The Hoy Polloy Exclusive & In depth Interview

Miami-based The Hoy Polloy sound is reminiscent of Childish Gambino, Gym Class Heroes, and The Roots. Over the years they have released seven different albums in various genres from rock to hip hop to Jazz, their latest album Valkyrie is hip hop.

The Hoy Polloy have linked up Grammy-nominated Hip Hop artist, Jadakiss, and daughter of legendary DJ Kid Capri, Vina Love, for their new single, Dangerousreleased in June 2019.

The Hoy Polloy Band

The Hoy Polloy Band

“Dangerous” is the first single off their just-released album Valkyrie” (September 17), which features Brooklyn rapper AZ, French R&B duo Les Nubians, Atlanta rapper Scotty ATL, Ariel Morer, UZO, Tay Evans, DJ Heron, FlynnFluence, Mustafa Shakir, KD of the NOC, and JO of the NOC. Multi-talented band’s frontman, K Sos sings plays sax, drums, bass, guitar, and piano.

Since 2009 their albums artwork has been designed by artist Nick Beary. Valkyrie cover is designed to embody the whole female-warrior perspective with the eyes closed. They wanted to create something that encompasses the darker side of the female protector.

Known primarily for their rock music, The Hoy Polloy boldly turned a page, venturing into the hip-hop arena in 2018. They debuted their first hip-hop album, No Pressure, and soon after joined the 24-city U.S. & Canada, Trust The Process II: Undefeated Tour, with rapper Ace Hood. Their resume also boasts opening appearances for Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Project Pat, GZA & KRS-One.

Read my interview with K SOS.

Why did you name your band after a Greek phrase?

So, when I was growing up, the neighborhood next to where I grew up was a very big Greek community. After my mom passed, my Dad and I used to go eat at this Greek restaurant all the time and when I was home one time visiting him, I just started the band and I didn’t want to go under just my solo name. I was brainstorming for titles and my dad said something about, “Oh well let the Hoy Polloy decide”, or something. And I was like Hoy Polloy?! And we had a laugh about it, and I was like that’s a cool name for a band. So, when I started the band, I wanted to not be any genre denomination. I wanted to do a little bit of everything: Rock, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Dance & beyond. So, I figured Hoy Polloy would be a cool name because it means We the People, The Masses. That way I feel like we didn’t leave anybody out by calling the band that. So, it’s kind of encompasses all of those things.

What’s your real name?

My real name is Neil Cantor actually. Which is also my dad’s name. When I started doing music, I decided to go by something different just kind of distinguish myself from my father. Even though he didn’t do music, it’s just something that has always stuck with me. All my friends over the years have converted to calling me K Sos. Even the ones that didn’t originally know me as that starting calling me K Sos and then people just really like the name Hoy Polloy. I was actually at Publix, which is the supermarket here. Like two days ago, some lady randomly walked up to me and she was like, “I love the band. Do you have a business card?” I carry CD’s (and usually business cards) in my pocket everywhere I go. If I leave the house without CD’s, it’s like I feel naked. Like I’m not prepared to talk to people because anybody who talks to me gets a CD, whether I’m at the Post Office or the Grocery Store or you know…if you come across me, you’re getting an album so…

That’s great. So, is that like your business card?

It is and I’ve been doing that now for 50,000 CDs. And I burned the first 20,000 of them myself. Back in the day. I had revolving process of burning, labeling, sleeving and bundling that was down to a science. It really helped.

Which album do you carry with you?

I have 24 albums altogether. So, I have, well, the last eight of them were actually officially pressed... Sometimes I carry like a couple of Rock, a couple of Hip-Hop with me depending on who I run into. Usually like I carry a couple of each genre, but it depends on the album or whatever is hot. Like right now we have one of my solo hip hop records and the band’s rock album that I carry around with me. So, give…people…depending on what vibe I get from you. Sometimes I just ask people, “Hey are you more into Rock or more into Hip-Hop?” So, if they say they’re more into Hip-Hop, I give them the No Pressure or Al Malnik album and if they like rock a Bye Bye Bogota.

So how do you go from Rock to rapper?

