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Whateva Man: An Interview With SoShy

There’s something to be said for truly creative souls. You know, the ones who never stop thinking, never stop creating,…

There’s something to be said for truly creative souls. You know, the ones who never stop thinking, never stop creating, and who’s passion can never actually be extinguished. In this business, there are artists in it for the money and fame, and others who would do what they do, no matter what – because it’s not what they do, but who they are. France-born and LA-based singer/songwriter SoShy is one such creative. Over the course of a phone interview I recently conducted with her, I could feel the passion in her voice.

If you’re not familiar with her work, please know that she’s by no means a new jack in this industry. She initially signed a deal with Sony music around a decade ago, which mainly developed her songwriting skills – and helped to break her in as a professional artist. After moving to LA (from NYC), she signed a deal with Universal, and more specifically, with Timbaland. Her deal was meant to be not only for her solo work but also for her to work with Timbo and Universal to craft material for other artists. She officially introduced to the world on the track Morning After Dark, which appeared on Tim’s Shock Value 2 album.

She’s since dropped her solo project, Crack The Code on a Montreal – Canada – based label, and made waves with the singles City Of Angels, and Whateva Man featuring Novel. In the midst of continuing to work with other artists on the writing side, and feverishly recording material for her upcoming album dropping in the New Year, she took some time out to talk with us here at AAHIPHOP. We chatted about everything from unreleased material with Mark Ronson, working with AZ, and more. Check out the interview below.


Do you find it difficult to balance working with other artists, while still working on your music?

No, I don’t actually. Because one feeds the other. It took a while for me to find the dynamic in my writing. It’s about making sure that I don’t confuse both but, rather, keep them connected somehow so that whatever I can’t do for myself – because I need to keep my sound together – I can give to others.

Do you find it kind of liberating in a sense, doing it for other people? Like, you can go places you wouldn’t necessarily go with your name or brand attached to it…

That’s true. I think that it allows me to express myself in a way I couldn’t do with my own thing. It’s selfishly generous because in a way it feeds me – I kind of need to be needed. As an artist, if I’m true to myself, I need people to need me. I need to feel useful as an artist, as a vessel. At the same time, I just need to share things with others because I’m someone that’s going to die one day, and just want to make sure I can water certain seeds. Some of those seeds will serve certain artists, their journeys, and their situations. It’s very gratifying to do that, and yes, it’s therapeutic and liberating in a way.

Have you ever had a weird experience where you were working on something for someone else, and became overly attached to it?

It’s incredibly funny that you’re asking me this question because this just happened. This is so weird right now; this is mystical. So, yes, I was working on an artist. I’m not going to say her name. I didn’t end up working for her because of a geographic reason. I was not able to make it to Portugal (she’s a local artist out there). I was asked to write a couple songs and see where it goes. There was one song that I wrote, and I was really in the middle of my own thing. So that was recent, let’s say a couple of months ago. This song that I wrote, honestly, I realized instantly that it was just too personal. Again, I’m not going to say too good; you know what I mean? Because yeah, I write for others what I would write for myself. It had the same energy and the same soul. But I was speaking from such a personal and very subjective standpoint that I was like, this thing is too much of my baby for me to let it go – and the artist agreed. It will probably end up on my new album.

When you write for other people, do you often write from a personal place or do you just get to know them a bit and write something tailored for them?

The thing is, I didn’t get the chance this time to get to know the artist. It was a very cold order if you see what I mean. There was no human connection or interaction between the artist and me, because I think if that had happened, I would’ve probably really nailed it for the artist. I would’ve put myself in her shoes, and it didn’t happen like that. So I think that’s why I had more distance. Usually, I do need to interact with an artist.

How did you connect with AZ?

I connected with AZ through Baby Paul (Paul Hendrix ). He’s a producer who was involved in classic records by Nas, Smiff-and-Wessun, AZ and more. He was also an original member of the Beatminerz. So, I connected with them not because of AZ, but because of wanting to work together over Instagram. He hit me up. I didn’t know him personally – he just said, we should just work together. It wasn’t really for my project, just in general. We did some tracks, and one of them was Back To Myself. I didn’t know where it was going to go. I had no idea. And so, he said, “I want it to sound kind of like this song.” He gave me a reference, whatever. I said, “say no more.” I took a couple days. I wrote the hook. The whole thing was really about coming back. It’s a redemption song but in a street way. When AZ heard it, he jumped on it.

