Who Is Maaz Khalifa?

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What is your earliest memory of music?

My earliest memory of music is listening to random Bollywood songs in my dad’s car when I was a kid. Even though I didn’t understand any of the words, the songs were catchy to me.

How much of a musical history do you have in your family?

My family doesn’t have any musical history, but my dad likes to sing random songs fairly often.

Are you the first person to pursue music in your family?

Yes.

What made you fall in love with the genre you make today?

I had a phase in my life where I was trying to figure out my top 10 favorite artists. I would listen to a fairly wide variety of music, and I realized that all my favorite artists were in the genre of Hip-Hop/Rap.

What is your writing and recording process like?

I usually listen to whatever the newest/hottest rap album is out at the moment to gain inspiration from. I type bars into my iPhone notes, and I don’t stop until I have at least 16 lines. I won’t go back and edit what I wrote until I finish at least 16 lines. It takes me around 15 minutes or less. Most of my lyrics are “rated R”, but I feel like if I spent more time on it, I would be able to convey a better message with my lyrics. My recording process involves me screaming into those white apple headphones with the microphone attached. I go into a corner of my bedroom to record. It’s not very soundproof, but it’s the best I can do. Everything is plugged into my computer, and I use GarageBand to mix everything. I’m not very good at it at all, but I try my best.

How has attending the University of Michigan informed your creative process?

I don’t think attending U of M has informed my creative process at all. None of my friends are doing what I’m doing, but I still share whatever I’m working on with them. I appreciate the feedback they give me.

Who was the first person to give you the name Maaz Khalifa?

I got it from my teammates from high school soccer. I was really skinny (still am) and I had a slight mustache. Everyone thought I looked like Wiz Khalifa. His mixtape Cabin Fever was really popping off at the time as well. All the upperclassmen would blast it on the way to soccer games.

Why rap under that and not your government name?

I’ve always used that nickname for everything. Whether it be my Xbox gamertag, my Instagram, or random website usernames. Also, “Khalifa” means successor in Arabic and I feel like it had more meaning than my actual last name.

How did you link up with Affluent and Mula for your song “I Wanna”?

Affluent is a family friend from California. And Mula is a guy I found off Soundcloud.

Who are your top five favorite rappers of all time?

This is a tough one. In no particular order, Biggie, Drake, Lil Wayne, Kanye, Dr. Dre.

Who are the newer artists you like today?

Travis Scott, Quavo, Future, Lil Uzi, Young Thug, Post Malone, NAV, Big Sean

You’ve only put out 2 songs, one being “It’s Maaz Khalifa”, how did you come up with that song?

Me and my friend were freestyling just for fun over random beats on Youtube. I decided to write my lyrics down, record it the next day, and post it on Soundcloud. All just for fun. I had no intention of making money or for the song to gain any popularity. It was only recently that I realized I was making money from Spotify streams. Can’t believe I’ve made almost $100 with a song I made in under an hour. (“I Wanna”).

How many unreleased songs are you sitting on right now?

Like 4 unfinished songs.

Who are your favorite producers?

Metro Boomin and Dr. Dre are my absolute favorites. Some producers that are current;y peaking my interest are Murda Beatz, Beats By Saif, DJ Mustard, Southside, Mike WiLL Made-It, NAV, and London on da track.

What are your thoughts on Nav being the first brown boy to get it popping?

I’m in love with NAV, but I feel like it’s just brown people that like him a lot. I wish he blew up earlier. Can’t wait for Perfect Timing pt. 2. And I can’t believe he helped produce “Back To Back”-Drake.

What are your thoughts on the state of the music industry in 2018?

I think the state of the music industry in 2018 is solid. I feel like a lot of “old heads” aren’t used to hearing mumble rap, so they might think 2018 rap sucks, but in general, I like the direction it’s heading towards. I think it’s kind of tiring to hear a new “Lil [insert name]” rapper come out like every week, so I would say things are getting a little oversaturated, but that just means that rappers have to do whatever it takes to make higher quality music and stand out from the competition. I like how rappers hype up their upcoming projects on social media and put out snippets every once in a while.

What are your goals in music?

My only goal right now is to keep promoting my song without annoying all of my social media followers. I’m currently trying to focus on school and my music isn’t a high priority right now.

What’s next for you?

I am trying to continue to grow my Instagram and give advice to those who want help promoting their music. I’ve learned a bunch of different tactics through my year long music “career”. I may not have the free time to make my own music, but I hopefully will have enough time to help others with their music careers.

Listen to “I Wanna” and follow him on Instagram.