I was originally a Hip-hop artist. I worked with a band called No Ordinary Cats back in the day. We were based out of Orlando and after our first record, we did some big shows. We opened for Ludacris, we opened for Redman and Method Man. Toured with Curren$y. But the band, the rest of the band itself, was not about putting in work beyond making the music. They just wanted to create and weren’t interested in managing or promoting our success. Many musicians have trouble balancing both sides and that is understandable. At the end, I found myself kind of just doing everything. So, I decided that if I was going to do it all anyways that I was going to start my own band and so I moved to Miami. Fresh start. I started working in this back apartment in like Hollywood Beach with this guitar player. It was really fun at the time. I really thought at one point that The N.O.C. might get back together so, in the beginning, the Hoy was just a project we were doing for fun and all of a sudden, we had 20 songs and I was like we really should make a record out this.

I found that because I love music so much. We are working hard and continuing to sharpen my skills that I just I've always wanted to add stuff on and learn how to mix and master on my own. I mean all the composition from all the way to completion or at least I do it with somebody else who maybe has another set of ears and they engineer with me. But I’m there for every step of the process now over the years I've learned how to do it all and that way I don't have to relinquish control. And be like, “Oh well mix and master this for me.” Well, no I want to be part of the process. I want to tell you how I want it mixed and how I want it mastered and whom I want to shine-on on certain moments. As I’m sure you know Selma, the music business is fierce competition so I always worked extra hard to always continue to broaden my horizons, create new stuff ideas and learn new stuff. One, you’ll never get bored doing what you love and two it always gives fans something that surprises them.

Then K SOS showed me his awesome studio while we were video-talking via Skype

I’m going to give you a quick scan of my studio. Are you ready?

Selma: Alright. Wow, that’s your studio? Is that at home or somewhere else?

So, I basically gave up the chance of having a living room and created my giant studio here. We use to practice; the band used to practice here. The roof is soundproof. Even the floor is sound-proofed, padded, and multi-colored.

Yeah, color is very important to me. Especially in your work space because it helps stimulate your brain. Color is such a stimulator when you have so much going on and so when I go to sit down and write or whatever looking just even take a quick look around the room, I am poised to so many thoughts. Plus, it’s all full of music memorabilia everything from Barbra Streisand on the wall to ticket stubs from Tribe Called Quest and Van Morrison and tributes to Prince & Bowie. I have a life-size standup cardboard cutout of Michael Jackson. My cousin and I, that’s all we knew the first ten years of our lives. We used to choreograph our own dances and stuff when we were young. We used to do like little shows for my aunt and uncle and my parents and stuff.

Let’s talk about the Album.

The album Valkyrie is packed with so many great features. I mean Les Nubians and AZ are on there, some great local talent is on there, DJ Haron, Scotty, from Atlanta, um I mean we even got Mustafa Shakur, an actor who’s the villain in season 2 of Luke Cage which is a Marvel series on Netflix. He’s also a musician and he did a guest verse so we have such an eclectic lineup of features on this.

Valkyrie Album Cover

Valkyrie Album Cover

Why did you choose the name Valkyrie for your album?

Because Valkyries are the Female Warriors that kind of choose to live and die on the battlefield as kind of symbolically as to what they represent. Valkyrie is actually the first album I've ever done which is all collaborations. I wanted to work with some of my favorite artists. So, the Valkyrie concept, being the most bad-ass female warrior. For me translated to these are the best of the best collaborations and I can put together as an artist and so it kind of parallels that and I wanted to add a little bit of feminity to it because the album mostly except for one of the features is all male. So, I kind of wanted to have uh… you know there's so much misogyny in hip-hop these days and I hate that about hip hop. And so, for me I thought it was kind like celebrating feminism in its own way and hip hop is kind of important because you know it's the genre that doesn't always do such a good job of celebrating the female and so I felt like by putting a bad-ass female warrior on our cover, it’s like us saying we’re embracing you know all that it is awesome about the woman.

Tell me now about your songwriting.