That’s beautiful. This is probably really hard but who have been your favorite artists that you’ve worked with?

That I’ve worked with? Here’s a few:

Mark Ronson was one of the people that I looked up to for a very long time. He wasn’t as big at the time. We’re talking 2003. We did a few songs that we never released. They were amazing songs, and I think that at the time… but at that time, it wasn’t where we wanted to go. I know Mark felt where I was going to go as an artist. There was just a clash between the label and what we wanted to do in the lab with Mark. However, it was an amazing experience. We met in London a year after and we still keep in touch. We talked about making a record together. I wanted to have him for my album.

John Legend was a great experience. I wrote a song back when I was at Sony called Without You. It was supposed to be just for me. I was at epic and John was at Columbia at the time – he still is. He heard that, and he wanted to jump on the song. So we met in London, and we recorded – it was very flattering. I mean, it was an honor for me to have him. We’ve been very good friends since then. Estelle, too. Back in London I had the opportunity to work on her project.

I mean obviously Timbaland. You know, I can’t forget about him because he is a big influence. I grew up on his records. I grew up on Aaliyah, I grew up on Magoo and him, and Missy – and for me to be a part of that even for a couple years is a blessing for me. I aspire to be a producer too at some point; I’m working on it. Being able to be in the studio and watching him at work was humbling to me.

I love that you said Magoo, because no one ever says Magoo. He is the dopest; I don’t care what they…

I don’t care what they say, dude. First of all, I will always stand for the underdog, number one, because I always feel like I’m one, too. But number two, I think he’s a dope rapper. He’s been very, very misunderstood. I think he’s dope. I don’t care what people say, he’s corny, he’s weird. I think he’s amazing. Whatever they did together, it worked.

Every time. Everything they did was on point.

Exactly, so underrated. I never leave him out. I don’t know who else, I mean there’s so many – just working with AZ. AZ is a legend; you know what I’m saying? AZ is not lazy. He’s a hardworking guy. He’s one of those underrated artists. I’m telling you, his comeback, his book he just released, and the Doe Or Die anniversary album… He’s back in a major way. It’s dope to have worked with him.

I also have to talk about Novel. Novel is a producer; he produced for Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis, and more. We’re talking big songs. He’s an amazing, rapper, singer. He produced a couple records of mine, including the song Whateva Man. He’s one of the people that mentored me and helped me understand music in different ways. I’m very blessed to know him. It’s humbling to be recognized and acknowledged. I probably forgot people because … I’ve had a chance to work with a lot of amazing artists, so yeah.

What do you want people to take away from your music? What do you want people that don’t know about you to know about you?

I don’t know if there’s anything I want them to know about me except for the fact that I’m truly genuine with what I do. Every time I’m going to release a song, it’s going to be extremely real to me and also true to the reality and the world I live in. I wouldn’t call myself a conscious artist, but I’m a conscious person. Meaning, when I write something, it has to be conscious. We cannot just talk about flowers and rainbows. At the same time, I completely don’t commend all the gangster rap and any gangster shit that’s going on. Whether it’s in hip-hop, rock or anything. I just want to heal people. I want them to feel better about themselves. I want to empower them. I’m trying to be a vessel here. I don’t want people to watch me shine. I’m trying to bring some light and bring some truth, and honestly, that’s the only thing that I want people to say about me.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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#IndieSpotlight: Major D-Star Drops Off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way” Visual

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to…

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to the records you were feeling the most. That’s the case for AAHH mainstay Major D-Star; after releasing his long-awaited Trap Star  mixtape back in February, he is dropping off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way,” a song I personally described as an illustration of his immense focus on his “current hustle of choice, music.”

RECENT: Major D-Star Drops “Trap Star” Mixtape

The video, like his others, delivers on quality. Directed by Wally Woo, with a multitude of scenery interspersed around a loose storyline of himself working as a mechanic — which he playfully describes as his way of “stacking and staying out the way” in the into — it gives ample life to one of his project’s most infectious earworms. If you have yet to bump his full mixtape, go ahead and click here; either way, press play on this catchy little banger, below.

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#IndieSpotlight: Silas Luster’s “W.A.V.” Is A Slice Of Subversive Goodness

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my…

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my thoughts on, but to be honest, it was a dense listen. Not in an unapproachable way, mind you. Instead, it’s like an onion made of many, discussion worthy layers, painted atop lush soundscapes that are (at points) reminiscent of OG EL-P production from the early Def Juxx days.

