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When Collaborating With Other Artists, Don’t Settle

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Dick Grayson first suited up as Robin, Boy Wonder in Detective Comics # 38. Batman took the 8-year-old child under his wing, adopting him as a legal ward of the state. The Caped Crusader would morph the child into a valuable asset for the former’s everlasting battle for Gotham’s streets; forging a partnership that has withstood the test of time (the original comic came out in 1940). The relationship — up until Robin chose to become Nightwing — consisted of Batman taking the lead and Robin following accordingly. With Batman in charge, the two-man team soundly defeated ghoulish and criminal entities time and time again.

There was a reason for the duo’s continued success; besides the creativity of the comic’s authors penning the storylines. With the stronger hero and personality in charge, being Batman, Robin followed suit; finding ways to emulate Batman’s success and grow as a hero. This made proceedings fairly predictable but effective. Their track record, nearly unblemished, goes to show that someone taking the lead is much more effective than meeting somewhere in the middle ground.

In rap music, this kind of relationship doesn’t exist. In a genre defined by fake relationships, the concept of fraternalism becomes that much more important. The age-old mantra gifted to the public time and time again is that the industry is fake, rappers are bogus, and relationships are strictly for business purposes. It’s why genuine friendships constructed through industry experiences are celebrated by the media; Drake and Future’s unlikely connection — previously on the outs because of the latter’s comments about being better than the Canadian crooner — was the subject of many memes in its heyday. Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, two artists of a similar ilk, are known to be close associates. Just recently, Lil Durk and Tee Grizzley publically declared their brotherly love for each other, becoming best friends in the process.

These types of relationships that form inside and outside of rap usually lead back into it in the form of collaborative projects. Friends, eager to celebrate and capitalize from their peers’ successes, hop in the booth together and give fans what they want from both; a best of both worlds collective effort that’ll surely knock the socks off of fans worldwide. Only, in nearly every case so far, results have been lackluster across the board.

 

Huncho Jack is perhaps the latest example of collaboration albums that stunk. Both artists have collaborated on a number of occasions, most notably on“Pick Up The Phone” from the former’s Birds In The Trap Sing Brian McKnight; Scott also credits Quavo for inspiring the name behind the album. Both have startlingly different recording styles; Scott uses autotune to support his zany rap-singing mix and warbles affectionally over constantly changing production while Quavo is silky smooth, primarily a trap aficionado who can drop a tone or two when necessary. The two’s consummation was heavily anticipated by fans worldwide, finally releasing on Dec. 21. While it does contain some bangers that will carry fans throughout the winter, the general consensus of the tape is that it is a missed opportunity. There’s a little bit of both worlds, but ultimately not enough of either one to be considered memorable.

When multiple star-level forces collide to create music, it often times results in a success — see “biebs in the trap” by Travis Scott and Nav or “Motorsport” by Migos, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj. On single songs, the primary artist taps the other to meet them at their aesthetic, crafting their vocals to match their song’s intensity and style. The problem arises when artists come together to create a body of work without establishing a lead. A middle meeting ground solves nothing, only complicating the sonic message that both artists are trying to portray.

Drake and Future’s What A Time To Be Alive lacked the staying power to warrant it as anything but a passing fad. Drake’s intimate singing and rapping style contrasted heavily with Future’s more direct, yet spacey, method of warbling. The beat choices used on the project, a jarring mix of both’s preferred styles, only exaggerated this point, leading to some great recordings that followed into questionable ones. “Jumpman” was a rare feat that captured both artists in their best lights, while the following track “Jersey” lacked Drake entirely, presumably because he wouldn’t fit in on the Monster-esque production. On the very next track, “30 for 30 Freestyle,” Drake chimes in for a solemn outing, backed by softly-strung piano keys and muted bass. The contrast between the three tracks highlighted the fact that individually, both artists are amazing, but together, when trying to strike the right mix of both aesthetics, the two suffer considerably.

Perhaps the camaraderie that exists between artists is harder to marriage on wax then they let on to be. This would explain why Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole’s long-rumored project has never come to fruition. Or why artist and producer projects like Gucci Mane’s DropTopWop and Big Sean’s Double or Nothing — both featuring Metro Boomin as the projects’ beatsmith — often fair better critically than two artists collaborative works. Producers cater to the needs of the artist versus finding common ground. The latter would lead to some less than worthy results. Without the proper lead, the arrangements feel empty and barren. By this time next year, neither of these projects will remain remembered.

