LADE Sheds Light on His New ‘YORK’ Brand and Talks Hip-Hop Revolution

LADE is a rapper and producer that has put forth some impressive works over the past few years (he used to go by other aliases: Dgh, Doughmars, Je$us). He’s had a few songs of his own and produced a few great tracks for other artists. Namely those on Lord Byron’s Frozen 10 awarded Dark Arts Vol. 2 album, and on Shinobi’s (formerly known as Sir Milo) Corner Stores and Iron Horses.
Lately, he’s been working on building his new YORK imprint, and in talks of collaboration with Blu. After several months of inaction, he’s ready to unveil what he’s been working on.

Over the past year or so you’ve been showing a lot of sneak peeks of your York brand, but the details of it is shrouded in mystery. Can you define to us what ‘York’ is?
LADE: It’s basically a brand that’s starting out music based for now. Music, Videos, Artwork, and eventually stylized tours/concerts. I’m basically behind every facet of it and I’m properly working my way into investing into artists of all kinds to bring the brand to a multi-dimensional reality.

Have you ever heard of the Blue Ocean Strategy? It seems like that’s the type of mindset you’re bringing into this brand.
LADE: Yes, the art of creating what they call “blue oceans” of uncontested market space. Bits and pieces of that book I’ve been using as inspiration to minimize competition. I believe in the music industry today there’s lots of demand that’s not currently being paid attention to. Me, being a strong fan of both the business and artistic sides of the music industry, I feel a unique kind of enthusiasm to bring them to the forefront.

I know you have a really strong passion for hip-hop, but you also seem to be very critical of the current landscape. What do you feel hip-hop needs right now?
LADE: Hip Hop needs an entire reinvention that will take years to accomplish. African Americans critical of the culture need to get in business schools, study the practices behind the scenes, and take back their own culture that they claim Caucasians have “stolen”.
What I plan to do for hip hop is something I can’t do alone, which is why I plan on investing into hopefully a lot of aspiring artists and giving lots of people a chance to make something of themselves by not only benefiting this brand, but by benefiting themselves.

I remember you had a sort of call to arms for people who want to improve hip-hop culture and rap music a good while ago. Are any of those people part of the current movement you’ve got cooking up?
LADE: Yeah. That’s the most difficult part. Getting people who mutually support your vision is stressful, as most people think your plan won’t work, or they just flat out don’t take it seriously. Most people don’t take an idea seriously until it blows up and it’s making millions.As of right now I only have two childhood friends as silent partners. Besides that, I’m basically carrying this myself. For the moment. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to jump on your ship ASAP. You have to work and show why you deserve that support. Not only is it unrealistic it’s also a little narcissist. To think people are supposed to immediately invest all this hope in you even though you haven’t shown as much promise as all these other geniuses out here who’ve done their work already.

You must have some radical moves in mind, at least by common perception.
LADE: Radical is probably the most accurate term.

You’ve been quiet for a long time. Have you been working on a lot of different content, or on one big piece?
LADE: A lot of different content, but devoted about two months to one piece. Just trying to make the product as effective as possible without being over complicated. I’m a firm believer in simplicity. But it’s not simple to create simplicity, contrary to popular belief.
At least I don’t think it is.

I guess we’ll have to see. So you’ve made music in the past from rapping, to beats, to remixes. What kind of sound can we expect next from you?
LADE: Basically a combination of everything that I’ve been influenced by. And that hybrid of styles will be my initial platform musically, but as years go on, it will grow step by step into new territories. Even through other artists that I plan to be the engine for.

You’ve expressed an interest in doing R&B, is that something in the works or a longterm goal/project?
LADE: I plan to make a separate R&B/soul based division of York. For starters I will eventually have a R&B artist to headline it before that division actually becomes a thing.

In a lot of your production, particularly the most recent, it’s really abysmal (in a deep way) and cavernous. I’m not much of an R&B person, but it seems like a unique sound to the genre. Is that kind of production style slated for the York R&B music?
LADE: Absolutely. I intend to bring a different dimension to R&B music. Not to dismiss R&B of the past or present, because there will be a heavy inspiration of past R&B into what I tend to create. I’m basically just twisting the standard a bit.

So you’re going to be the face of production in your York imprint?
LADE: Yes. 100% of the production will be by me and me only.

There’s a huge standard that separates producers from beat makers. Which are you, and what do you think that standard is?
LADE: Producers are beatmakers who direct a project and have a vision. Beatmakers are just those who make beats and give them out to whoever has money. I’m a producer. Never really believed in the art of having one of my beats on a project if I’m not going to produce the whole project. There’s exceptions here and there but once in a blue moon.

Interesting. The best projects are when the vocalist and producer build together directly?
LADE: Sounds cliché, but yes. Not to say every album with different producers isn’t focused. But the producer and artist has to have a certain chemistry for the project to be more believable.

I kind of asked this already, but is that a mindset you’re bringing into your upcoming release?
LADE: Pretty much being that I’m artistically in charge of the entire thing.

Cool, what’s the timeframe for this release?
LADE: March at the latest. Before then is mini promo.

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Itz My Single Picks (5/13)

No intro needed.

Doughmars does it again with his new track 24k. On this track he uses a consistent rhyme schemes and powerful vocabulary to express a player, you-can’t-touch-me type of demeanor. The production on here is also impressive with its old-school, cinematic sound with an intentional lo-fi quality that helps define the term “retroyork” which Mars describes his music as.

Southern artist, Tito Lopez releases this glitzy-sounding single for his new mixtape called “Y.O.U”.  It’s one some come-up humble stuff as far as the content. He also has double features on this with Trae the Truth and Jameel. This is one of the better verses that I’ve heard from Trae lately, though he uses this flow in excess and Jameel shows up impressively as a relatively unknown rapper.

The Architect from the Flatbush Zombies drops a little track to show something new from the gang. It feels like forever since one of them have made or been on a track. Anyway, this song is super groovy, something to easily get you up out your seat and/or head bobbing. Erick also shows a recurring improvement in his delivery. Easy playlist spot.

OWLKINGLORD also makes a heavily entertaining song with this obnoxious and misogynistic track called “Decent” to be featured on his upcoming project called Black Bruce Lee. This song also features the talented emcee, Frostbite and is produced by Suede Moccasins who has tons of other impressive work. I’m interested to see what the KING comes up with in his next feature-length.

Itz My Single Picks 4/27

 

What’s crackin ya’ll, I’m back with a couple of cold releases to finish off the month of April

First off I got this intense double-time track ripper known as Rickee Stylez. This guy spits like a machine gun over the “Bonfire” instrumental with incredible aggression and charismatic personality. SCR

Next up this track from Doughmars, who also made the instrumental. The result is a really mellow old-school sound with catchy lyrics sprinkled on top of it. The talking samples also add a nice vibe to this song. Overall it kinda puts you in this different zone with its overall sound.

Ab-soul does some trademark verbal origami with his wordplay on this “The End is Near” song. Mac Miller also shows up impressively on the instrumental. Just another little teaser from Ab to give his fans before his next project, shows he still has bars.

Also got some euphoric tunes from some other west coast cats. It’s off some “today’s gonna be a good day” type stuff. I’m loving the jazzy piano. Features my boy Prometheus Brown from the Blue Scholars.

itzdadiabolical