Just last month, his single, “I Don’t Like” shot up the charts after Kanye West added himself, Big Sean, Pusha T, and Jadakiss to the remix. Within days, a bidding war ensued and the youngster was trying to choose between his three front-runners; YMB, CME, and Atlantic among others.
Now, it looks like the new teen dream has finally chosen a home at a major label, making his announcement last week.
“I’ve been talkin’ to a lot of labels, but I just noticed that Interscope got people like 50, Eminem,” he said. “They was talkin’ like I was talkin’ and I liked that. All these other labels, I was talkin’ to ‘em, but it’s time anyway for me and I’m goin’ with Interscope.”
Other interested parties put up a good fight, with heavy hitters like Birdman and T.I. clamoring to sign the sixteen-year-old Chicagoan. Last month, Birdman sounded confident that he would sign Keef to Cash Money Records.
“I like him, he kinda reminds me of us,” he told MTV News. “[He's] out the streets, I think he’s swagged up and I’m definitely talking to his people and I’d like to see if we can make it pop, see if I can see if I can get him to be down with the team.”
Like many others in the rap game, the YMCMG CEO seemed to be impressed by Keef’s youthful outlook.
At one point in “Mercy,” Kanye West’s most recent hit to climb the Billboard charts, Yeezy utters the line, “don’t do no press but I get the most press, kid.” Truer words, Kayne. And we’ll take any news that we can get from the rapper that doesn’t involve significant other Kim Kardashian.
According to British tabloid the Sun, West has been making plans to release an album consisting of “animal noises.” A source is quoted as saying that West has been, “obsessed with roars, barks and jungle noises,” and that the album is, “his next ingenious plan.” Right.
In more serious, much more likely to be true news, it appears that the G.O.O.D. Music album Cruel Summer will really be coming out this summer. Rapper and G.O.O.D. Music artist Pusha T mentioned a release date of August 7th for the upcoming album in a radio interview with Funkmaster Flex yesterday. There have also been hints of another Watch The Throne release, if frequent Kanye West collaborator and producer Mike Dean is to be believed. West is still out on his ostentatious Watch The Throne tour with fellow rapper Jay-Z.
The music industry is undergoing one of the largest shifts in recent history. For the first time ever, the folks behind the mixing board are getting just as much recognition as the pop starlets singing over their beats. In a sense, hip hop was the first genre to bring the producer/writer to the forefront with the likes of Dr. Dre, Primo, and Kanye, but even still the MC was the focal point as lyrical content was the most important aspect of the style.
Now, it is the button-pushers, knob-twisters, and fader-flickers that have taken the reigns of the music industry. As EDM continues to rise in popularity, a new breed of rock star seems to be emerging. These are mostly guys who spent their childhoods taking apart computers instead of learning power chords. Gathering production techniques from dark corners of Internet music production forums, instead of making out with groupies in dark corners of the club. Up until a couple years ago, electronic music production was very much a bedroom hobby for most of the community. Occasionally, if you had some real talent and the right connections, one or two of your singles might be picked up by some obscure European label, and a stream of royalty checks may start showing up in your mailbox, but only if DJs decided your track was worth the purchase. But even this model still kept the DJ relegated to a booth hidden from the crowd, the maestro of the party, not the focal point. As EDM shifts and takes on a new identity in America, a country so deeply invested in our celebrities, it makes sense that the DJ/Producer has moved out of the booth and onto the stage. Because of this, producers who often never intended to leave the confines of their bedroom are being thrust on stage and asked to develop some sort of live performance for a genre that is largely dominated by playing pre-recorded songs over a PA system. While we’re sure Kaskade and Avicii would not claim any reluctance to their newfound stardom; it certainly comes with some bumps in the road.
Take Deadmau5, arguably the biggest star EDM has seen since Tiesto, for example. Deadmau5, a.k.a. Joel Zimmerman, kicked off the electro-progressive-house revolution long before every frat boy in America was womping to Skrillex.
But he got his start as a computer programmer and sound designer. Always having an attraction to EDM after attending some of the illegal ’90s era warehouse raves, he spent much of his free time on music production forums, adopting the handle DEADMAU5 after finding a dead mouse (literally) behind the fan of his computer tower (the ’5′ was a necessary reduction to stay within the 8 character limit imposed on many early forums). His infamous mau5head has given him and his music an instantly recognizable brand; rabid fan base not withheld, making him the wealthiest of the “new generation” of EDM stars.