I have a very strict process I go by. 90% of the time I work anywhere from about 9 or 10 a.m. to about 4 or 5 p.m. I work really good during the day time. I'm not as creative at night unfortunately but what I like to do is I roll up a joint. I set up whatever gear or instruments I inten to use. I sit down and I say to myself you know what am I feeling today? Do I want to compose music or do I want to make a beat or do I want to work with another producer and just right lyrics or whatever so I try to figure out what my body is trying to tell me to do and I call it kind of just submitting to the process but when I'm sitting down on my desk , trying my best to shut everything that I possibly can out of my mind or my phone away put everything away so that I just…And like I said with the studio, I have all my instruments and stuff set up so I can pick up my guitar if I’m feeling the guitar or the bass or my pianos right next to me. So, a lot of times I just start creating and I don't always worried about what it's going to become. I just do it and then when the session is over I look back and I'm like wow I just laid down all these parts or whatever and then so one day I may do all the music and then the next day I’m like, “Oh that was a great instrumental” and ill just write some lyrics or I might reach out to one of my producers or so then say do you guys have some new beats but I'm just trying to do just do lyrics today!

K Sos last words:

“You know I've been in a band a long time since I was 9 years old man, I'm 33 now. My only wish in this life is to be able to do it until the end.”

Hoy Polloy actually have two records been released in 2019, Valkyrie and then a Rock album which comes out on Valentine’s Day called Kiss the Princess.

Check out their website: http://www.thehoypolloy.com/bio.html

And YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC43kAAW9aWXRqXoDpWiNh-g


Swae Lee explains SR3MM cover, Jxmmi tells me his son's name - Exclusive

Monday, May 7th, Spotify and Rae Sremmurd threw a post-apocalyptic party and invited 300 of the duo’s biggest streaming fans to Spotify party in Downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the release of the duo’s new album, SR3MM.

Rae     Sremmurd

Rae Sremmurd

Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmis had a vision and Spotify brought worlds to life with vintage video games, pinball machines, toxic waste barrels with pineapples, nuclear drinks, construction lighting, green popcorn and a custom poster wall to create the post-apocalyptic vibes.

Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi both performed tracks from their individual solo chapters featured on SR3MM, Swae's SwaeCation and Jxmmi's Jxmtroduction. Swae entered the industrial compound on a throne carried by tropically dressed dancers and performed a few of his tracks including “Guatemala” on top of a shipping container. Following Swae’s performance, Jxmmi made his entrance on the back of a truck documented by drones with a stack of dollar bills in his hand. Motorcyclists circled Jxmmi’s performance of “Chanel” as he “made it rain” in the crowd.

Swae Lee

Swae Lee

I sat down with both artists’ backstage for an exclusive interview, I asked Swae why decorated his side of the stage with pineapples:

Swae Lee said: “The pineapples are rich in Vitamin C and the pineapples grow in tropical places, so it’s like a vacation—you like get away somewhere you want to go, somewhere fun, somewhere where you can relax and just take in life, so pineapples grow in like tropical places with beautiful scenery that I really like, so I just decided to grab a pineapple.”

After their solo acts, Rae Sremmurd came together to perform on the main stage where they popped bottles of champagne and showered the crowd with Thousands of dollar bills to celebrate the launch of their new album.

Together, they performed their hit “Powerglide” and several new songs off of their album including “CLOSE,” “Touchscreen Navigation,” “42” and ended the night on “Bedtime Stories (feat. The Weeknd).”

SR  3  MM Cover

SR3MM Cover

Then I asked Swae what is the meaning behind the three teddy bears and a rose in his mount on the cover of their new Album SR3MM:

Swae said: “I had a teddy bear for each time my heart was broken in my life. Yeah, so I just started learning from it when I was younger.  The rose is to let y’all know I’m still out here.”

Swae explained to us how the song “Bedtime Stories” came about with The Weeknd:

“The Weekend is our brother, cool dude, like a rock star.  Easily one of the most talented artists in the game, period.  You understand?  So, we were on tour, and our tour was coming to an end, and we was like, “We don’t got no heat in here, know what I’m saying. It’s mandatory that we get some heat in.”  You got Slim Jimmy, Mike and the Weeknd, so we went to Atlanta and he had played a whole bunch of beats.  One of the drummers paid a hella beats and we cookin’ up organically. Actually, that beat was cooked up organically.  Mars cooked that up organically from scratch, know what I’m saying, and loaded it up.  We went in the booth and started singing, everything he was saying and like all the melodies were just hitting the ear in the best way possible.  Hitting the ear canal and rolling around in there, leaving money all on the ear canal.  I went in there and kicked it and we had Bedtime Stories.”

