Tag: Eminem

New Video: CHAII Returns with a Visual Meditation on Childhood

Earlier this year, I wrote about the rising Persian-born, New Zealand-based emcee and producer, CHAII. When she turned eight, her family migrated to New Zealand — and as it turns out, her first introduction to hip-hop was through Eminem, who at the time had just released The Marshall Mathers LP. Fueled by a growing interest in his music, the rising Persian-Kiwi emcee was rhyming along to his work before she really learned how to speak English. “Mr. Eminem was my English teacher,” CHAII recalls in press notes.

When she was 11, she stated to write her own rhymes to express everything she was feeling at the time — from being a confused third culture kid to her troubles adapting to a new way of life. As a high schooler, the rising Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee started to make beats to accompany her rhymes. At that point, she realized a deep love for all aspects of creating and writing music from writing, producing, recording and mixing. After several years of experimenting the Persian-Kiwi artist began developing her own unique sound, which features elements of traditional Persian music, experimental pop and hip-hop. The material she began releasing  is “the closest music to me and who I am,” she says. 

As an adult, she developed an interest in film, and that has created a synergistic approach to her creative efforts, centered around a decidedly DIY ethos. With the release of her debut single “South,” earlier this year, off her forthcoming debut effort Safar (Journey) the Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee exploded into the international scene with the track being featured by FENDI. She quickly followed that up with her second single, the urgent and defiant club banger “Digebasse.” Featuring lyrics in English and her native Farsi and a guest spot from Australian emcee B Wise, the track is fiery commentary on millennial social pressures that urges the listener to “say ‘enough’ and stand up for your rights.”  

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding her, CHAII’s third and latest single “Trouble” further cements her unique sound and approach: wobbling, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and percussive Southern Iranian drum patterns and the Persian-Kiwi’s commanding and self-assured delivery. And much like its predecessors, the new single continues the rising artist’s commentary on social pressures on millennials — particularly on women — paired with dance floor friendly production. 

Directed by the rising artist, the recently released and cinematically shot video follows a collection of children — both boys and girls — doing what kids everywhere do, and should be doing: playing soccer in the streets, riding bikes, hanging out and roughhousing, listening to music and daydreaming.  Interestingly, in the world of the video, the kids are of an age where they’re aware of the fact that they’re different genders — it’s obvious as day, after all — but i doesn’t seem to matter a whole lot. In their world, what seems to matter to them are things that are much more essential and meaningful: “Are you cool?” “Can you ball? You live nearby Can we get along?” 

The video’s protagonist, a young girl dressed in yellow is a symbolic doppelgänger of the artist as a child , that also captures what life as a child in her native Iran is generally like. “I wanted to capture my life as a kid, who grew up in Iran,” CHAII says in press notes. “She does all the awesome activities I did as a kid in Iran: playing soccer in the streets, listening to music on my cassette player, climbing trees, swimming in the river . . . Filming it was very surreal, like going back in a time capsule and resisting my childhood. I wanted to simply show a glimpse of my childhood, who I was and who I grew to be. You just never know where you’ll end up in the world and what you’d be doing.” 

Live Footage: Royce da 5’9″ Performs “Thou Shall” and “Overcomer” on Vevo’s Ctrl

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary (and aforementioned) DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The Roots‘ Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. 2014 also saw Royce da 5’9″ team up with Eminem on the posse cut “Detroit vs. Everybody.” 

Since then, the Detroit-based emcee released 2016’s solo album Layers, 2018’s Book of Ryan, which featured another ongoing collaboration with Eminem “Caterpillar,” that year’s second PRhyme album Phyme 2 and a guest spot of Eminem’s surprise release Kamikaze. 2020 continues a recent period of incredible prolificacy with the release of his eighth album, the 22 track The Allegory, which features guest spots from Westside Gunn, YBN Cordae, Benny the Butcher, and a boatload of others. 

Vevo’s Ctrl series highlights the work of hard-hitting, cutting-edge artists making an impact in today’s music scene with a focus on both emerging and established artists. The artists Vevo’s Ctrl series features are artists that the video platform believes demand attention, and the series is a way of shining a deserving spotlight on those artists. Recently, Vevo’s Ctrl invited the acclaimed Detroit-based emcee to their Brooklyn studios to perform two tracks off the album — “Overcomer” and “Thou Shall.” “Thou Shall” is centered around an eerie, RZA-like production: stuttering beats, a sinuous bass line and a looping string sample and eerie atmospherics while Royce da 5’9″ of bold and swaggering pronouncement of being doper than anyone else out there, full of pop cultural references with Kid Vishis slamming the door on anyone who may challenge them. “Overcomer” is centered around a looped and seemingly ancient soul sample and thumping beats while Royce da 5’9″ rhymes about blessings, the wisdom he’s earned, sociopolitical observations and more.

The performances that Vevo’s Ctrl captured are swaggering, passionate within an intimate yet minimalist setting.  