Fight fight fight!
The problem seemingly started with the release of “Exodus 21:3,” the diss track from G.O.O.D. stable member and one half of the Clipse Pusha T. We covered the track and the subsequent reaction from YMCMB head honcho Lil Wayne. With one strongly worded tweet, the fight was on. But who, exactly, is fighting?
There’s been bad blood brewing between Wayne and Pusha T for years. The first sign of beef between the two rappers seems to extend all the way back to 2006 when the Clipse was still a going concern. MissInfo.tv has a great rundown of how the beef developed; Pusha takes some subliminal (read: perceived) jabs at Wayne in the video and in the verses for the track “Mr. Me Too.”
From there, Wayne and Pusha exchange shots through radio interviews and in soundbites. This round of the squabble came to a head with a contentious interview from Lil Wayne in Complex Magazine. Fortunately, things had become relatively calm since then. In 2011, Pusha T actually congratulated Wayne on his recent release from incarceration on his Fear Of God mixtape:
So all word of drama between the two rappers was squashed… until “Exodus 23:1″ dropped.
There’s definitely something going on between Wayne and Pusha, but whether they’ll be able to work through this most recent animus is anyone’s guess. So how have the rest of G.O.O.D. Music and YMCMB reacted? Are guns being drawn? Well, not really.
Drake, arguably the most popular and public face of the YMCMB brand has been relatively quiet compared to his mentor Wayne. Drake and Pusha have also traded barbs in the past few months—Pusha may have been going after Drake when he went over the beat from “Dreams Money Can Buy” for his track “Don’t Fuck With Me”—but the Canadian MC has only commented on the war of words once at an appearance in Washington, D.C. Other members of YMCMB haven’t really chimed in, with the exception of Young Money Entertainment President Mack Maine, who compared Pusha T to a gnat in an interview with MTV. Said Maine, “(s)ometimes you swat it and the gnat dies; sometimes it just go away.”
So, is there really a beef between the two labels? In that same interview, Maine denied any discord between the two groups. Indeed, G.O.O.D. Music member Big Sean is featured on Lil Wayne’s most recent single “My Homies Still.” Sean himself dismissed perceptions of contention between G.O.O.D. and YMCMB. G.O.O.D. boss Kanye West has made mention of the beef (he’s too busy playing “N***as in Paris” 11 times in a row at Watch The Throne shows). In fact, the only other G.O.O.D. music member to make reference to the beef was Kid Cudi. And his tweet in response to the growing rabble around Pusha T didn’t really cast any aspersions. The Cudder just wanted to know that he has his homie’s back.
What’s the deal then with the YMCMB/G.O.O.D. Music fight? In hindsight, it seems that brewing battle between G.O.O.D. Music and YMCMB is little more than media-generated hoopla. As for Pusha T and Lil Wayne’s continued bickering, Andy Milonakis put it best.
When Krizz Kaliko released his fourth album, Kickin’ and Screamin with his single, “Kill Shit” featuring Tech N9ne and Twista, he reminded fans that the Chicago rapper is still relevant…and really fast.
Tech N9ne said he avoided writing his verse for the song for a week after hearing Twista’s lightning fast flow.
“I didn’t want to write it. I didn’t want to have to write after Twista. Twista’s a murderer so I ran from the track for a week,” he said on his blog. “I really don’t like rapping fast because it’s so hard to write but it’s one of my specialties. It was another reason I was running but once I sat down and did it, it came out superb. I think Twista killed everything on it. Everybody’s talking about how much they love my verse. I love it and I love how they love it but they really need to listen to Twista. That boy did something amazing. Yeah I didn’t want to write it and everyone came out beautiful…His verse is just so intricate. It’s just quadruple timing. The tricks that he’s doing in there, you just have to pay attention to his words and what he’s saying in there—so wonderful.”
Still, Twista has been downplaying the possibility of signing with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music since statements he made last month have sent speculations swirling.
He told Thisis50.com, “I don’t know what it’s going to be [with G.O.O.D. Music],” he said. “[The media] takes it the way they want to take it. [All I said was] that I’m open to sign with whomever as long as the situation is right…it’s all love. [Kanye and I] both from Chi Town and he’s been in the game doing his thing for a long time. I definitely don’t look at it like [I won't sign under a younger artist]. Like I said, as long as the situation’s right.”