During the interview, Swae and Jxmmi were holding “Garfield dolls” cuddling like a baby, so I asked, about Jxmmi having a baby:

Swae said jokingly: “I got a couple of sons in the game. It’s my youngest son.”

Then Jxmmi told me: “Fatherhood is great. Especially when you’re like wild like me because then it makes you think about stuff, different dimensions like “Man, if I jump off this house, I might die.” But you know what I’m saying, I really like fatherhood because I can’t even really describe what it make me feel like. I can’t describe what it make me like, what it is, you know what I’m saying?  It just is what it is.”

Then he tells me the name of his son is: “Jedi. Like light saber.  May the Force be with you.”

Jxmmi also talked about the Album: “SremmLife 3, go get that man, SremmLife 3, do the album. Not one, not two, but three. The only rule is you got to smoke weed when you listen to it.  You got to take at least 3 shots. And you got to hit the Patron, I mean, like you got to hit some champagne too, because you got to be double faded.  You got to goddamn do that shit.  You going to need a group of friends because it’s long as fuck.  There’s 27 songs. 

He continues: “We made that for all the beautiful ladies in the world. You need somebody to come to your house and read you a bedtime story, a lullaby to help you sleep better, enter now for a chance to win 666-342-9021. We want to take a female who’s going to college, we want to take her to the Chanel store, we want to spend at least $20,000 in Chanel. Know what I’m saying?  We want her to have the bags and the shoes and whatever else, know what I’m saying, extra, because she going to college, we want to invest in her future.”

Rae Sremmurd

Rae Sremmurd

Mike Will Made ItYG and Gashi were in attendance to support the artists in honor of the new album celebrating summer and their tropical lifestyle.

Brent Bolthouse's Neon Carnival Party was the place to be during Coachella

Brent Bolthouse's Neon Carnival Party was the place to be on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at a new location HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, CA.  

LeonardoDiCaprioDiddyJhene AikoHailey BaldwinPost MaloneFrench MontanaChainsmokersChristina Milian arrived after midnight to the sounds of DJ Polik, after Beyonces electrifying performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

DJ Jesse Marco, DJ Ruckus

DJ Jesse Marco, DJ Ruckus

Paris Hilton danced on top of the sofa at her table with her fiancée Chris Zylka in front of the stage.

Paris Hilton  looked beautiful dancing with her fiancee  Chris Zylka  to  DJ Politik's  music behind her on stage.

Paris Hilton looked beautiful dancing with her fiancee Chris Zylka to DJ Politik's music behind her on stage.

Leonardo DiCaprio was backstage packing the PDA with rumored girlfriend Camila Morrone and later at his VIP table in front of the Ferris wheel.

Then DJ Ruckus took over the turn tables and had everyone dancing.

Amber Rose wore a brightly colored bodysuit and sneakers, large black sunglasses and a new gold grill while hanging at Diddy’s table.

Chance The Rapper was celebrating his 25th birthday the entire weekend, his actual birthday is April 16.

Dj Jesse Marco finished up the night playing till after 4 am.

Selma Fonseca

Selma Fonseca

Also there Kourtney Kardashian with boyfriend Younes Bendjima, Tyga, Alexander Wang, Taylor Hill, Candice Swanepoel, TeyanaTaylor, Martin Garrix, Kaluuya, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Jamie Chung, Bryan Greenberg, Nina Dobrev, Romee Strijd, Sasha Grey, ShayMitchell, Shanin Shaik, Christine Evangelista, Matt Pokoro, Nyjah Huston, Kellan Lutz, Jamie Foxx, Blake Griffin, Iggy Azalea, LoganPaul, Jasmine Tookes, Belly, Scott Eastwood, Dorothy Wang, Corrine Olympios, Brody Jenner, Sean Farris, Casper Beau Smart, CharlotteMcKinney, Caroline D’Amore, Chandler Parsons, Joakim Noah, Mario, EJ Johnson, Kris Humphries and Nicole Scherzinger.

