Moby throws shade at Kanye on Twitter

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After a wave of Tweets demonstrating continued support for Donald Trump, Kanye West was sure to rankle some on social media. Among them is Moby, the world-famous electronic producer and known activist who, as of late, has largely advocated against the U.S. President.

In response to a number of West’s tweets, Moby utilized the same platform to send him message:

According to Pop Crave, West’s comments created a negative ripple among other artists with significant influence, including Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, and more, who have recently un-followed him on Twitter.

West hasn’t taken to the platform in regards to Trump, though his erratic tirade of Tweets continues. Here’s a few of West’s pro-Trump Tweets below:

 

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 31

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dexter's beat lab

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA music editor and staff writer Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.


Tim Schaufert‘s releases in the past few months have been nothing short of perfection. His latest, “Runaway,” is a gorgeously haunting partnership with frequent collaborator CASHFORGOLD. Her delicate vocals juxtaposed with a minimalist trap beat make for an almost eerie atmosphere.


This sultry number comes to us from Luna and Sarah De Warren. With a deep-set melody driving the verses, the collaborators lead up to a chorus that brings a Middle Eastern accent to the song. The dance floor-ready track brings a modern flair to the exotic melody, combined with vocals that are both seductive and heavenly at the same time.


Whenever London producer Dimension posts a new track, madness is sure to ensue. His latest release, “Raver,” draws its power directly from its name. “Raver” is pure UK drum & bass insanity in the best possible: it’s chock-full of deep bass, racing BPMs and energized vocals. Unlike his last release (an emotive, melodic collaboration with Wilkinson), “Raver” brings out the raw intensity of a London dance floor late at night.


Earlier this week, Sound Remedy quietly released a 10-track LP called Seeds. Most of the album’s track tap into the softer side of the LA artist’s production, like this one. “Sunset in Palos” is the opening track on the album and serves as the perfect introduction to the nine tracks ahead. Something about the subtle sweetness of the guitar reminds me of Lost Frequencies‘ “Are You With Me,” and I love it.


I typically try to use new-ish tracks on this series, but this one is an exception. I found StarGuy and Flamingo‘s remix of Rihanna‘s “Kiss It Better” last week after hearing it in StarGuy’s StarCast mix with Lenno and have had it stuck in my head ever since. It’s a few months old, but its old-school disco vibes bring a funky twist to the modern song.

N.E.R.D’s self-titled fifth studio album is a chaotic affair rooted in social commentary

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No_one Ever Really Dies: even the acronym by which American funk rock supergroup N.E.R.D — Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley — were founded upon suggests a non-traditional marriage between chic nonchalance and latent sentimentalism. Consider the collective sense of fervid urgency that is currently igniting the veins of millions of disenfranchised American and global citizens, inject a lethal dose of vogue funk and bottle it up in vivacious, supercool packaging: this more or less captures the sonic universe defined on N.E.R.D’s self titled, fifth studio album.

People began taking note of signs posted around Los Angeles and featured at Tyler the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival that read “No One Ever Really Dies” in late October, 2017. A few days later, the N.E.R.D proceeded to release No_one Ever Really Dies’ lead single “Lemon” before debuting the full LP a few days later at ComplexCon. It marks the first release for the famed group since 2010’s Nothing.

Since their inception, N.E.R.D has been raveled in collective confusion — not undue to their own struggles in defining their own artistic focus. The group’s first album, In Search Of, was originally produced digitally, but was pulled from the shelves of record stores worldwide and re-recorded utilizing live instrumentation from the rock band known as Spymob. Its re-release was met with ubiquitous disapproval from critics, giving way to another two albums plagued by their supposed failure to define a singular style.

Perhaps N.E.R.D’s first three albums were simply misunderstood by the masses, or maybe they served as quasi “trial and error” sessions in which the group refined their own characteristic style. One thing is certain: the outfit’s production M.O has always strayed from the traditional linear structure. Each of N.E.R.D’s five studio albums see them taking increasingly audacious risks, and No_one Ever Really Dies looks to be their most rewarding effort yet.

It kicks off with the exuberant frenzy that is “Lemon,” featuring one of contemporary pop music’s most exalted figures: Rihanna. The 29-year-old global superstar bops from verse to verse with palpable swagger, as if she’s playing pop-scotch on the red carpet.