The enduring success of Batman and Robin as an iconic team, able to defeat nearly any villain in the history of the heroes’ lore, should encourage musicians to rethink their approaches to crafting collaborative projects. Huncho Jack should have been the talk of the town but has already received an alarming dropoff in appreciation so soon after its release because of the two powerhouses being unable to establish whose setting the stage for the other to join. It’s not about showcasing bravado or taking the backseat to the other’s arrangements — it’s about creating something wholesome that will be memorable for fans everywhere.

4sho Ave.

Professional Sports Agent Sal Jobe Takes Athletes To New Heights With Next Level Collective

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Sal Jobe, who is a novelist, actor, and professional sports agent, who was born and bred in East London, has gone a long way from the youthful passion-fueled athlete who played football all through school and competed in numerous competitions. He became acutely aware of the difficulties that come with not having an agent throughout the course of his athletic career.

“I had the physical ability and mental capacity to rise through the ranks, but something was missing. Later on, I realized that I needed someone who could pull strings and support me in my bid to be the best,” shared Sal Jobe.

This well-respected expert is now representing some of the greatest names in the business, driven by the desire to serve as a pillar for others. Sal Jobe, the CEO of Next Level Collective, a fast-growing organization that helps the world’s most elite athletes achieve greater heights, has earned a reputation for going above and beyond in connecting individuals under his wing with the chances they require.

It’s no wonder that Sal Jobe draws inspiration from well-known figures who have helped hopefuls achieve success. He’s looked up to powerhouses like Will Smith, Eric Thomas, and Michael Jordan from the start, not just because they’ve all overcome adversity and come out on top, but also because of how they’ve used their clout to help others.

Sal Jobe has steered a lengthy list of doers in the correct way thus far, and he continues to win the respect of countless sportsmen. His skills, as well as the fact that he is aware of the realities faced by athletes all over the world, have helped him create a respected reputation in the field. Furthermore, by his personal tale of perseverance in the face of adversity, he was able to gain the trust and respect of a large number of people.

Sal Jobe may be anticipated to do much more in the future years as he solidifies his reputation. Sal Jobe hopes to pave the way to success for more athletes and self-starters by establishing new agencies and publishing books that shed light on what it takes to achieve one’s goals. Regardless of the nature of his future endeavors, one thing will remain constant: the reminder that life’s difficulties may come and go, but they will not stay indefinitely.

Keep up with him on Instagram @saljobeofficial.

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Rising Artist Nokki Cabrera Announces ‘Trap Salsa’ Debut EP Arriving July 15

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Delivering music that’s the best of both worlds, Nokki Cabrera is here to claim her title as the ‘Princess of Trap Salsa.’ Rising artist Nokki Cabrera is getting ready to release her debut EP Trap Salsa, which will be out July 15th, 2021 on all platforms. The upcoming project includes 6 tracks that showcase her range, talent, and creativity as an artist, as well as show the world what she’s capable of. For Cabrera, her inspiration and motivation for making music is about making people feel confident and empowered, and Trap Salsa does exactly that.

Trap Salsa is about love, optimism, living your life to the fullest, seeing the beauty in things, and never taking anything for granted,” said Nokki Cabrera. “When people listen to this project, I pray they feel confident, embraced, and loved. I want people to feel light and to want to express themselves in positive ways.”

Trap Salsa sees the Tampa, Florida native leaning into her Cuban roots and newfound artistry. Her sound combines traditional salsa music with heavily influenced American trap music as the base. ‘Trap’ resembles her American side, while ‘Salsa’ resembles her Cuban side. The upcoming project demonstrates Cabrera’s ability to thrive as a singer while staying true to her roots and creating a sound that is fun, energetic, and inspired by her childhood.

“As a child, my parents would play all sorts of Latin music in the house, since Spanish is their first language,” Cabrera said. “I’m a first-generation Cuban American so I wanted my music to represent that as well.”

Having built her own organic fanbase on TikTok and Instagram, Nokki Cabrera is now here to show the world what she’s capable of. She’s ready to manifest the singing and performing career she’s always envisioned as a child. With the upcoming release of her debut project ‘Trap Salsa,’ audiences are in for a ride.