Neon Carnival

Iconic denim inventor, the Levi’s® Brand, was back to headline the event. Tequila Don Julio returned for their fourth consecutive year, providing guests with specialty Palomas served from the Airstream Speakeasy and providing Don Julio 1942 bottle service for VIP tables. Batiste TM Dry Shampoo hosted hairstyling stations that offered attendees bold, festival-inspired styles and provided product samples for the ultimate hair refresh.  Los Angeles beer staple, Golden Road Brewery, provided a unique bar experience with their customized freight container serving up their most popular brands.  

Selma Fonseca, Casper Smart

Selma Fonseca, Casper Smart

Snoop, A$AP Rocky, Saweetie, Rich the Kid at #REVOLVEFestival

#REVOLVEfestival, a two-day daytime desert party on April 14 and 15, 2018 with multiple brand activations, introduced the PALMS Stage. Live performances by A$AP Rocky, 21 Savage, YG, Snoop and DJ sets by Taco and Siobhan Bell, while VIPs beat the dessert heat in the poolside cabanas. The Alice in Wonderland themed party boasted a carousel swing ride and a maze which led to a secret bar, pouring swilling white goblets, brimming with Moët Ice Imperial Rosé.

Rap legend Snoop, showed up for a special performance of his hits and old school songs including a set with long-time friend, and fellow rapper Warren G. Snoop also played Lauren Hills’s “Killing me softly with his songand the entire crowd was singing along.

Snoop 

Snoop 

Bringing some girl power to the party, Saweetie, sang new songs and hits High Maintenace”, “Good Good”, “B.A.N.”, “IcyandAnit Freestyle”. Later we sat down for an exclusive interview:

She told me: “I’m working on my album right now.  I’ve been working with Stargate, Beethoven, the Producers, and so the songs are like more mature and I’m just really excited to see how this project unfolds. I’m kicking off my So Icy tour today so there’s a lot of dates coming up.  So just seeing how I can extend my brand to something bigger and better.”

IMG_2176.JPG

And fans can get excited since she said she is releasing her album and a couple of songs soon:

“More towards the end of the year. I’m always recording.  So we have four songs so far, well six, but four complete songs. I have a song called “Day and Night”.  It’s fun.  It’s a really fun song.”

“We’re going to release a couple of songs before the album.  I definitely would want to give like a summer vibe.  I’m a summer baby, so you know, my birthday’s coming up on July 2, so I definitely want to release something around my birthday, so you might be partying to it, you know?”

And we can expect some collaborations:

“I definitely want to collaborate with some females.  I really…like I think an adult female rap record would be really cool. I love Kamiyah, Cardi B, you know. Dreezy’s really good.  I would like to do like a new record for women in hip hop.  I think we need that.  Something like woman-empowering.  I think that would be really cool.”

We also talked about her career journey:

“I became comfortable with my voice just last year, and I’ve been wanting to do this since I was 14.  So when I finally became comfortable with myself, it was a really big thing for me, and I was super excited, because then I could record just any time now.  I don’t have to worry about like how I want to approach a song—I just go and record it now.”

She also explained her inspiration for her songs:

“If it’s something I go through, I want to put it out in a song.  Like that’s how I like to vent.  I’m not the type of person that likes to call people about my problems.  I’m the type of person who will put it in a song.  You know—good, happy, sad, energetic—whatever emotion I’m feeling, that’s what I like to put in my music.”

She continued: “I drew a lot of inspiration while driving.  I used to drive a lot, so I feel like if I’m immediately inspired, I have to write it down like right away, but I am a nocturnal type artist, so like I’ll be in the studio until like 5:00, 6:00 a.m.”

She explained to us about her new song “Respect”:

“Respect” is about a guy that I adore, and one time I was in the club and he was getting a lot of respect, and by that I mean like a lot of people were saying “hi”, going out of their way to say “what’s up” to him, and I’m just like, “A lot of people respect you”, but like in that moment, I was like I want to write a song about this. So I actually wrote the chorus while I was in the club so I didn’t forget it, and sometimes I’ll even like, you know, your voice memo—I’ll say it really quick so I don’t forget the melody.”

Couple Ty Dolla $ign and Lauren Jauregui arrived together and snapped photos at their cabanas and talked to 21 Savage. 

Rich the Kid took the stage and rap Plug Walk”, then Rick Ross looking healthy after his helath scare also took the stage. 

