Last week, the twelfth solo studio album by the rapper Jay-Z, Magna Carta … Holy Grail, burst forth from a cloud of calculated obfuscation. The release came with little of the usual promotional buildup: no radio single, no Rolling Stone cover. Instead, it was announced via a three-minute commercial during game five of the NBA Finals. Shot in vérité style, the ad purported to show the artist in his studio, his Brooklyn Nets cap slung backward, as he made gnomic pronouncements to producers Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz, and the graybeard Rick Rubin. “We need to write the new rules,” Jay-Z declared.
The kid that has the whole world's ears right now.
Kendrick Lamar realized his life had changed while backstage at one of his sold-out shows. “Let’s see,” he says, trying to paint the picture. “Dre’s there. Snoop is in the room. Beautiful women are in the room. Homeboys are in the room, and everyone’s just mingling, man. It’s one of those moments when you’re like, I’m really a rapper now.” He laughs to himself, the way one does when describing the convergence of fantasy and reality. “Shit like that trips you out,” he says. “Even just walking onto your tour bus and seeing a full-blown studio in there, you’re like, Damn, I’m really doing this shit.”
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I know I know, if you're in NY right now you don't even wanna look at extra fabric. Fly shit for Fall though. Barbour makes those perfect men's coats that will last you forever. Some of the new knitwear is great too.
My brothers had a surprise when they looked at Yeezus production credits and saw the familiar name of a kid they did a bit of music with a few years ago. Alejandro Ghersi, the brooklyn producer Arca, has been at this for a minute. I'm In It and Send It Up are probably a couple of the illest records on Ye's new project. You can thank this man.
How dope would it be if the jeans were like $100 or something? Jeans are like 2 something and pretty much sold out everywhere. The collection consists of a pair of denim, a couple plain tees, and a hoodie. I fuck with it. They focused on cut instead of design, which I'm all about.
*Some kid at Guardian put up a nice little gallery you can look at everything.
*Founder Jean Touitou talked to GQ a little bit about how the collaboration came about. Go here.
My dog Steel just dropped his new album. Fuck with me you know I got it.
The mixtape opens with “Industry” by a rapper named Shirt. What sort of vibe were you going for with that? Shirt and I have been working together for a few years now, actually — I first produced a track for him on his album I Should Just Chill from like two or three years ago and then I did a few tracks on his next two albums after that, The Fuck and Rich Hours. I would describe the vibe of “Industry” as, um, hard as fuck! Does that make sense? That beat is tough as hell, and after I made it I had it for a few days and sent it over to him and he absolutely killed it.
Album is ridiculous. In case you were wondering, it's a real fucking Jay-Z album. Almost what feels like his first in years. Beats are vintage at times, and next level in the same breathe.
This all has been feeling extra special. About a week ago, Roc Nation held a scavenger hunt for fans to find a limited # of specially made lyric booklets. My brother 2ESAE of art collective URNEWYORK was one of those fans to retrieve a copy by pure chance. Naturally, him and SKI decided to take it up a notch, painting over and creating individual work on top of the 20 hard sheets in the book. They actually called me and asked if I thought it was a good idea. I said yeah definitely. 4 fucking days later word had gotten to Hov himself and the guys were invited to the official release party. 4 days from dream to reality.
Anything in this world is possible with hard work and some imagination. Today, the duo are giving back 5 of the original lyric sheets in a city-wide scavenger hunt of their own. Follow @URNEWYORK for more details.
This guy just had another incredible year. This makes something like 20 years of excellence.
So how would you describe your role as a producer, in general?
Just as fan. Making music that I want to hear. You’re so close to something when you write it that it’s hard to have any perspective on how it hits someone else. My job is to be a professional version of the outside world—a listener who is not attached to any of it, who doesn’t know the story of how it was written, who doesn’t know how it works, who doesn’t know why this is important to you. Every record producer does something different. A lot of them are former engineers who come at it from the technical side.
But you’re not twiddling the knobs and positioning the mics ...
I come from more of the fan side. It’s not so much how we’re going to do it. Instead, I become a partner with the artist in trying to realize the best version of who they could be.
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