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What 6 Producers Really Think About Daniel On 'Insecure'

We rounded up producers TrakGirl, Melo-X and Thelonius Martin to see what they really think about Daniel on 'Insecure.'

Each and every Sunday, there’s endless discourse on the characters on Issa Rae’s hit HBO show, Insecure. #LawrenceHive spent the first few episodes of this third season feeling bad for themselves (just like Lawrence did the first two seasons, so it’s only natural) with the sorry ex-boyfriend’s absence from the show allowing us to get to know Issa’s fallback bae and partner in cheating, Daniel.

In prior seasons, Daniel came across as the one that got away. Additionally, he’s been very pridefully pursuing his career as a music producer; something he’s long been committed to. But in these Daniel-centered episodes this season, we got to know the more insecure (if you will) side of the self-proclaimed Issa Dee ride-or-die.

Until now, our view of Daniel’s work as a music producer has been founded in late night studio sessions with mood lighting with hella bud and a lovable performance for Issa’s kids at career day. This season, however, with Issa’s close proximity to Daniel (on his goddamn couch), we see how unsure of himself he is as Issa sidekicks him to the club to see Khalil and Spyder, the self-doubt when he questions calling Khalil, the stubbornness when he can’t seem to grasp collaborating with Khalil, his pride when Issa tries to talk to him about his falling out with Khalil, and his ego when comparing his success to Khalil’s.

Most memorably, when given the chance to put some sounds together with Khalil for his friend and the major artist he works closely with, Spyder, Daniel opts to play his own beats rather than the one Khalil made some additional contributions to. Ultimately, he ends up hurting his relationship with Khalil and being quickly looked over by Spyder.

We spoke to producers of some of your favorite music about Daniel’s character and how he conducts his business in the music industry.


Michael Uzowuru


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Tune into the first #HYPETRAKMix ever -- featuring Michael Ozuwuru

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Production Credits: Jorja Smith’s “February 3rd,” Frank Ocean’s “Chanel,” “Nights,” “Rushes To,” Earl Sweatshirt’s “Pre,” and executive produced and has writing credits on Kevin Abstract’s album, American Boyfriend

On Daniel: “First of all, I hate when people think they are doing more or what they are working on is “better” because they are using live instrumentation like Daniel does. The situation with Spyder was graciously brought to him by his friend and he’s allowed his pride to ruin it. I hate that. Being so blinded with pride, he refuses to be grateful to this guy Khalil that is actually his friend. Being mad is one thing but playing your own version in the studio is snakelike and if I were in Khalil’s shoes I’d find it hard to work with him again. His ego is too unhealthy and his beats don’t slap enough to be a successful producer.”



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plotting future nigga activities

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Production Credits: Beyonce’s “Sorry” and co-writing on Beyonce’s “Hold Up,” and scored music for Beyonce’s Lemonade, and designed sounds for her Formation Tour and On The Run Tours, as well as PartyNextDoor’s Summer’s Over Tour.

On Daniel: “Daniel going through sh*t. Dead a**. The collaborative creative process should always be just a process, not a competition unless that’s how y'all communicate. Like me and NXGN have super collaborative sessions. Tons of good ideas and bad ones fly around. We may agree, disagree, or agree to disagree on certain things, but once we have something complete that we all f**k with, it’s go time.

Daniel did some silly snake sh*t when he played the original as if it were the final project. He wasn't confident, that’s why. I’ve had people say sh*t was wack in a session or not feeling the direction. As a producer you’re supposed to find the balance in your own creative direction and the needs of the artist your working with. Daniel the type a n***a that working with other producers should be a breeze when both of your intent is making the most fire sh*t. If Daniel wasn't confident in the piece, he should have just said that at the first session.

Daniel wants to be different for the sake of being different. He actually liked the drums on the track but because they were modern in sound, he shunned it. Don’t be that n***a. And don’t be the n***a that does everything with no originality. Just be honest with what you are willing and not willing to do creatively. People respect that always. And if they don’t, f**k ‘em!”



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Almost time to get back in the DJ booth.

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Production Credits: Belly’s “Maintain,” Jhene Aiko’s “Overstimulated,” Omarion’s “Ode To Tae”

On Daniel: “His social anxiety happens a lot when linking with artists that he doesn't really know but his ego about chasing the artist (Spyder) down really is going to be a hindrance for his career. I'm surprised he didn't want to get the connection from Khalil. Daniel has to separate his personal feelings about Khalil to take care of business with Spyder. His ego cost him his opportunity with Spyder by playing his version of the track instead of playing the track he did with Khalil.

Even if you don't know an artist, the circle is so small. I'm always one step away from the artist I would love to work with. But unlike Daniel, I like to build with an artist way before we even talk about doing music together. I think because music is so intimate, and that artist is sharing something deep, I think having a connection helps when creating.

