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‘No Love in The City’: An Interview With Vars City

“We don’t look at any outside acts for inspiration. We inspire each other to get better, and we wanted to…

“We don’t look at any outside acts for inspiration. We inspire each other to get better, and we wanted to make music with each other since we were real friends.” -Donni Fresco

Recently, I had a chance to chat with South Jersey Hip-Hop and R&B group Vars City about their latest music, recent tour, and overall dynamism of the clique. Vars City is a collective of three talented men who came together through friendship, for the common love of music. Donni Fresco, Von Bruce, and Don Wonder united their different backgrounds and became a powerhouse on a mission. From making major moves like performing in Hot 97’s Who’s Next? Showcase, to being featured on Revolt.com, the guys are now rocking shows on their very own tour across the east coast. Hailing from a place where there’s constantly No Love in The City, Vars City has proved that when it comes to their success, there are no limitations that will keep them from it. With all the madness going on with shows and promotion, I was able to get some of their busy time to chat.

Check out my interview with the guys of Vars City below.

'No Love in The City': An Interview With Vars City

Vars City? Interesting name, where did it come from?

Don WonderThe name Vars City actually came from our original name, Vars Academy. We eventually started to feel like we were outgrowing that name and we had started saying Vars City in a song and it sounded dope so it stuck

Where is Vars City hailing from?

Don WonderWe’re from Jersey. Specifically, the 609, South Jersey region.

How did you guys come together?

Von Bruce- We went to high school together and lived on the same street so it was only right that we made music together too.

In today’s music, no one really has one sound any more. What would you guys describe your “sound” to be like?

Donni Fresco We’d describe our sound as a mixture of Hip-hop and R&B. It has a melodic feel to it that’s really easy to vibe to.

I saw that you guys were on the Hot 97 WHO’s NEXT? Showcase. How did Vars City get to be a part of that?

Don Wonder That came from Scottie Beam hearing our music and rocking with it. We sent a few songs to her for her “Scottie Feedback” series. At the time she had Naomi Zeichner & Lakin Imani from The Fader & Mikey Fresh from Vibe & Miss Info with her as guests.

Donni Fresco They all cosigned and really rocked with the music and then she said she was thinking about having us for the show. We really ain’t think anything of it until she reached out to us.

Von Bruce Yea it was a really dope experience, that we’re glad we were a part of.

You have big names watching your moves like Hot 97, Revolt…what did it mean for you guys to have Revolt curate an audio premier for you on their website?

 Von BruceIt kind of validates all the hard work we put in but it lets us know that we still have some ways to go.

'No Love in The City': An Interview With Vars City

 You guys have just dropped your debut project, ‘No Love in The City.’ Does that title stem from a deeper feeling about where you are from?

Donni FrescoYeah it does. It comes from feeling like no one from your area is really behind you, at all. So you just gotta block them out, focus on yourself, family and close friends.

How do you guys handle negativity from people who may not necessarily like your music, or are hating on your success?

Von BruceWe’re not really thinking about that. Everybody has their own opinions. We’re just focused on making what we think is the best music possible.

Being a group of unique individuals, how does each member maintain their individuality, while representing the group as a whole?

Von Bruce- The goal is always to push that Vars City brand first, but we’re all unique individuals who bring a different and distinct vibe to the group.

Don Wonder– And I think us as individuals have no problem with letting one person shine, because it’ll only end up making the group better in the long run.

We haven’t seen too many male groups lately in the music industry. Who are you guys’ inspirations? What made you want to be a group?

Donni FrescoWe don’t look at any outside acts for inspiration. We inspire each other to get better, and we wanted to make music with each other since we were real friends.

I saw that you guys have recently started a tour to promote ‘No Love in The City’ How was the first show in Philly? Where to next?

Von Bruce– The Philly show was dope. It was the first time we got to perform a lot of those songs and it was dope seeing the crowd have such great energy. We have another show in Philly on the July 2nd.

What is next for Vars City?

Von BruceMore visuals, more music. Just expect a lot of content coming soon.

Lastly, If you guys could drop any gems for our viewers at AAHipHop, what would it be?

Donni FrescoNLITC Available everywhere. Go get that!

 

 

Amber Corrine or call me AC, (its fine) lol. YouTube personality| videographer-singer-writer-photographer. I like to dabble in all kinds of media. I am a two-time college grad and I run my own beauty&lifestyle website www.ambercorrine.com
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Reily Marte Keeps it Authentic For His Fans

“Always keep it real … people [will] feel what you’re saying in your music.”