“Lemon’s” sample of a man yelling “wait a minute” is former United States Senator, Arlen Specter, at a 2009 Pennsylvania town hall meeting while “shout out to them people” and “mad ethnic right now” are both phrases sampled from a viral twitter video originally posted by a rapper by the name of Retch. As the record bounces between verses, it usurps the listener with its dazzling flow. Before long, the project’s focus begins to take root.

Much like adjacent industry colleagues Gorillaz, N.E.R.D’s propensity to showcase a plethora of contemporary styles runs the risk of seeming misconstrued, pulling away from the album’s central focus; some would argue that such overbearing features can make such a project seem disjointed, but it pays off on No_one Ever Really Dies. Rather than cloud the group’s artistic intuition, each embellishment serves an integral purpose in building the stylistic framework by which listeners will contextualize the album.

High profile vignettes from artists like Future, Wale, Gucci Mane, M.I.A, and Frank Ocean imbue the album with a sense of urgency and are an relevant statement about the current musical zeitgeist heading into 2018.

“Voilà,” featuring Gucci Mane and Wale, carries the momentum onward.  Since being released from prison in 2016, Radric Davis — better known by Gucci Mane — has turned a 180. “They think I’m a magician” sings Davis, alluding to the fact that the general public is undoubtedly shocked at his life changes over the last two years, and that many people doubted him along the way. The Atlanta rapper revealed in an interview with TIME that, during his stint in prison, sobriety and exercise helped him lose 90 pounds and get his life back together.

Gucci Mane’s raspy verses are not typically associated with the sparkling funk-verve that characterizes N.E.R.D, but his lyrics add a serene sense of tranquility to the track: “I might pull up on a skateboard with me and P. Hoes gon’ still pay me attention” he raps. Gucci Mane’s fabled status in trap music history is a welcome blessing on “Voilà.”

Pharell picks up the pace immediately afterward with “1000.” Turning a corner, he chants the intro, “Kinetic energy a thousand times higher!” As the drums halt to half speed, morphing into a tribal rythmn, Future belts his verse, “Rick Owens boots, I’m walkin’ on a few thousand” sings the Atlanta trap superstar. “1000” is an honest, yet ostentatious glimpse into the life of some of hip hop’s wealthiest superstars: complete with designer boots, Ferragamo belts, and models in the bed.

Pivoting from the gaudy introspection on “1000,” N.E.R.D moves into outward social commentary at breakneck speed with “Don’t Don’t Do It!” The track, which features the father of modern hip hop, Kendrick Lamar, is a statement detailing the discriminatory behavior of law enforcement and, on a larger scale, society as a whole.

“Pac-man wanna prosecute you. Raise your hand up, and they’ll shoot ya’. Face off, face off.” spits Kendrick Lamar, the beat carrying his conscious rhymes a mile a minute, “Adolf Hitler. Grandkids slayed off. N****s, same rules, same chalk. Different decade, same law.” Lamar’s verse is more than simply an apt statement confronting the malevolent behavior of systemic racism — it’s a warning call. “Soon or later sides gon’ switch. You know Johnny got that itch,” raps Lamar, “How many more of us gotta see the coroner? Slain by the same badge, stop, wait, brake, fast!”

N.E.R.D’s ability to pivot from effervescent dance jams to socially-conscious funk ballads at headlong speeds — all the while utilizing atmospheric transitions and carbonated beat change ups — is mesmerizing. No_one Ever Really Dies seems to weave into one theme and out of another before the listener can make the conscious realization that the song’s structure had changed. The album’s biggest success is its mellifluous ability to shape shift and keep listeners engaged the whole way through. Listeners find themselves knee deep into a pop tsunami for one moment, and are catapulted into an incendiary diatribe on today’s current political situation the next.

“It’s crazy out here and right now, what we’re discovering is the truth only matters when it sounds cool. And when it doesn’t sound cool, people just choose to not fucking believe it,” explained Pharell during the album’s listening session. “So, that’s how they’re gonna use their minds. We need to use our minds a little bit stronger.”