RELEVANT: Getting To Know Provincetown Artist Silas Luster

 
The EP kicks off with “Sion,” which starts with his wordy flow over a head-nodding instrumental that switches up halfway through, into this bongo drum pattern over which he drops the strongest verse easily on the project; I’d love to see it live. “Diewittit” is another song that I found myself revisiting over and over. His cadence and rhyme schemes at times have this loose appeal that reminds me of the Freestyle Fellowship-esque aura that dominated college radio in the 90s.

 
He speaks a lot about his journey, and also a lot of spiritual topics — from the universe to putting meditation over medicine. It’s a lot to unpack, in a good way. You can hear the spoken word elements that seem to be the backbone of his bars — check the acapella interlude “What’s Love?” as a great example of what I mean.

The almost haunting chorus on “O.S.H.N” wasn’t necessarily jarring but did set the song apart as a black sheep of the EP. Not that it’s a bad song — it’s one of the strongest tracks — but, it’s just a different vibe that stuck out to me.

Overall, I dig this EP a lot. If you find yourself a little inundated with the sea of Lil rappers, and the endless sea of meh that often dominates the mainstream consciousness, Silas offers up a slice of subversive Hip Hop. It’s music crafted to both cathartically get things off of his chest and also get your thinking — depending on your aptitude on some of his topics, maybe even get you googling and reading shit.

He is currently touring throughout New England and the Tri-State. Check the schedule.

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#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don’t Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an…

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an entity in so many different lanes within the industry from management, PR, writing, events, curation and much more. Within five years of the industry, Sprat has accomplished what takes many 20-30 years. The young 27-year-old mogul is creating an empire before our eyes, and it only seems to be getting more and more impressive. Why wouldn’t it?! From helping to bring artists such as Lud Foe, DDG, DaBaby, Smooky Margielaa, Albee Al, Sicko Mobb, Nikko Lafre and many more to the limelight, his resume is vast.

Take a look at our most recent interview with the Starting Five CEO as we discuss music, how to get in the industry, his journey and much more.

Make sure to follow Sprat on Twitter and IG @SpratFool

You’ve been in the music industry for only five years and have already created something massive. How did you do it and what is planned for the future?

Countless hours, grind, plotting and studying. I’ve learned, and LVL’d UP. That’s it. I knew if I put in the work, I would find a way. I go 3000% for whatever I do or whoever I work with. Some people make the same moves and expect things to change. Some people aren’t willing to starve to binge forever. I’m out here mastering and succeeding at whatever I do. I make sure of it. I’ve got an insane ear for music, that’s been known. That’s why some of your favorite A&R’s would be asking me to pull up to their office on the regular.

I’m here to take over though. I’m going to continue to put people into position and maintain my brand. The empire is forming; the foundation has been laid and built.

We recently saw in another interview that you have a new platform on the way? What’re the details on that? (If you can give us any)

NEW DAY, NEW WAVE (LITERALLY). Zias (Popular youtube star &influencer) and I are partnering up on a new media outlet x platform for something special. We’re about to surpass the field quick. Two powerful influencers, we already got the traffic between both of us, both widely connected. Run it up!

Bunch of content on the way from both of us

If you could tell someone looking to get into the industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

GRIND SMART. Bring something to the table. Your passion and time can go a long way. Learn. Be willing to do what the next man is not.

Do you know how much free time and work I gave out to get to where I am now?! Now my time costs. Money isn’t everything, in the beginning, work for your opportunity. People worried about $20-$5000 (Short term money) when sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture.

You wouldn’t want everyone to bring ketchup to the BBQ; you need someone to bring the bun, the burger, the juice, the drink and everything else. Do you feel me?! Same goes for the industry or any job you do in life. Bring something different to the table and create a demand for it. That’s when you create stock for yourself (You create worth).

What were you doing before becoming a music mogul?

I was doing the school thing before I decided to leave for music full time. I was making money however I needed to.

What new artists do you have your eye on?

NEW SIGNINGS on the way. I’m getting back in my artist bag 3000%. Look out for all of that. I got to hold my list down for the time being.

How did you get into PR?