Brooklyn-born Florida resident Reily Marte is currently making noise with his new single “Nobody Else,” which is presently steaming on all important platforms. The song is the second drop from his upcoming album Patience, a title that is a subtle plea to his fanbase. “The album stands for being patient with the songs I’m creating,” he tells AAHH. “Be patient; I got vibes for you all to listen to coming soon.”

Reily was introduced to the music industry at the young age of 13 by his father. “Dad was more focused on the Spanish scene,” he notes, “but there’s still little tips I get from him and learn from him.” Fast forward, he’s now a multi-faceted creative and a one-man team. “[I] record, mix and master all [my] songs,” he states proudly.

The upcoming LP promises to deliver a plethora of vibes to attract a multitude of different listeners to his music. “My sound can go from a dark feel to an uptempo dancehall style to a soulful RnB type of sound,” he says, citing Eli Sostre, Drake, and a handful of regional artists as influences.

“My goal in the industry is to show the younger generation that you can create different types of sounds and still get support from fans,” he states confidently. “If you’re authentic with your music people will respect it.”

“Always keep it real … people [will] feel what you’re saying in your music.”

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Famous Dex Talks New Album & Dual Identities In Exclusive Interview

“I didn’t [really] just discover them, it’s always been like that.”

Coated in Diamonds, with a Gucci bag draped at his hip, Chicago rapper Famous Dex took the stage in a black werewolf T-shirt at New York’s Gold Bar on March 27 to premiere his new album Dex Vs. Dexter, and to receive a gold certification plaque for his bouncy track “Pick It Up” with A$AP Rocky. The album, while still flux in braggadocio lyrics, demonstrates creative growth for the rapper. Released on April 6th, the date was personally chosen by Dex to coincide with the three year anniversary of his mother’s passing from breast cancer. “It’s influenced my hustle. Everything I do now has a greater purpose because of her,” Dex told Above Average Hip-Hop. “The decisions I make with my family and my career, I always consider what she would tell me.”

The project’s theme of separate entities, while not a foreign concept in Hip-Hop, paints the audacious artist as someone more than how he appears to fans. “I didn’t [really] just discover them, it’s always been like that,” the artist said of his two identities. “Dex is the romantic guy,” he said with a laugh, “Dex is single, well both Dex and Dexter are single, but Dex loves women, chilling, vibing, [and] not doing too much. Sometimes people see me on a video, and I’m really laid back, that’s Dex.” In contrast, ‘Dexter’ is the artist everyone is familiar with. “He’s a clown, wild, crazy with ad-libs and everything. Dexter is who most people know in my music.” The two characters are fully realized on the albums cover art, with “Dex” sprawled on a green leather couch with a girl on his lap, while “Dexter” zooms around the couch in an animated form.

 
In contrast to Dex’s previous work, the rapper’s official debut is heavy on pop influences. The hook on “Prove It,” is layered in a pop-rock guitar riff and steady 808 drums. “Take this ride with me, sip this Hennessy, I got bands on me…Ooh girl you so sweet,” Dex sings in the third verse. Another drastic musical departure for the mumble rapper comes in the form of “LIGHT,” a radio-ready single featuring pop-rock quartet Drax Project. “Aw man, Drax! I love those guys,” Dex said of working with the band. “It just happened, I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I’m not going to question God because it’s dope! I’ve never made a song like that before.” Dex sings on the track alongside the group, his gooey auto-tuned vocals harmonizing with Drax.

However, Dex still makes room on his debut to tackle familiar territory. “LIGHT” is followed by “Celine,” a barely-two-minute bouncy interlude that finds the rapper reassuring his fans not everything has changed. “My favorite track to get hype to is ‘Celine.’ That song is fire,” Dex said. “It’s so natural to me, and I love to perform it.” Other tracks like the lead single “Japan,” “Take Her” with Wiz Khalifa and the album’s intro “DMD” find Dex in his comfort zone as he tackles beats by Pi’erre Bourne and J Gramm, among others. “This whole album is a celebration,” Dex said. Even with a new album just released, Dex is already planning his next steps. “I’m already working on my next album, Rich Forever got something fire coming out soon, so be on the lookout for that.”

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“My Dear Melancholy” is Bone-Chillingly Beautiful

Judging from the dark subject matter that has typified Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye’s catalogue to date–which includes rampant drug abuse,…

Judging from the dark subject matter that has typified Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye’s catalogue to date–which includes rampant drug abuse, his struggles as a homeless young-adult, and suicidal thoughts–few could have guessed that it would be his short stint with a former Disney Channel star that would leave him at his lowest. The Starboy crooner leaves little to speculation on his latest commercial release, My Dear Melancholy, a succinct six-song EP inarguably based on the fallout after his recent fling with pop star Selena Gomez. 