Rich the Kid, Selma Fonseca

Rich the Kid, Selma Fonseca

Chance the Rapper closed out the show with a surprise performance, singing “No Problem”, and the crow sang him happy birthday as models Winnie Harlow and Jasmine Sanders were seen dancing and snapping selfies.

Even music mogul LA Reid stopped by with his lovely wife Erica, they were hanging with 21 Savage.

Snoop had his own after party at the PALMS Casino Resort gold VIP secret room inside the House where he listened to music on his phone.

Chance the Rapper

Newly married Emily Ratajkowski and husband Sebastian Bear lounged in cabana’s eating Skinny Bitch Pizza and Amaze Bowls while telling friends “I can’t believe I’m a wifey now”. Kendall Jenner joined her friend’s and sipped on a CÎROC coconut drinks poolside, before heading on stage to greet Taco for his DJ set.

Other celebrity VIPs included Nipsey Hussle, Nicole Richie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dj OHSODJ Mustard, Shay Mitchell, Chanel Iman, Jordyn Woods, Jasmine Sanders, Terrance Jenkins, Olivia Culpo, Jasmine Tookes, Ryan Destiny, Alisha Boe, Amelia Gray Hamlin, Lottie Moss, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Hart Denton, Camilla Mendes, Elsa Hosk, Shanina Shaik, Rocky BarnesNicole Scherzinger, Taylor Hill, Romee Strijd, Mike Will Made ItKitty Cash, Winnie Harlow, Joan Smalls, Luka Sabbat, Ryan Destiny, Keith Powers, Peyton List, Cameron Monaghan, Alisha BoeVictoria Justice, Amanda Steele, Jasmine Sanders, Terrence Jenkins, Shaun Ross, Nipsey Hussle, Gunna, Lauren Jauregui, Chase B, Brittany Sky and Jenn Im.

 

 

 

 

Arin Ray Exclusive Interview & Release debut Album "Platinum Fire"

On Thursday, March 8, 2018, Interscope Records’ R&B singer-songwriter and X Factor contestant Arin Ray hosted a Play Back for the release of his debut album Platinum Fire at Record Plant Studios in Hollywood. We talked about the Album title, his newborn son and how he is “trying” to be like Lionel Richie.

The 14-track project takes listeners on a winding journey as Ray reminisces over everything from love and temptation, old school memories and failed friendships.

Arin Ray, Selma Fonseca

With a dream team of producers in tow Nez & Rio, F Keys, Terrace Martin, and Childish Major, the album is as musical as it is personal. Ray showcases his powerful vocal range over a medley of hip-hop, jazz and neo-soul influenced instrumentals. The end result is a nuanced blend of new and old school sound which is sure to catch the ear of music lovers across the board. The album is now available on all digital retailers and features Childish Major, Terrace Martin, Ty Dolla $ign, DRAM, SiR, and YG.

I sat down with Arin for an exclusive interview: “Yeah, it’s called Platinum Fire and that’s what I was like smoking and I thought, man, that’s a dope ass name and I was like you should make that your album, and I was like, yeah. I really don’t tell the origin because it’s really not that interesting to me.  I just liked the name.  I just thought it was a cool name, and it gave me kind of a vibe to, you know, within all the songs that I made, like, I don’t know, I just kind of fed off of that title and tried to make songs that really, you know, incorporated that vibe, you know. I don’t know what Platinum Fire is.” He said.

Talking about the Album process and the producers, he said:

“It’s cool, man, and it didn’t take me too long to do it, either, man.  It was a really cool process making this album.  I kind of already had a foundation of who I was working with as far as the producers—shout out to Nez, shout out to F Keys, shout out to Terrence Martin, shout out to Childish Major, shout out to myself.  Man, it’s been a dope quest.  Yeah, Platinum Fire—I’ve been working on it for about like kind of two years now. That’s where I took the vibe from.”

Arin Ray

Arin Ray

And he told me about his inspiration for the Album’s songs:

“A lot of inspiration came from real life shit like real life events within my relationship, whether it was something I was going through within the industry of my business or my personal life, but a lot of it came from that.  But as far as musical inspiration, I like a lot of the old-school music.  A lot of Marvin Gaye, a lot of Michael Jackson, a lot of Lionel Richie.  A lot of jazz, you know what I mean?” since Lionel is a personal friend and I also love his music, I asked him: “You like Lionel Richie?  Oh, my God. He’s amazing.”