Fresh Moss and Neako had me on a lot of PR type of moves early. I always studied and noticed was going on in the game. Got tired of hitting up a lot of these foolish and corny “Bloggers” and people that were out and around at the time that felt entitled. A lot of them aren’t even around anymore haha. Many didn’t want to see someone else moving faster or making something out of all this. I decided to take everything into my own hands. From then on I turned this PR wave into something masterful. Countless artists have popped off since through my PR, their ability and me connecting these dots on the daily.

Top 5 modern artists most likely in your daily music mix?

It all depends on the day and mood

Lately… DaBaby, pre kai ro, Lil Baby, YNW Melly, Stunna 4 Vegas & DaiDough. I’ve been bumping FBG Duck heavily as of late; bro got energy.

A few artists are rising out of New Jersey that you’ve been alerting us about for over a year or 2. From Daidough to Coi Leray and many more. New Jersey has some talent for sure, how do you think your state will hold up in 2019?

New Jersey is UP right now, and it’s only going to get crazier. A lot of artists doing their thing. Daidough got home and been going stupid. Coi Leray has been spazzing since G.A.N.

Albee Al doing him as always, Tsu Surf home and just dropped a fire project, Arsonal on damn TV, Fatboy SSE is outta here and in his lane, Mir Fontane been putting in work. Jersey got a wide variety of sounds, every city/town is different, North and South Jersey completely different.

Beyond the artists, there are so many talented people coming up out of NJ and doing their thing in this music industry or elsewhere. It’s great to see people winning from your home state.

We remember you going crazy at SXSW with Smooky Margielaa a few years back when he was only an artist with a 10k following, how did you all meet?

Shit, my man Mike had told me I had to bump something while we were in LA. The track happened to be ‘Layed up,’ heard it and it was a wrap for me. His mans was GRAPE, we were all in LA, so we all linked up at the apartment, vibed and got to work immediately. Started putting in that push, went to SXSW and went full force after SXSW. Glad to see Smooky up right now.

We dove into your Twitter and did a little google search on you while doing some more research. We saw you got into it a little with Akademiks online last year? LOL, tell us more?

LMAO! If you did some research like you said I’m sure you know what was said. Jersey people certainly don’t tolerate bullshit. I called BS on something he spoke on. Jersey got behind it. That’s it.

What ever happened to Nikko Lafre?

Man, I can’t speak on another man that’s not with me. We had something crazy growing, that’s where I’m going to leave it.

Drew Love out here winning though with THEY, Lee Beats out here winning, Johnny Rain out here still doing his thing up.

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Thoughts on R Kelly latest situation and documentary?

SHEESH! I don’t want to believe it, but it’s their right before our eyes. It’s a shame because his music and voice are legendary. I feel as though 60 Minutes would have been a more credible platform to present this problem to the world instead of a Lifetime documentary. I’d like to hear R Kelly voice his defense for sure, but regardless his actions are sickening. We’ll see how it taints his legacy, it is 2019 so who knows.

2019 plans?

REGULATE

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire #Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

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#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don’t Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an…

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an entity in so many different lanes within the industry from management, PR, writing, events, curation and much more. Within five years of the industry, Sprat has accomplished what takes many 20-30 years. The young 27-year-old mogul is creating an empire before our eyes, and it only seems to be getting more and more impressive. Why wouldn’t it?! From helping to bring artists such as Lud Foe, DDG, DaBaby, Smooky Margielaa, Albee Al, Sicko Mobb, Nikko Lafre and many more to the limelight, his resume is vast.

Take a look at our most recent interview with the Starting Five CEO as we discuss music, how to get in the industry, his journey and much more.

Make sure to follow Sprat on Twitter and IG @SpratFool

You’ve been in the music industry for only five years and have already created something massive. How did you do it and what is planned for the future?

Countless hours, grind, plotting and studying. I’ve learned, and LVL’d UP. That’s it. I knew if I put in the work, I would find a way. I go 3000% for whatever I do or whoever I work with. Some people make the same moves and expect things to change. Some people aren’t willing to starve to binge forever. I’m out here mastering and succeeding at whatever I do. I make sure of it. I’ve got an insane ear for music, that’s been known. That’s why some of your favorite A&R’s would be asking me to pull up to their office on the regular.

I’m here to take over though. I’m going to continue to put people into position and maintain my brand. The empire is forming; the foundation has been laid and built.