FOLLOW NOKKI AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR ‘TRAP SALSA’ OUT JULY 15.
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INTERVIEW: Kevin Kartier Is Straight From The Mississippi Mudd

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Kevin Kartier

Kevin Kartier has been putting on for his area for years. The blog era was generous to him, and his peers have always respected him. His work in music has been consistent for almost 10 years now. He and his partner Tevaar Smith have done all they can to make it out and create a bridge from the Gulf Coast to the rest of the music industry. After putting together multiple playlists and entertainment seminars, Kevin’s mission to do it for the ‘Sip is nowhere near finished. His latest project, ‘Vibes & Vices,’ shows his growth as an emcee. With 8 tracks and features from Smoke DZA & fellow Mississippian Josh Waters, you have a project full of heart. Clocking in just a little under 30 minutes, Kevin leaves his fans with just enough to know that he’s ready for the big time. The Sony/Orchard distributed project has experienced a lot of playlisting support on DSPs and solid placements on various outlets. Not too shabby for a rapper from the 3rd coast!

Check out our interesting Q & A here!

Q: What does your area mean to you?

Kevin K: Being from Mississippi and specifically the Gulf Coast means a lot to me. I used to look at it like
it was a negative or it worked against me being from Mississippi but I realized it directly led to me
becoming who I am today. Being from Mississippi means being resilient, hard-working, and creative.
We’re used to doing the most with the least down here. That pride is directly what led to the creation of
Mississippi Mudd.

Q: As partners from an area with much music business infrastructure, who inspired you all?

Kevin K: When I was younger, I was really motivated by Jay-Z’s early story. He started as an
artist that nobody really wanted to sign, so he got with his boys and created a label. They built the
company around Jay and were able to lay the foundation for an empire. Jay was 28 when
Reasonable Doubt dropped, but he also knew it was a chess game, not checkers, and I think
that attitude helped guide him to where he is now. That kind of long-term thinking inspires me.

Kevin Kartier & Tevaar Smith

Q: What do you want fans to know about your upcoming project, Vibes & Vices?

Kevin K: Vibes & Vices is my official debut album and is a long time coming. As they say, an
artist’s debut album is the summation of their life and times up to that point. I think I’ve always
been technically, mechanically a good rapper, but this project really shows my growth and
depths as a real songwriter and performer. These are all songs that allow me to talk about the more
personal subject matter but are also timeless and are relatable to the listener. I’ve really been
able to “let go” more as a songwriter, and I think it shows. These words, thoughts, and feelings
have allowed me to go to another level performance-wise too.

Q: What made you all start doing your Mississippi Mudd playlist?

Kevin K: It all relates back to being from Mississippi and feeling like there was a distinct lack of
resources and outlets as compared to other areas. And instead of running away from it, Tevaar
(my manager) and I decided to face it head-on and begin the process of creating those needed
platforms and opportunities. Mississippi Mudd was born directly from that desire to help
Mississippi grows and connects all the dope creatives in the state.

Q: Can you talk about how difficult or easy it has been to continue to work during the pandemic?

Kevin K: I’ve been fortunate to have been able to stay busy during the pandemic. I actually have a
degree in film, so it’s been a wild time trying to freelance and stay active. Still, I was fortunate
enough to link up with a local videographer, and that was a great way to keep working and in
a way that I can still kind of have a say in what happens. Plus, I took the time during the pandemic
to really work on Vibes and Vices and keep myself back into the mode of a recording artist and
writing/recording. I’ve been able to work with different producers and engineers, too, which has
been a blessing.

Q: You have features with Smoke DZA, Cyhi, and many others! Who is your dream collaborator in
the future?

Kevin K: Yea, I’ve been able to work with some pretty dope artists, and I don’t take that for granted.
In the future, as far as other artists, I’d like to get one with Curren$y as he is a legend and
someone I’ve personally been a fan of for years.

Q: What are your goals for the rest of the year?

Kevin K: My biggest goal is to rollout Vibes & Vices and shares with the world these
songs and videos that represent a milestone and where I am in my life right now.

Being able to share all of the hard work and creative energy that was put into this
record from not just me but all the producers, engineers, and other artists. It
really was a labor of love, and I hope the listener gets that feeling whenever they
hear any of the music.

Peep his new album Vibes & Vices today!

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