I respect that Daniel has his own production style and really focused on instrumentation but what caught him out there with collaborating with Khalil was he wasn't willing to really co-produce and listen to Khalil's direction. Khalil has already done tracks for Spyder, so Daniel not taking his direction was silly.

I love to collaborate with other producers. I think that’s a part of learning. Also records that I hear today… it's not done alone. It's refreshing to get another perspective and ears on your music. I'm all about a vibe but Daniel seems like he is super impatient and not interested in building with Spyder at all, which is a turn off for most.

Lastly, I love the fact that Daniel is a true studio rat (inside the studio and at his house set up). I totally understand turning down favors for people who don't take their craft seriously. My life motto is ‘forever a student.’ I think it's key to be a student to your craft and this industry. I learn something new every day. Even though his record didn't make the cut on the Ty Dolla Sign album, it still was a good look for him, his ego just can't see it.”


Julio Ulloa

Production Credits: Dr. Dre’s Compton and is an in-house audio engineer for Aftermath Entertainment

On Daniel: “I think Daniel is someone who isn’t a team player and will step on the next person’s toes in order to get ahead. His ego is too big for his own good, and he doesn’t realize he’s sabotaging himself. When Khalil told him to make the changes on the beat he should have just played ball and realized it could have lead to more opportunities later down the line. He ruined a great relationship with the person who brought him in the building, and the music wasn’t really impressive.”

Thelonious Martin

Production Credits: ASAP Rocky’s “Back Home,” “Bomaye” featuring Joey Purp, Topaz Jones, Michael Christmas’ “Just Blaze”

On Daniel: “I feel like whoever in the writers’ room that dated a producer gave us a bad rep. He's WAY too prideful. It's one thing to own your sound but it's another to have this superiority complex that hinders him at every opportunity. He has this misconstrued path he's set up for himself, and his ego is one giant road block he's failed to observe. Khalil isn't trying to stop him from succeeding, he's actually helping him genuinely and that mountain of pride is hindering Daniel from even seeing it. I'd highly advise to be careful in the art of collaboration but not to be overbearing to the point of where he's guarded. Word of advice: if another producer has a lead or an in with another artist, follow the other producer. Never overstep boundaries in those situations, you can screw up your chances of working with that artist or even worse, damage the relationship between the other producer and artist.

Studio etiquette goes as follows: Stay open to new ideas when it comes to collaboration. Stay true to yourself, but never to a fault. Learn how to shine with others and watch the glow burn brighter. Never make your collaborators look bad.”



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#HumanTorchDrumKit link in bio! 📷@whoisjohnjeffrey

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Production credits: Meek Mill’s “I Don’t Know,” Kevin Gates’ “Around Me,” Trae the Truth’s “I’m On 2.0” featuring Big K.R.I.T., Jadakiss, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, B.o.B., and Tyga

On Daniel: “He’s a pretty typical wide-eyed producer; kinda like someone who just moved to L.A. He’s not wrong, a lot of producers are really like that. He obviously loves the game and is super passionate. The scenarios are real. [Laughs] He overthinks mad stuff like many of us producers (not me). He is pretty corny, but most of us have our corny moments. He is a good dude overall, though. Let’s see how he progresses after he gets a few wins.”

READ MORE: Raphael Saadiq Talks New Music, ‘Insecure,’ And Why Tony! Toni! Toné! Won’t Reunite

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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A look back at the collaborator's up and down relationship.
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Remember The Time: 10 Times Drake And Kanye West Were Stronger Together

Kanye West and Drake aren’t exactly in the best place at the moment. West’s Dec. 13 Twitter rant detailed their issues, in which he accuses Drake of “sneak dissing” and threatening him.

“You sneak dissing on [Travis Scott] records and texting Kris [Jenner] talking about how’s the family.” he wrote among many other tweets and allegations against the Scorpion MC.

While this is a bump in the road, the two haven’t always been enemies. Despite the shenanigans surrounding them, Kanye West and Drake have had a very fruitful relationship. All drama aside, the duo have created many memorable moments in hip-hop and pop culture. They’ve written and recorded some incredible songs and shared countless stages during concerts and tours.

To abstain from dwelling on the negativity, VIBE has collected a list of moments taking you through the high points in the rappers’ relationship. Check it out below.


Drake's Freestyles Over Many Beats By 'Ye

Before he was one of the most sought-after rappers in the world, Drizzy has looked up to Kanye West and sampled his work. For “Say What’s Real,” a single off his mixtape So Far Gone, the “In My Feelings” MC sampled Yeezy’s “Say You Will” off of his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. The admiration continued throughout the years, resulting in more freestyles over songs like “Swagga Like Us” and “Barry Bonds.” Both tracks feature beats created by the Chi-town native. 

