||Main >> News Listing >> May 2004 >> Article ID 4828
| Christina-Chingy Tour cancelled||Type: Internet Article|
|J-Kwon's 'Hood Hop' sounds charge for local rappers||May 06, 2004|
|Last week wasn't an especially good one for St. Louis' rappers. Chingy learned that Christina Aguilera called off their summer tour. Nelly, already dogged for his "Tip Drill" video, was accused in a suit by Florida music group Vokal of stealing its name for his clothing line. And J-Kwon's video shoot included unscripted gunfire.|
J-Kwon's Hoodfest concert Sunday at the Pageant should be relatively calm. The 18-year-old rapper's "Tipsy" sat at the top of Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks charts for a month, and his "Hood Hop" CD, produced by the Trackboyz duo, sold 125,000 copies its first week.
In addition to appearances by St. Lunatics and Jermaine Dupri, "Hood Hop" features several undiscovered St. Louis artists in guest spots. Here's a glance at those artists:
DeAndrae ("They Ask Me"): Singer DeAndrae jumped when the Trackboyz's Joe Capo called with an offer of work. "He said meet me at my house right now, so I went over and within that hour everything was done," he says of his contribution on J-Kwon's confessional "They Ask Me."
"I think it's one of the hottest of the hot joints on his album. It's telling all about his life, and I'm happy I could be a part of that," says DeAndrae, who expects to do more with the Trackboyz this year.
Until that happens, DeAndrae forges ahead with his budding career. He's seeking distribution for his CD, which includes production from Jazzy Jeff's Touch of Jazz.
DeAndrae, 23, who auditioned for the first season of "American Idol" but failed to pass the Nashville auditions, says his CD represents real music.
"I wanted to bring that Shai back," he says. "I want to bring that Silk back, that positive music. I'm trying to put it down on the R&B tip. I want to open the doors for that R&B. So expect some strong lyrics and dramatic, mellow music. My album has color, and there's something for the older people and the younger people."
Meanwhile, DeAndrae is taking part in the Finish Strong tour with the All-Stars, Xta-C, McGriff, Arvin Mitchell and others. The tour is geared to high schools: "We're trying to motivate kids to stay in school and encourage them to follow their dreams. Anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself."
Sadiyyah ("You & Me"): Singer Sadiyyah parted ways last year with Safire, the girl group from the Trak Starz (Chingy) camp. She's now on her own.
"I learned a lot from them," she says of her time with the group, now known as STL. "There's not even any hard feelings, and I hope they do well. I wish them the best of luck and thank them for the experience. If it weren't for the group, I wouldn't be as mature as I am now. The group introduced me to different aspects of the business."
Before the 15-year-old was part of Safire, she'd already recorded with rival production team the Trackboyz. That came about after she was heard singing in a barbershop when she was 11. She recorded her hook to "You & Me," the laid-back track on "Hood Hop," two years ago. At the time, it was going to be used for a rapper from the group Abyss.
"I think it still sounds like me," she says. "But I can do a lot more now. I've matured."
Sadiyyah didn't know her vocals would appear on "Hood Hop" until the CD was released.
"I got a little fame at school. People were asking me was it me or was it computers, and they're asking me to sing," says the Jennings Senior High sophomore who is receiving vocal training, writing songs and looking for a deal. "I've been chasing it for a really long time. J-Kwon really inspired me, and so did Chingy. I was always around them before they got big. I know I can do this. I know there's work involved, but I can do it."
Eboni Eyes ("Show Your Ass"): The Trackboyz are pushing Eboni Eyes as the sole female artist in their camp. She's featured on J-Kwon's "Show Your Ass," a title-says-it-all track that makes the young rapper laugh when she talks about it.
"It's a club banger," she says. "That's basically it. And I'm representing for a lot of women because I'm speaking on behalf of them."
Eboni Eyes was previously known around St. Louis as part of the female rap group Nazir, which released a self-titled EP in 2001 that featured "Spend Up." After four years with Nazir, she went solo about a year ago.
"She (the other half of Nazir) was having personal problems and wanted to fall back on the music thing, and I couldn't promise I'd wait," Eboni Eyes says. "I had to keep moving."
She says going solo is "a little more work for me. I'm used to not having to write whole songs by myself. Now I'm doing songs by myself, networking, everything. But I'm falling into place with it."
The artist, 23, is at work on a CD that will be mostly produced by the Trackboyz.
"I'll definitely be speaking on behalf of the women, though I got more of an aggressive style for a woman. That's why they don't know how to categorize me. I rap as hard as the guys."
Big B ("U Ain't Gotta Like Me"): Big B had an easy entry onto J-Kwon's "Hood Hop" CD. He says he and J-Kwon are practically brothers, and the rapper hooked him up with the Trackboyz.
"They liked my style, and that's all she wrote," Big B says. "I got kind of a laid-back, metaphorical style that everyone can relate to."
While J-Kwon is enjoying his fame, Big B, 22, is trying to get his name out there. He's already known around the underground rap circuit through appearances on various mix tapes.
"I've been doing my thing," says the self-described "gutter cat."
He's also one half of a duo featuring fellow rapper Kano.
"We're in the studio working on the album now, and it's going to be hot, the first rap duo out of St. Louis," he says. "The underground already heard of Big B and Kano, and we weren't even together yet. We were doing our own thing. But we're together now, and it's hot to death."
They're recording for DaWell label created by Sean "B.D." Caldwell, who is J-Kwon's manager and father figure.
"I've been rapping since I was 12 or 13, but I never took it seriously until B.D. came along," Big B says.
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