Nearing the end of the album, N.E.R.D orchestrate a symphonic finish — complete with features from such fabled artists as Andre 3000 and, to a lesser extent, Ed Sheeran. “Rollinem 7’s” lyrics stream from the Outkast co-founder’s mouth in effortless fashion.

The combination of M.I.A and Kendrick Lamar on “Kites” is a further testament to N.E.R.D’s versatility and their ability to mold to fit any of the featuring artists’styles.”I’m letting off kites over barriers” sings M.I.A, the Sri Lankan avant pop legend alludes to the absurdity of nation’s having borders. Her ultimate goal, like other artists’ on the LP, is to make music that transcends the unavailing barriers that serve only to divide us as a human race.

Consistent with M.I.A’s verse, N.E.R.D’s newest album is a virtuosic, funk driven house party rooted in social and political commentary. Rather than serve as purely an escape, No_One Ever Really Dies acts as an atmospheric groove that exists entirely within the gloomy corners of the current political period. N.E.R.D is back to inspire change in provocative fashion, and their fifth project is a chaotic affair deeply rooted in the ongoing narrative of social progress.

 

 

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Rihanna & SZA – Consideration (Will Clarke remix)

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Will Clarke tackles Rihanna and SZA’s collab, “Consideration,” in his latest imaginative reproduction, tricking out the track in a musical “glitter” that, in accordance with Rihanna’s lyrics, “makes it gold.”

A producer of booty shakin’ beats, Clarke crafts a remix that functions as much as an attitude-infused flip of the original as it does an invitation to writhe to the song’s dark house glow on the dance floor. Airy synths ascend and fall as Clark splices the original, foregoing the majority of the song’s lyrical work to loop Rihanna’s second verse, “Let me cover your sh*t in glitter I could make it gold.”

When played to a live audience, Clarke’s take won’t fail to provoke an anticipation surrounding the song’s build, and a comparable satisfaction taken in its descent, Clarke orienting the remix’s fluttering build and drop around the lyric. Clarke puts forth a remake that is sure to shimmer among the various songs in his set lists.

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Rihanna & SZA – consideration (MK remix)

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Mark Kinchen, known better as MK, has released his remix of Rihanna and SZA’s “consideration.” With hundreds of releases under his belt, a career spanning three decades, and a hands on education in Detroit techno, Kinchen brings his expert production to the table, injecting his own Chicago house influenced synths and signature textures to the track.

At its core, the track is an amalgamation of contemporary hip hop and underground dance music. Synthesizing contemporary vocals from such legendary vocalists as Rihanna and SZA with prodding, deep house drums and atmospheric synths is no easy feat, yet Kinchen certainly seems up to the task. Kinchen showcase an impressive ability to draw out Rihanna’s latent dancehall influence; a testament to his quicksilver production M.O. Kinchen seems to turn everything he touches into dance-floor gold.

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N.E.R.D reveal ‘No_One Ever Really Dies’ release date and tracklist

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Earlier in November, Pharrell Williams ripped through the majority of the looming N.E.R.D record. For the group’s enormous comeback — their first single in seven years — N.E.R.D teamed up with Rihanna on the fervent “Lemons.”  Keeping in mind N.E.R.D’s cultural longevity, as their debut dates back to the early nineties,  Williams soon made it known that he had other monumental collaborations in store.

Now, Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley have unveiled the complete tracklist and release date for their new album, No_One Ever Really Dies. The record serves as a follow up to N.E.R.D’s last studio album, Nothing, which came out in 2010.

Each and every collaborator on the new work is of storied propensities, including Kendrick Lamar — who’s featured twice — along with André 3000, Ed Sheeran, Future, Gucci Mane, M.I.A., and Wale.

No_One Ever Really Dies will be released on December 15.

