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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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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.


8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.


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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

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4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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