“Yeah, I’m trying to be like him.” He continues: “He’s still lit right now.  A lot of people at that age ain’t really lit.  He’s still lit.”

I wanted to know what he meant about his relationships: “With friends, family, my lady, my baby’s mother, you know what I mean? Myself, my son.  Everybody, you know.  All types of relationships.  I’m learning a lot right now.  Just have to talk to people, you know what I mean, and learn how to…I’m 22.  I’m just now kind of learning how to grow the fuck up, you know what I mean?  Like really learn how to handle my business, handle my shit, so you know, it’s just been that.  It’s really that.  And a lot of this shit came from my son.  My son was born on November 29, 2016.  But obviously, it was made before, so this whole time I’m making the album, he’s in my baby mother stomach, so a lot of the affirmation and the inspiration came from just knowing that he was coming, and then when he got here, knowing that he was there and I had to make sure everything was straight. Shout out to Pharo.”

Platinum Fire includes the 2017 single, “We Ain’t Homies (featuring YG),” which was written and co-produced by Ray. The single served as a strong addition to Ray’s long list of writing credits which includes songs for Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Rick Ross.

Selma Fonseca, Arin Ray

Selma Fonseca, Arin Ray

The Cincinnati native released his debut EP, Phases, in 2016; four years after first gaining popularity on the hit show X Factor. The album marks the beginning of a busy year for Ray as he is currently working on a jazz album with Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper, due late 2018.

“Turn it up, man.  Yeah, I just want to tell everybody I’m real for this shit. I’m not here for the looks. I’m not here for nothing else but the music and to win these Grammies, to show that there can be somebody who’s trying to really like do something different within the R & B gang, within the…you know what I’m saying?

And he is already working on his next album: “I don’t know, man. It’s just my personality, so if this one works out the way we want it to, hopefully, shit, that second album…I’m already working on it.”

Producer Nez, Selma Fonseca

Producer Nez, Selma Fonseca

And since March 8 was National Women’s Day he said: “Shout out to National Women’s Day.  That should be every day, you know what I mean?” he continues “We should celebrate women every day, you know what I mean?”

His last words: “Listen to the album, man.”

Hip Hop Honors Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Martin Lawrence

VH1 presented “HIP HOP HONORS: THE 90’S GAME CHANGERS” at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA, on Sunday, September 17, 2017, and I was right in the middle of everything.

The cutest moment of the night was when T.I. walked to the audience bleachers and picked up DJ Khaled’s son in his arms.

The cutest moment of the night was when T.I. walked to the audience bleachers and picked up DJ Khaled’s son in his arms.

The 90’s style block party on the lot on Brooklyn St. celebrated the golden era of hip-hop and the moment when hip-hop became mainstream across pop culture. Designed by one of the night’s honorees,  Hype Williams, the walls of the building were covered with colorful graffiti reminiscing NYC back in the 90’s.

Hosted by Regina Hall, honoring Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Martin Lawrence and Master P and Hype Williams will air on Monday, September 18th at 9PM ET/PT on VH1.

Mariah Carey performing

Mariah Carey performing

Missy Elliot was the first to perform and she started the show in style emerging from a water tank in a black trench coat performing 90’s hit “She’s a Bitch,” surrounded by dancers and parkour performers.

DJ Khaled’s son, Asahd Khaled, stole the show when he took the stage with his father to honor Mariah Carey; together they introduced Mariah’s show-stopping performance of “Honey” which made everyone very excited; the performance featured a tricked out jet ski, a golden ‘honey’ helicopter and special appearances by Da Brat, Jermaine Dupree, Mase and The Lox. For some reason, Mariah had to do a second take on her performance that included a sexy dance with her on-off boyfriend Bryan Tanaka.

Pharrell Williams presented Hype Williams with his award, he took a moment to deliver a heartfelt message about the current political climate, encouraging everyone to “Open your eyes and if you look like I look you know how you got here, and we are here and not leaving, so what are we gonna do?, and for everybody else in this country the human condition is important, don’t think just because they coming after the African-American, they coming at the Jewish community, they coming at the Hispanics, they can’t beat you too just because you look like them, they are using you, you should understand that.”