While The Weeknd’s anguish seems genuine and makes you feel for the guy, it’s impossible to ignore the glaring irony in his recent complaints, one, given Gomez’ goody-two-shoes persona, and even more so given the overtly misogynistic lyrics that Tesfaye is so well known for. Here are a few in case you need a reminder (no pun intended):

From the track “Party Monster” off of Starboy: “Woke up by a girl I don’t even know her name.”

From the smash hit “The Hills” off of the 2015 release Beauty Behind the Madness: “I only call you when it’s half past five, the only time I’d ever call you mine.”

Later on the same track, “I just fucked two bitches ‘fore I saw you.” 

Lastly, on the track “Reminder,” also off of Starboy: “When I travel ’round the globe, make a couple mil’ a show, and I come back to my city, I fuck every girl I know.” 

With that being said, musically, My Dear Melancholy is bone-chillingly beautiful. The Weeknd returns to his dark and cavernous House of Balloons roots on the project while still maintaining his newfound pop sensibilities. Rattling bass, slow, driving percussion, and subtle, haunting synths and keys cproductions. The production on most of My Dear Melancholy leaves room for Tesfaye’s vocals to take the driver’s seat, unlike that of the brighter and grandiose Starboy. From a lyrical standpoint, the EP is peppered with moving, weighty bars:

Off of “Wasted Times:” “I don’t wanna wake up if you ain’t laying next to me.”

Off of “Call Out My Name,” the opener: “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life,” a reference to Gomez’ recent search for a kidney donor

Tesfaye saves the best for last, providing the most melodically beautiful and lyrically clever portion of the EP on the closing track “Privilege,” as he repeats in a despondent, Vocoder-enhanced tone: “I got two red pills, to take the blues away.”

It is hard to deny the allure of much of The Weeknd’s work, regardless of lyrical content, due to the singer’s angelic voice and cutting-edge production. On My Dear Melancholy, Tesfaye achieves success from both a melodic and lyrical standpoint, substituting (for the most part) tales of apathetic sexual encounters for raw, vulnerable descriptions of his recent struggle with heartbreak. The Weeknd has finally found the middle ground between his groundbreaking, alt-R&B House of Balloons project and the poppy, Funk-infused Starboy. Lastly, to those Weeknd Stans worried about the Toronto star returning to normalcy, the singer explains on “Privilege:” 

“And I’ma fuck the pain away, and I know I’ll be okay…But I’ma drink the pain away, I’ll be back to my old ways.” 

Not to worry people; the Abel we’ve come to know, and love isn’t going anywhere.

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Cardi B’s Debut Album “Invasion of Privacy” Is Out Now

It’s almost a week since Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy dropped. Her fans, the Bardi Gang, are more than…

It’s almost a week since Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy dropped. Her fans, the Bardi Gang, are more than pleased with the LP, which has aldo managed to make those who weren’t fans, into new ones..

“I like proving niggas wrong, I do what they say I can’t,” raps Cardi B on “I Like It”

I can’t think of an artist that has had as bomb a breakout year as Cardi B has. She gave us the summer 2017 hit, “Bodak Yellow,” and since then, she’s been on the Billboard charts back to back (to back). The last ten months have been especially great to her, let alone this week. After releasing Invasion of Privacy, Cardi revealed her pregnancy with rapper Offset on “Saturday Night Live”; also, she was the first person ever to co-host The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Invasion of Privacy is an upfront look into Cardi’s everyday life. She’s confident, vulnerable and full of witty remarks. Laced into 13 tracks, the newly minted Quality Control management signee made anthems for the rest of the year. “Get Up 10” sets the bar for what’s to come on the project. Inspired by Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” intro, Cardi’s version is also broken into two parts about her ascension to the riches from the rags.

As well, the album includes “Bartier Cardi” with 21 savage, which recently earned platinum certification, and is still doing numbers.

 

Cardi B money moves on this album show her versatility. She dabbles into the trap sound with “Drip” featuring the Migos, shows her confidence and positive vibes on “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper, and gets very personal with “Be Careful,” a track addressing an unfaithful partner/boyfriend. Cardi is not the one to mess with!

Social media pundit-turned reality TV star-turned rapper is a way of saying that this girl from the Bronx, is made of grind and determination. You don’t have to like her music, the way she talks, or her persona, but you have to respect her hustle. She came from the bottom and executed her way to the top.

Listen to Cardi B’s debut album below.

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