is Hot album. He's scheduled to perform in 32 cities throughout the course of two months.

In the meantime, get inspired and watch more of DMX speak the holy word below.

Morning prayer by DMX #SundayService pic.twitter.com/AGpMgUyF9U

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

 

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Sunday Service @divinebars @1shotdealz Ye

A post shared by DMX (@dmx) on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:00pm PDT

Her favorite part of the week is dancing during Sunday Service pic.twitter.com/yhiDhBqBY5

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

Power pic.twitter.com/7X9rXwkdOW

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

Lift Yourself pic.twitter.com/VLFclhXpRO

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

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R&B Singer Andre "Mr. Rhythm" Williams Passes Away At 82

R&B singer and producer Andre Williams, who was best known as Mr. Rhythm, has passed away, Pravda Records confirms . The entertainer reportedly passed away on Sunday (Mar. 17) at the age of 82.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary artist Andre Williams," the Chicago-based label wrote in a statement on Facebook. "He died this after in Chicago at the age of 82. He touched our lives and the lives of countless others. We love you Dre."

William's manager, Kenn Goodman, told Billboard that the singer lost his battle to colon cancer while staying in hospice care. "He was diagnosed two weeks ago with colon cancer that spread to his lungs and brain," Goodman said. "After that his body started shutting down pretty quickly. But [he] was committed to trying to sing and record again."

Born Zephire "Andre" Williams, he moved from Alabama to Detroit as a teen in the early 1950s to launch his  music career. He gained local attention after winning the first place prize at the Warfield Theatre's amateur night show eight weeks in a row.

Williams then signed to Fortune Records and took over as the lead vocalist of the group, The Five Dollars. The group was later renamed Andre Williams and the Don Juans and released the top-10 charting single "Bacon Fat."

He would later go on to produce and record tracks including "The Stroke," "Humpin' Bumpin' & Thumpin'," the Five Dutones' "Shake a Tail Feather" and other Fortune Records singles like "Jail Bait" and "The Greasy Chicken."

In his later years, Williams continued to make music. He toured through Europe in 2001, 2005, and 2006, as well as produced a handful of indie compilation albums and group records. Williams was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2012.

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