Khalid Steals Music Midtown

6:43 PM

Gucci Mane’s DJ takes the stage and starts with A$AP Ferg’s “Plain Jane”. He went on to spin Future “Same Damn Time” and cult classic “Knuck If U Buck”. Gucci took the stage 7:05 with Both, rapping along to Drake’s chorus, and I Get The Bag. He wore a white red and blue tracksuit with shades. He took his shirt off at 7:07 PM to further bring out what felt like a last-second outfit. Long matching basketball shorts. High red socks and chains. Back on Road was #3 and the second Drake feature to reel the crowd in. After asking where the day one fans were, Gucci segued into “I Think I Love Her”. After performing fan favorites like “Lemonade” and “Freaky Girl”, he brings out out four guests, each escalating in reception — Lil Quill, Yung Mal, and Hoodrich Pablo Juan out, and Lil Yachty for “Minnesota”.

Khalid takes the stage 7:45. At 7:56, he’s steadily fueled his performance with an all black ensemble of an outfit and five back up dancers wearing green. At 8 PM, he launches into a self proclaimed “sad as fuck” song. He ends up stealing Day 3 of Music Midtown with a three song run of “Let’s Go”, “Location”, and “OTW”, a relatively new single featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 6lack that shows the direction he may be headed in, a syrupy rhythm and blues sound that recalls late 90s nostalgia.

While the Pulitzer winning Music Midtown headliner prepared to go on stage, The Damn. Tour hologram hung, anticipation grew. He took it like foreign territory, wore a shirt a darker shade of green with the lettering NOT FOR SALE. He opened with DNA, started King Kunta at 9:10 PM. Largely able to go through the motions, Kendrick did some of that, but managed to break through a slow start to a near-raucous set, thanks to choice cuts like “Goosebumps”, “mAAd city”, and “Backseat Freestyle”. Listing all of his projects up to DAMN., he name-checked The Kendrick Lamar EP, but the none of his songs performed dated back to before his debut album on Interscope. “Money Trees” made an appearance, as did “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Before closing it out, Lamar ordered fireworks shot into the dusky black hue that hovered above Piedmont Park, a fitting gesture for an artist whose own intonations and declarations do something to the air.

#BNT: RobOlu – “Sucka Free”

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instagram.com/fathereg

BEST NEW TRACK

Nigerian-American artist RobOlu is one of the best new rappers to emerge within Atlanta’s bustling underground hip-hop scene. Following a packed to capacity release party for his full-length Bigger Than Reality and the brief but sublime Excellence extended play, RobOlu returns over Sensei ATL produced sound. The song is now streaming wherever you stream music.

 

BNT: Turls ~ Pusher (prod. Popstar Benny)

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Photo: Courtesy of Turls’ Twitter

BEST NEW TRACK

Popstar FM is quietly becoming one of Atlanta’s leading indie labels. Powered by mastermind Popstar Benny, a producer / graphic designer / DJ in his own right, Benny has proven to be relentless when it comes to keeping his foot on the gas.

His latest production, a 2:09 blend of his pop sensibilities and glittering melodies that separate him from the rest of Atlanta’s producers, provides the perfect background for Gwinnett County’s Turls to find the pocket. Turls particularly shines on the hook.

The two are working on an album together.

The single cover art was taken by Casey Doran. The track was mixed by Jackson Laurie / @Wavvv.

More Info:

Turls on Twitter

Popstar Benny on Twitter

Popstar FM on Twitter

Interview: Menace

 

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Photo: Courtesy of Menace

What do you use to produce?

FL Studio.

How long will you work on a production?

It depends. It might take an hour. Sometimes five to six hours.

When’s the last time you visited the US to work?

Last year — LA.

How did you link up with Blac Youngsta and produce track #14 “Forever” on his new album 223?

Through Epic. Zoey is his A&R.

Why did you want to work with Blac Youngsta?

Blac Youngsta is more… he brings a new flow. He’s the Martin Lawrence of this industry. He combines comedy and music.

What do you listen to outside of rap?

Latin artists.

What are you working on lately?

Drake’s new project, it’s coming out very soon. Travis Scott’s new album. Some Kevin Gates music.

How did the game change for you after the success of Panda?

It’s kind of like… I’m in the big house. But all the doors are locked for the rooms in the big house.

What’s your favorite thing about the music industry today?

I like that every ethnic group can get together and talk about the same thing — the music.

More Info:

Menace on Twitter

Daywlk – “Zoo” (prod. The Beat Plug)

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Photo: Joshua Sowemimo

Out of all my observations of Daywlk’s latest offering, “Zoo”, the most endearing quality is the artist’s patience in his delivery. He’s found new flows and it shows. The flow itself doesn’t let itself stagnate in the 3:06 it takes for Daywlk to conceptualize his thoughts, breaking itself up and putting itself back together over and over again. “Zoo” is produced by The Beat Plug and was mixed by Zach Alum.

More Info:

Daywlk on Twitter

Daywlk on Instagram

RobOlu – Excellence EP

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Photo: Nathaniel Johnson IV

RobOlu returns with 4 new songs, fashioned as the Excellence EP. The songs are dark and dynamic. As a result, Rob’s vocals boom like thunder. Be sure to check out his recent video for “Moonwalk”, his most pop-friendly record to date.

More Info:

RobOlu on Twitter