“They keep talking about a wall, but the enemy is this divisive this mentality, it's on this side of the wall guys and girls it's already here.” he continued,  “This is America it's with liberty and justice for all thank you.”

Trick, Trina, Romeo, Silk The Shocker and XSCAPE performed a special medley celebrating the rise of hip-hop in the South before honoring Jermaine Dupri and Master P with their awards.

Trick, Trina, Romeo, Silk The Shocker  and  XSCAPE  arriving

Trick, Trina, Romeo, Silk The Shocker and XSCAPE arriving

Fat Joe and Rema Ma performed “Not a Player,” Warren G performed “Regulate” with Ty Dolla $ignXSCAPE performing TLC’s “No Scrubs,” and Ty Dolla $ign did a special rendition of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It.”

 Kelly Rowland introduced Lil KimHavoc and Fabolous to the stage who performed “Quiet Storm” in tribute to the late Prodigy (of Mobb Deep.) When Lil Kim arrived to walk the red carpet she was very nervous and she had an entourage of three huge bodyguards, a make-up and hair stylist, they touched her up every minute. After her performance, she sat in the audience relaxed with Fat Joe.

Selma Fonseca and DJ Khaled

Selma Fonseca and DJ Khaled

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Lamorne MorrisAffion Crocket and Regina Hall were super funny when each took a turn interrupting Tischina Arnold as she presented Martin Lawrence with his award, dressed as characters from his famous television show “Martin.”

Faith Evans, who told me exclusively “I am happy to be here and happy to be part of 90’s music, it’s s great moment and to be part of it’s a blessing.” She continued, “ I am always happy to come out and honor those who were part of."

Selma Fonseca and Faith Evans

Selma Fonseca and Faith Evans

Selma Fonseca and Jermaine Dupri

Selma Fonseca and Jermaine Dupri

Also there Timbaland Blac ChynaKarrueche TranNene LeakesRosci Diaz“Love & Hip Hop Hollywood” cast members Keyshia ColeMichelle PoochMiss Nikki BabyTeairra MarieBooby, and Amara La Negra,  “Scared Famous” cast members Eva MarcilleDon BenjaminErica Mena.

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Selma Fonseca and Blac Chyna

Selma Fonseca and Fat Joe

Selma Fonseca and Fat Joe

Selma Fonseca Lil Kim

Selma Fonseca Lil Kim

Naughty by Nature Surprise Performance The Surf Lodge

Naughty by Nature's Treach, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee, surprised guests at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, NY on July 3, 2017, with an hour performance rapping their 90's hits.

Naughty by Nature's  Treach, Vin Rock,  and  DJ Kay Gee, 

Naughty by Nature's Treach, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee, 

They opened their set with "O.P.P.", then went on the rap "Uptown", "Craziest", "Respect", "Jamboree",  "Cali love". The beautiful crowd went crazy dancing and singing along.

Treach wore a khaki outfit with 5 white gold chains and a huge diamond-encrusted watch, by the third song he had taken his shirt off, leaving the chains and showing his incredibly cut and heavily tattooed body.

Vin Rock screamed on the mic: "How many Tupac riders do we have in the house?" 

Then Treach said on the mic how people are saying on social media "How can you play Biggy after you played MOP, because Biggy and Tupak had a fallout, first of all, because I can, Tupak was my brother then he introduced me to Biggy then Biggy became my brother."

"We are the love gang", making the heart shape with his hands.

"When I drink you drink, when I smoke you smoke, when I come to Long Island you come to Long Island", then Vin said: "And we called Montauk", then Treach continued "It's all part of the Long Island four five hundred dollars a night"

Naughty by Nature's  Treach  and  Selma Fonseca

Naughty by Nature's Treach and Selma Fonseca

The last song "Hip Hop Hooray" they pulled everyone on stage.

The previous night Hailey Baldwin and Jack Brinkley Cook, Rosario Dawson, were all having fun (separately) at the hot spot where Nashville's band "Bully" was playing.

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Rosario Dawson and Selma Fonseca