N.E.R.D. No_One Ever Really Dies tracklist:

1. “Everybody Hurts”
2. “Lemon” f. Rihanna
3. “Voíla” f. Wale and Gucci Mane
4. “1000” f. Future
5. “Don’t Don’t Do It” f. Kendrick Lamar
6. “Kites” f. M.I.A. and Kendrick Lamar
7. “ESP”
8. “Lightning Fire Magic Prayer”
9. ‘Rollinem 7s” f. Andre 3000
10. “Lifting” you f. Ed Sheeran
11. “Secret Life Of Tigers”

H/T: Magnetic Mag

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The music video for DJ Snake’s ‘A Different Way’ will brighten anyone’s day

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Grammy-nominated DJ and producer DJ Snake has dropped the official music video for his hit track “A Different Way” featuring Lauv. Snake re-connects with the highly-praised director Colin Tilley, who not only directed the video for his single “Middle,” but has also worked with A-list acts such as Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and Future.

It seems to be a common theme amongst the dance music realm as of late to feature young, multi-talented kids in official music videos (e.g. Major Lazer‘s “Know No Better,” or Sigala‘s “Easy Love”) as there’s something refreshing about seeing someone of that age move so well. Shot in Los Angeles, the video stars dancer and actor Sheadon Gabriel, who some may recognize as a frequent background dancer for Justin Bieber, and Internet personality Montana Tucker. It’s a heart-warming journey throughout the city starting with a kid that finds a balloon (which somehow hovers next to him the whole time without blowing away) and dances his way into a variety of different settings.

Also, DJ Snake partnered with Snapchat to launch an exclusive DJ Snake sticker pack in conjunction with the videos release, which is the first time the app has ever done this with an artist. Listeners can head to his Twitter and get access to it.

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Mr. Carmack and Vindata take on N.E.R.D and Rihanna with ‘More Lemons’

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There are certain songs out there that seem to just beg for quality remixes right from the get-go –– most recently, N.E.R.D.’s comeback single with Rihanna “Lemon,” comes to mind. The original track is pristine working ground for a class rework effort, so Mr. Carmack and Vindata saw fit to bless the world with their joint take on the legendary funk rock/hip-hop outfit’s new product with “More Lemons.” Keeping the original mix largely intact, Carmack and Vindata up the ante on their version with some dance floor-ready modifications.

Not entirely a “lemonade out of lemons” situation, the rework avoids watering down or sugar coating where it’s inspiration came from. It merely builds on the original, simply offering “More Lemons,” if you will. The LA-based OWSLA pair and Mr. Carmack’s complementary production styles mesh into a single souped-up take on Rihanna and Pharrell‘s already certified rump-shaker, adding a welcomed dose of added hype to one of the year’s highlight marquee pop collaborations.

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Legendary production duo release new track under moniker BLVK JVCK [Watch]

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Producer duo The Runners are legendary in the hip-hop scene, having been the forces behind singles from Rihanna, Justin Bieber, and Lil’ Wayne, among many others. Andrew “Dru Brett” Harr and Jermaine “Mayne Zayne” Jackson have now rebranded themselves to try their hand within the electronic scene under new moniker BLVK JVCK, and their first single featuring Dyo is now out via Big Beat Records. BLVK JVCK does not mark the end of The Runners, who will continue to produce enduring hip-hop classics, but rather an exciting fresh start for the producers.

“Mind Games” masterfully blends hip hop with subtle electronic undertones while Dyo’s sensual vocals draws the listener in. The catchy track is sure to be a radio hit that the duo will be able to add to their long list of past successes. Watch the full music video for “Mind Games.”

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What the hell does it mean to be a producer in 2017?

What the hell does it mean to be a producer in 2017?

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It’s 2014, and 60,000 festival attendees at Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival are staring expectantly up towards a sea of lights and a DJ board. Over the course of the weekend, they’ll watch Pharrell Williams, Zedd, and Calvin Harris light up the desert sky, but now, they stand and wait for two men whom not a single person in the crowd has seen take the stage.

Fans linger, eager with anticipation, confident they know what to expect from this ‘breakout’ group from hit releases ‘Smile’ and ‘You.’ Little do they know, they had been listening to their music for years.

Linus Eklow and Christian Karlsson of Galantis are staring back at the expectant faces from the side of the stage, taking a moment before they reveal themselves. For the past 20 years, their production capabilities have propelled the likes of Britney Spears, Madonna, and Kylie Minogue into the limelight of sold out arenas. They have created hit records, chart topping albums, and won Grammys. As they stepped out in front of a roaring crowd and a thousand lights, they turned to one another and smiled.

Now it was their turn.