We recently saw in another interview that you have a new platform on the way? What’re the details on that? (If you can give us any)

NEW DAY, NEW WAVE (LITERALLY). Zias (Popular youtube star &influencer) and I are partnering up on a new media outlet x platform for something special. We’re about to surpass the field quick. Two powerful influencers, we already got the traffic between both of us, both widely connected. Run it up!

Bunch of content on the way from both of us

If you could tell someone looking to get into the industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

GRIND SMART. Bring something to the table. Your passion and time can go a long way. Learn. Be willing to do what the next man is not.

Do you know how much free time and work I gave out to get to where I am now?! Now my time costs. Money isn’t everything, in the beginning, work for your opportunity. People worried about $20-$5000 (Short term money) when sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture.

You wouldn’t want everyone to bring ketchup to the BBQ; you need someone to bring the bun, the burger, the juice, the drink and everything else. Do you feel me?! Same goes for the industry or any job you do in life. Bring something different to the table and create a demand for it. That’s when you create stock for yourself (You create worth).

What were you doing before becoming a music mogul?

I was doing the school thing before I decided to leave for music full time. I was making money however I needed to.

What new artists do you have your eye on?

NEW SIGNINGS on the way. I’m getting back in my artist bag 3000%. Look out for all of that. I got to hold my list down for the time being.

How did you get into PR?

Fresh Moss and Neako had me on a lot of PR type of moves early. I always studied and noticed was going on in the game. Got tired of hitting up a lot of these foolish and corny “Bloggers” and people that were out and around at the time that felt entitled. A lot of them aren’t even around anymore haha. Many didn’t want to see someone else moving faster or making something out of all this. I decided to take everything into my own hands. From then on I turned this PR wave into something masterful. Countless artists have popped off since through my PR, their ability and me connecting these dots on the daily.

Top 5 modern artists most likely in your daily music mix?

It all depends on the day and mood

Lately… DaBaby, pre kai ro, Lil Baby, YNW Melly, Stunna 4 Vegas & DaiDough. I’ve been bumping FBG Duck heavily as of late; bro got energy.

A few artists are rising out of New Jersey that you’ve been alerting us about for over a year or 2. From Daidough to Coi Leray and many more. New Jersey has some talent for sure, how do you think your state will hold up in 2019?

New Jersey is UP right now, and it’s only going to get crazier. A lot of artists doing their thing. Daidough got home and been going stupid. Coi Leray has been spazzing since G.A.N.

Albee Al doing him as always, Tsu Surf home and just dropped a fire project, Arsonal on damn TV, Fatboy SSE is outta here and in his lane, Mir Fontane been putting in work. Jersey got a wide variety of sounds, every city/town is different, North and South Jersey completely different.

Beyond the artists, there are so many talented people coming up out of NJ and doing their thing in this music industry or elsewhere. It’s great to see people winning from your home state.

We remember you going crazy at SXSW with Smooky Margielaa a few years back when he was only an artist with a 10k following, how did you all meet?

Shit, my man Mike had told me I had to bump something while we were in LA. The track happened to be ‘Layed up,’ heard it and it was a wrap for me. His mans was GRAPE, we were all in LA, so we all linked up at the apartment, vibed and got to work immediately. Started putting in that push, went to SXSW and went full force after SXSW. Glad to see Smooky up right now.

We dove into your Twitter and did a little google search on you while doing some more research. We saw you got into it a little with Akademiks online last year? LOL, tell us more?

LMAO! If you did some research like you said I’m sure you know what was said. Jersey people certainly don’t tolerate bullshit. I called BS on something he spoke on. Jersey got behind it. That’s it.

What ever happened to Nikko Lafre?

Man, I can’t speak on another man that’s not with me. We had something crazy growing, that’s where I’m going to leave it.

Drew Love out here winning though with THEY, Lee Beats out here winning, Johnny Rain out here still doing his thing up.

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Thoughts on R Kelly latest situation and documentary?

SHEESH! I don’t want to believe it, but it’s their right before our eyes. It’s a shame because his music and voice are legendary. I feel as though 60 Minutes would have been a more credible platform to present this problem to the world instead of a Lifetime documentary. I’d like to hear R Kelly voice his defense for sure, but regardless his actions are sickening. We’ll see how it taints his legacy, it is 2019 so who knows.

2019 plans?

REGULATE

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire #Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

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Fabolous – Summertime Shootouts

Some might not agree, but I feel Fabolous is the king of mixtapes. It seems like every time he drops...

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