New Video: Introducing the Global Spanning Hip Hop of Persian-born, Kiwi-based CHAII

CHAII is a rising Persian-born, New Zealand emcee and producer. When she was eight, her family migrated to New Zealand — and as it turns out, she was first introduced to hip-hop through Eminem, who at the time had just released The Marshall Mathers LP. Fueled by a growing interest in his music, the rising Persian-Kiwi emcee and producer was rhyming along to his work before she really learned how to speak English. “Mr. Eminem was my English teacher, CHAII recalls in press notes. 

When she was 11, she stated to write her own rhymes to express everything she was feeling at the time — from being a confused third culture kid to her troubles adapting toa new way of life. As a high schooler, the rising Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee started to make beats to accompany her rhymes. At that point, she realized a deep love for all aspects of creating and writing music from writing, producing, recording and mixing,  And after several years of experimenting, CHAII developed her own sound, which feature elements of traditional Persian music, extra pop and hip-hip, eventually releasing material material that she says is “the closest music to me and who I am.” 

As an adult, she developed an interest in film, and that has created a synergistic approach to her creative efforts, centered around a decidedly DIY ethos. With the release of her debut single “South” earlier this year, which was featured by FENDI, the Persian-born, Kiwi-based emcee exploded into the international scene. Building upon a growing profile, CHAII recently released her latest single, the urgent and defiant “Digebasse,” the second single off her debut effort Safar (Journey). Interestingly, the track features tweeter and woofer rocking beats inspired by a Southern Iranian drum patterns, skittering hi-hats, buzzing synths and a rousing hook — and while being a propulsive club friendly banger, the track which features a guest spot from Australian emcee B Wise sees CHAII delivering an uplifting and defiant commentary on millennial social pressures in English and Farsi that CHAII says “is a positive and uplifting song to say ‘enough’ and to stand up for your rights.” 

B Wise’s guest verse highlights the need to be unified for a single purpose and the desire to be free, adding that “The song hit me from the first listen. It had an anti-establishment vibe to it, yet uplifting and uniting with a great message. The song is a major culture clash, so i had to jump on it!” 

The recently released video was directed by the rising Persian-Kiwi artist and was shot guerrilla-style in Oman with a cast of close friends and locals as extras. Featuring a vibrant and explosive color palette within a slick and modern production, the video reveals an ambitious and talented young artist ready to take over the world — and an intimate view into the world and culture that influenced the rising artist so deeply. In a larger sense, the song and the video are a larger reminder of the fact that hip-hop is the linga franca of the contemporary world. In Frankfurt-am-Main I’ve heard vendors playing Biggie’s “One More Chance” In Amsterdam I went to the Sugar Factory and heard young Dutch DJs spinning NWA and A Tribe Called Quest. And in Montreal, I heard local rappers spitting fire in French. If that doesn’t convince you, this will. Hip hop ain’t dead y’all. It’s as vital as ever. 

New Video: Introducing the Atmospheric and Brooding Sounds of Stockholm’s Sweden

Mark Ephraim is a Detroit, MI-born, Stockholm, Sweden-based producer, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and the creative mastermind behind post-punk project BadSkum, a project that features Ephraim collaborating with a rotating cast of local musicians, which when asked, Ephraim says “I stopped keeping anyone in a band with me too long because they always end up dying or plotting to kick me out.” Interestingly enough, the project can trace its origins to Ephraim relocating to Sweden after spending 16 years in New York as a producer and artist, developing his sound.

Ephraim’s latest single “Super Moon” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track that recalls Forget Yourself, Uninvited, Like the Clouds and Untitled #23-era The Church, as its centered around looping, shimmering guitar chords, and a propulsive yet somewhat easygoing backbeat and Ephraim’s crooning vocals.

Shot, directed and edited by Stellan Von Reybekiel, the recently released video was shot on an old VHS camcorder using an old tape that had old Friends taped on it; in fact, you could see a brief glimpse of Ross a the end. As Ephraim says of the video, “style plays a big part in the visual aspect of BadSkum. Every video is a bit like a comment on my past travels of experiences.” For “Turnstile Lovers,” he wore a Sudanese high school uniform he picked up from a friend who lived in Khartoum, and a handmade leopard track suit from Amman Jordan for “Proud Mary.” In this video, the Detroit-born, Stockholm-based producer, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist wore a sale rack Century 21 suit he had purchased to attend the Grammys, after receiving a nod for this work on Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP. Throughout the video, we see Ephraim preening and getting himself together and brooding over grainy and shaky VHS tape — and it manages to add to the song’s eerie air. 

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The RootsBlack Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. PRhyme 2, the duo’s long-awaited sophomore effort is slated for a March 16, 2018 and the album’s latest single “Rock It” features a swaggering production consisting of shimmering synths, twinkling keys, boom bap beats, some of Premier’s classic sampling and scratching which Royce da 5’9″ waxes nostalgic over some of his favorite artists, while reminding listeners that he’s one of contemporary hip-hop’s sadly under-appreciated emcees; but perhaps more important, in an age in which most mainstream artists increasingly sound the same, real hip-hop that I remember  — dope emcees spitting bars over slick and thumping production still exists and is still absolutely necessary.