—–

For as long as anyone can remember, a producer’s job description has entailed slaving over sound boards in a dark studio and inevitably forfeiting all due credit to the vocalist. A producer was acknowledged for his or her masterpiece in the fine text of the ‘thank you’s,’ and their fame began and ended with industry stakeholders.  The David Axelrod’s and George Martin’s of the world lived in anonymity despite producing some of the industry’s most well known tracks such as “The Edge” by David McCallum and “Love Me Do” by The Beatles respectively. Had Axelrod or Martin been told that being a producer would result in the excessive and public facing lifestyles embodied by the Diplo’s and The Chainsmokers of today, they likely would not have believed it.

Today’s producers are global citizens, jet setting across the world to play their music for a different hoard of fans each night. Emboldened with microphones, they are performers in their own right. They pack arenas and festival grounds with tens of thousands of fans like the pop singers of the 2000s. For the first time in the history of commercialized music, being a music producer is sexy.

The reality of our modern music landscape is that we now live in a world that has two distinct factions of music producers. There are still many traditional producers, who strictly work in the studio and behind the scenes to create music that is performed by star vocalists and bands. These producers—people like Max Martin or Rick Rubin—aren’t credited in the title of the tracks they create nor do they perform their music live.

The second faction of producers are a recent breed. They elicit their own fans who are drawn to the beats behind the songs that they create. These music producers are doubly skilled: in addition to producing their own tracks they perform their music ‘live.’ This new brand of producer is a complex phenomenon that many are still teasing out.

Up until 15 years ago, there was no option for a music producer to become a performer unless the producer was also the vocalist. As the art of DJing has evolved into a mode for producers to ‘perform’ their tracks ‘live,’ the producer’s role has evolved, too. Now the job title music producer can indicate one of two very different career paths, and because of this, there has been a dynamic shift within the music industry.

Before the rise of commercialized electronic music, music producers were virtually never credited in the title of a track. This elevation of the producer to an artist—as opposed to a fine text name at the bottom of a Wikipedia page—is something that was rarely done in the U.S. pop music scene until fairly recently. M.I.A.’s breakout hit, “Paper Planes,” for example, was both written and produced by Diplo in 2007.  In contrast, 2015’s “Where Are U Now” is billed as a track ‘by’ Diplo, Skrillex, and Justin Bieber.  

As producers find their own celebrity through DJing, a greater public appreciation of the craft has resulted, and they are more able than ever before to use this leverage to further their own celebrity.  

This phenomenon is all too familiar to Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklow—the production duo behind the Grammy nominated project Galantis. Though fans are surely familiar with the group’s hit songs like breakout “Runaway (U+I),” less familiar are the years of behind the scenes production work Karlsson and Eklow have racked up.

Karlsson is the Grammy award winning producer behind mega hits like Britney Spears’ “Toxic” as well as a part of the Swedish Indie Pop band Miike Snow. Eklow co-produced and wrote on Icona Pop’s number one hit, “I Love It.” Karlsson and Eklow have, independently of one another, produced and co-written music with the likes of Katy Perry, Madonna, and Kylie Minogue

“It’s important to mention that today you can be a producer and you can be an artist,” says Karlsson, though he concedes that duality is “not for everyone.”

“That’s for a few. If you are an amazing producer and you don’t have that talent and you don’t have that in you, you aren’t supposed to do that. To make it as a ‘celebrity producer,’ you need to be an artist,” says Karlsson.  “It’s a totally different thing.”

Karlsson’s distinction is hardly without merit. Being a celebrity producer today is reserved for those who aspire to be an artist, just as someone like Britney Spears did. Although Djing as a method of performance has gotten it’s share of criticism from those who believe all it requires is standing on a stage and pushing a button, there is a reason why not every successful music producer has become a mega star through playing their hits on stage.

But Karlsson’s distinction begs the question: has the rise of the celebrity producer diminished the value of the traditional producer? A famous producer can bring their brand and their fans to the table in addition to the vocalist’s. The traditional producer cannot add this value.

“The producer fee is the same, but celebrity producers are not only being paid for being producers,” says Karlsson. They are being paid as artists, which adds another layer to their credibility.”

