Tag Archives: tupac

And The Winner Is: Dot Dot Dot [Interview]

It’s 4am in Central Harlem, the city is fairly quiet, with the exception of the blaring loud music that Brandon “Dot” Cromwell is playing for a couple of friends in the studio.  Dressed in all black with his signature black rosary around his neck, he nods his head to the selection of beats his producer, Nana Kwabena created.  “Yo, let this loop real quick,” Dot, says to Nana. Quietly, he starts mouthing invisible lyrics, and grabs his iphone to record the words along with the beat. His friends just sit back and nod with his melodic lyrics.  “Ok, I’m sorry, I’m ready to talk now, I tend to get lost in this (music), that I forget my priorities.” He laughs, “I guess I have ADD or something.”

Earlier this year, Nana came to Dot with a plan that consisted of them moving from Philadelphia to New York to pursue music, “The decision was so easy for me that I sold my car and left.”  After moving to Southwest Philadelphia at a young age Dot, found his passion in rap after surrounding himself with a group that held rap battles with each other, “My friends were much better than I was, until I got better, now I’m the best.”   Philly has been known for it’s legendary singers such as Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and Marian Anderson, just to name a few. Theses legends have achieved a great amount during their eras, respectively carving their names in stone within the music world, but also giving Philadelphia some attention other than popular tourist attractions such as: the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. In the turn of the century Philadelphia was on top after Jay-Z signed State Property, which consisted of Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Peedi Peedi, Oschino, Omillio Sparks, and the Young Gunz. After many hits and two movies State Property and State Property 2, In 2008, Jay-Z dismantled Roc-a-fella, and since then there has been a missing voice to represent the City of Brotherly love on national airwaves in rap. However, Neo-Soul artist such as Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, The Roots have remained in the mainstream targeting their audiences in their genres. Gathering his thoughts, Nana sits back and reminisces of State Property’s fall out with Rockfella,  “Having our own brand, our own team, our own message, and having our own movement, I think is what gives people longevity.”

Now, in 2010, many may disagree that Hip Hop is Dead because it went from just a genre of music to an era that continues to redefine itself. Today, rappers now sing, create dance trends, and fashion trends that are seen from Los Angeles to Tokyo. While visiting his native home of Ghana, Nana, witnessed Hip Hop away from home with his own eyes, “People in Ghana are still wearing bandanas TuPac use to wear, spitting lyrics he use to say. I feel Nas, when he says ‘Hip Hop is Dead’, but I also realized that the form of rap has changed from before his time and after him and to him, his form maybe dead, but to the people of Hip Hop they’re adapting doing what they use to in a new form.”

In the works for the Philadelphia native Dot, is his mixtape called Aviators & Bombers, which is set to debut by the end of this year and draws a concept with how people equate success with materialistic items, “All we have to do is work really hard and buy all these nice things for attention, and I have people in jail right now because all they were trying to do was look nice.” Dot, briefly looks down at his diamond incrusted watch,  “Not saying that these material things that we strive for are wrong, just saying this is happening, this is what we’re all into and I’m no stranger to it, I’m apart of it too.”

By: Mereb Gebremariam| Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @MerebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Introducing… Peter Lee Johnson [VIDEO]

Awesome Violin covers by Peter Lee Johnson from Seattle. Here is one off his YouTube Channel: Cee Lo Green – “F*** You”

2Pac – Changes (Violin Cover)