‘Thank Me Later’ Proves Their Shared Power 

After meeting in 2009, the duo came together to bring Drake's Thank Me Later album to the next level. They collaborated on two tracks- the futuristic love songs “Show Me A Good Time,” and “Find Your Love.” With West holding down production, deep-pocketed 808’s and table-top scratch sounds were highlighted. The accolades for the latter song resulted in the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as they created their own lane.

Drake Calls Kanye “The Most Influential Person”

In a 2009 interview, the then-industry rookie had some nice words for West. Speaking specifically about the 41-year-old’s 808’s and Heartbreak album, the Toronto rapper described ‘Ye as "the most influential person” who was important to young emcees in the game.

"Before I ever got the chance to meet him, Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes," Drake said. He knows how to utilize great sounds and great music. So before I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I'd even go as far as to say he's the most influential person as far as a musician that I'd ever had in my life."

Their Collaborations On Wax 

The pair has been making music together for nearly 10 years, with some standout tracks including “Forever,” the remix to “All Of The Lights,” and “Pop Style.” On their 2017 song “Glow” off of Drake’s playlist More Life, both rappers discuss their growing, limitless success. West was rumored to initially appear on Drizzy’s smash-hit “Nice For What.” He reportedly had a verse on the critically-acclaimed track until the beef between Drake and his G.O.O.D. Music cohort Pusha T became lethal.

The Joint Mixtape That Never Happened

Drake and Kanye are no strangers when it comes to making joint albums with other artists. Drake worked with Future on the platinum-selling album What A Time To Be Alive, while Kanye released Watch The Throne with JAY-Z to critical acclaim. However, it has been hinted for the longest time that the two were working on a full-length album of their own.

Kanye confirmed the plan to release an album with Drake to Vogue in 2016, shortly after hinting at a joint project during OVO Fest. The Take Care rapper co-signed the announcement, saying "What my brother was asking before was, are you ready if we make an album?"

Drake Writing For Kanye’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’

Drake wrote a song for Kanye’s 2016 effort, The Life of Pablo. The Canadian hip-hop star helped pen the Isaac Hayes and Nelly-sampled “30 Hours.” Drizzy was also reportedly on the original, unreleased version of Pablo’s “Wolves,” which featured Icelandic artist Bjork (the album version features Vic Mensa and Sia).

The Duo Become Friendly, Competitive Neighbors

By the time of their initial meeting in 2009, Kanye already clocked in nearly a decade of music industry knowledge, and Drake was making the transition from teen TV star to full-time rapper. But who would have thought the duo would have eventually become actual neighbors?

Drake eventually moved to Calabasas, Calif.- a neighborhood in Los Angeles many celebrities call home- around the same time West began publicly dating his now-wife, Kim Kardashian. In the 2016 bop “Summer Sixteen,” Drizzy jokes, “Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye / And look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine's just bigger's what I’m saying.”


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Kanye Supports OVO Fest

Drake created a hip-hop festival called OVO Fest in 2010. Not only does it feature notable acts in urban music, but it also gave a platform to upcoming artists from Canada who might not have gotten a platform back home. Kanye West was one of the first supports of the music event, performing at three of the festivals.

He also admitted that Drake inspired him and JAY-Z to record Watch The Throne during 2013’s OVO Fest, stating, "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this ni**a wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects.”

Kanye Apologizes To Drake Over G.O.O.D. Music Album Rollouts

Earlier this fall, Kanye West apologized to Drake in a series of tweets for planning the rollout of albums by artists under his G.O.O.D music roster around the proposed release of Scorpion.

In one of the tweets, Kanye wrote “Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place. We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.” In another tweet, ‘Ye revealed that he never listened to the diss tracks between him and Pusha, and didn’t have conversations regarding Drake’s child with him.

Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place … We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.

— ye (@kanyewest) September 5, 2018

They Shared Laughs Over Meek Mill Memes

Drake and Meek Mill were in an infamous feud back in 2015. After performing his diss track aimed at Meek- "Back to Back”- at the 2015 OVO Fest, Drizzy, Kanye, and Will Smith enjoyed a laugh over the countless memes mocking the Philly MC.

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Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

What a year 2018 has been for music lovers.

Listeners enjoyed a buffet of diverse melodies, savoring in the choice of curating the tunes they craved as opposed to consuming more than they can digest. Rumored albums from veterans like Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V and The Carters' first joint project battled its way to the top of our personal charts alongside music's innovators like Noname, The Internet, Buddy, and Janelle Monae.

Within that aforementioned list of artists, a new generation of lyricists and vocalists found their footing with fans and critics alike. The rising crop of talent released projects that should motivate each of them to carve out space for forthcoming awards. While we took into account the albums released from Dec. 1, 2017 to Nov. 20, 2018, that moved us emotionally, we also checked off a list of requirements like replay value, overall production, critical reception, and cultural impact.

Here are the 30 albums (in alphabetical order, not ranked), that instilled pride in our culture, made us take a look within, and encouraged us to appreciate music all over again.

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

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