Stranger yet, Karlsson points out, is the that vocalists now seek out superstar producers to appear, credited as artists, on their albums.

“A singer is going to do a song, and now they are able to seek out an artist who can produce the song,” says Karlsson. “Celebrity producers appeal to vocalists because they want that brand so badly and the bigger exposure. The cross pollination of producers’ and vocalists’ audiences has resulted in new and exciting collaborations across different genres of music that we haven’t seen before.”

If anyone is familiar with this sentiment, it’s Maarten Vorwerk. Vorwerk made a name for himself in 2015 when he came forward as a ghost producer—a controversial role in dance music which involves unknown producers selling their creations outright to famous artists who then own the track.

Though Vorwerk now puts his efforts into his own creations, he enjoyed a long run as one of the most sought after ghost producers in the industry, engineering more than a few Beatport number one hits.

“Eminem tells everybody that Dr. Dre has produced his new track and the fact that Eminem collaborated with Dr. Dre is seen as a big selling point to the track,” explains Vorwerk. “Whereas, you wouldn’t see a DJ saying that this or that producer has produced his new track. From my point of view I think that you should give credit where credit is due.”

But ghost producers, he concedes, are paid outright to never be credited.

Though ghost producing is undoubtedly a very real phenomenon among the dance music community, keyboard warriors are quick to level the charge against any artist they don’t particularly like. This witch hunting can be chalked up in part to our increasingly polarized and contentious internet culture. It also reveals how little people understand just what a ‘producer’ is responsible for.

Contrary to popular belief, the producer is not necessarily the person creating the sounds and programming the track. Karlsson and Eklow explained that the role of a traditional producer does much more than simply engineering the beat of a track.

The producer is responsible for even the most ephemeral elements of music creation: to make sure everyone is hitting timelines and the atmosphere in the studio makes the vocalist feels comfortable and confident.

“You can hire anyone to program a drum,” says Karlsson and Eklow. “People think that the producer is the guy who actually programs the beat. The producer is the one who decided who is programming the beat, and what the vision for that beat is, and how it’s supposed to make the listener feel. See the difference?”

“Everything that happens in the studio—it is the producer’s responsibility.”

In this regard, producing music becomes similar to producing a movie or a tv show. The producer isn’t responsible for the technicalities of lighting and camera angles. Instead, the producer is making sure that all 200 pieces that need to come together to create a final product do so.

The more mainstream electronic music becomes, the more noticeable the discrepancy between the traditional producer and the celebrity DJ-producer. In examining where the traditional pop producer is left when there is the potential for celebrity, Galantis solidified that celebrity DJ Producers should be likened to artists as opposed to the traditional producer.

After all, they are compensated as artists, they are branded as artists, and they are celebrities in their own right.

Perhaps no one knows this tension more intimately than Andrew Harr and Jermaine Jackson. Together called “The Runners,” the duo have a staggering 17 year production history working with a star-studded list of clientele that includes the likes of DJ Khaled, Usher, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber. Harr and Jackson have a reputation for being some of the best minds in the music industry, but their reputation lives solely within the music industry itself and hardly registers at all to music fans outside of it.

Recently, Harr and Jackson have had an epiphany of sorts. In hopes of being recognized for their own talents by a newly receptive public, the duo have developed a project to push through their own original releases. With their BLVK JVCK project, they hope to drum up traction for their creative work without having to depend on the star power of a pop artist feature.

“Our dreams always were to be a Pharrell or a Timberland, but we couldn’t sing and we couldn’t rap,” says Harr. “The growth of electronic music has opened that door for us to express ourselves musically.”

“When you are working with the Rihanna’s and Ushers of the world, you are creative but you still have to create something that caters to them creatively,” continued Harr. “Now it is our opportunity to do what most producers dream of- to create something that is our own. Our own portrait, our own painting, and that is amazing. To be able to say this is my project, and this is how I’m going to do it is an amazing rebirth creatively.”

Harr and Jackson look onto the evolution of the producer’s role and star power in a positive light, but not every behind the scenes producer is clamoring to become the next Calvin Harris. In fact, Harr and Jackson could indeed be outliers in a world where many producers are still keen to stay behind the scenes and live in quiet glory.

 

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