Posts tagged with "Kendrick Lamar"

Cover via Hannah Haines of Ten Thousand for use by 360 Magazine

WIZtheMC – Everything Music Video

South African born, Germany raised, and Toronto based pop/rap artist WizTheMc releases a music video for his latest single “Everything.” Directed and edited by Clyde Monroe, and starring Noa Fisher (Uncut Gems, Betty), the video showcases the highs and lows of a whirlwind love affair. “The “Everything” video is a visual representation of Infatuation, the first of many stages of love that I will be exploring in my upcoming releases,” says WizTheMc.

The video for “Everything” serves as the first in a series of three visual chapters due from Wiz this year. Along with “Break” and “Do It Over”, the three visuals unite to tell a linear cinematic story about Wiz’s experience with love and relationships. The video for “Everything” debuted on Diffus Magazine earlier this morning.

The acoustic guitar driven single follows up the success of Wiz’s What About Now? EP, released at the end of last year on 10K Projects/ Homemade Projects. The EP includes Wiz’s breakout single “For A Minute,” which has surpassed 30M streams on Spotify to date.

Fitting for an artist who spent formative years on three different continents, WizTheMc describes his sound as “borderless music.” It’s an apt description for the 22-year-old singer, rapper, and producer, who combines an ear for sticky pop hooks with nimble rapping abilities, all bolstered by high-octane production and summery guitar loops.

Currently based in Toronto, the Cape Town-born artist is bringing his magnetic records to the masses. As a teenager, he began rapping with friends in the town of Lüneberg, Germany, and like many Gen Z creatives, applied a DIY ethos to music-making.

“For me, it was always the internet. I learned how to freestyle off the internet, how to write songs, how to make beats,” he says. “That’s so beautiful, because no matter where I was, if I had my laptop, my interface, and my mic, I could make music.”

Wiz’s career hit warp speed in the summer of 2020, when his peppy love song “For a Minute” became a major online hit, following his signing with Elliot Grainge’s 10K Projects.  It’s since accrued over 27 million streams on Spotify alone. A charming music video shot in the midst of quarantine highlights Wiz’s natural charisma, easy screen presence, and goofy sense of humor. But now that he’s got more resources behind him, he’s committed to making a world that expands on his music.

Recent videos for “All My Friends Are Stoned” and “World is Fucked” showcase Wiz’s playful and visually creative side, with rich color palettes and surreal humor. “Sometimes, I would just write the chorus and then write the music video concept just off the chorus,” he says. “With everything I’m making, there is just a visual element that’s working in the background.”

In addition to gearing up for live shows including major festival dates like Austin City Limits, Wiz is currently putting the finishing touches on a new batch of songs. He says introspective rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have inspired him to pour more of himself than ever before into the music he’s writing; “it’s been my goal to be able to put down my emotions as accurately as possible onto paper. To the point that I feel moved by my own words because they feel so true to me,” Wiz says. “I feel like these songs are the closest to my real experience. These are the most vulnerable songs I’ve written to date.”

Forthcoming singles “Everything” and “Break” have a darker sensibility and an urgency to them, drawing attention to Wiz’s emotive rasp. He uses songwriting for emotional excavation, but maintains that what matters more to him is not what he gets out of a song, but what you do.

“My favorite thing is when I make something I don’t understand or love immediately and then it grows on me,” he explains. “I feel like it’s an empowering idea for artists that we are not really the ones in control to make something meaningful. We don’t have to understand anything to make anything great, we just have to be there and show up and let the music come through us.”

Cover via Hannah Haines of Ten Thousand for use by 360 Magazine

WIZTHEMC × EVERYTHING

WIZTHEMC RELEASES NEW SINGLE “EVERYTHING”

Today, pop/rap artist WizTheMc releases his latest single “Everything,” out now via 10K Projects/ Homemade Projects. The acoustic guitar driven single arrives ahead of his debut album, due this year, and follows up the success of his EP What About Now? The EP, released at the end of last year, features the breakout single “For A Minute,” which has amassed nearly 30M streams on Spotify to date.

LISTEN TO “EVERYTHING” HERE

Fitting for an artist who spent formative years on three different continents, WizTheMc describes his sound as “borderless music.” It’s an apt description for the 22-year-old singer, rapper, and producer, who combines an ear for sticky pop hooks with nimble rapping abilities, all bolstered by high-octane production and summery guitar loops.

Currently based in Toronto, the Cape Town-born artist is bringing his magnetic records to the masses. As a teenager, he began rapping with friends in the town of Lüneberg, Germany, and like many Gen Z creatives, applied a DIY ethos to music-making.

“For me, it was always the internet. I learned how to freestyle off the internet, how to write songs, how to make beats,” he says. “That’s so beautiful, because no matter where I was, if I had my laptop, my interface, and my mic, I could make music.”

Wiz’s career hit warp speed in the summer of 2020, when his peppy love song “For a Minute” became a major online hit, following his signing with Elliot Grainge’s 10K Projects.  It’s since accrued over 27 million streams on Spotify alone. A charming music video shot in the midst of quarantine highlights Wiz’s natural charisma, easy screen presence, and goofy sense of humor. But now that he’s got more resources behind him, he’s committed to making a world that expands on his music.

Recent videos for “All My Friends Are Stoned” and “World is Fucked” showcase Wiz’s playful and visually creative side, with rich color palettes and surreal humor. “Sometimes, I would just write the chorus and then write the music video concept just off the chorus,” he says. “With everything I’m making, there is just a visual element that’s working in the background.”

In addition to gearing up for live shows including major festival dates like Austin City Limits, Wiz is currently putting the finishing touches on a new batch of songs. He says introspective rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have inspired him to pour more of himself than ever before into the music he’s writing; “it’s been my goal to be able to put down my emotions as accurately as possible onto paper. To the point that I feel moved by my own words because they feel so true to me,” Wiz says. “I feel like these songs are the closest to my real experience. These are the most vulnerable songs I’ve written to date.”

Forthcoming singles “Everything” and “Break” have a darker sensibility and an urgency to them, drawing attention to Wiz’s emotive rasp. He uses songwriting for emotional excavation, but maintains that what matters more to him is not what he gets out of a song, but what you do.

“My favorite thing is when I make something I don’t understand or love immediately and then it grows on me,” he explains. “I feel like it’s an empowering idea for artists that we are not really the ones in control to make something meaningful. We don’t have to understand anything to make anything great, we just have to be there and show up and let the music come through us.”

Headphones illustration by Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

BUTCH DAWSON RELEASES SINGLE × MUSIC VIDEO – GET MONEY

Rapper, producer, songwriter and “a leading voice in Baltimore’s evolving music scene” (Baltimore Sun) Butch Dawson unveils his latest single “Get Money” with accompanying music video. Self-recorded and produced, “Get Money” is raw and textured while showcasing Butch’s dexterous flow. The catchy single follows on the heels of “Hummer,” the lead track off his highly anticipated EP Stardust, out later this summer via Asylum Records.

Co-directed by Khufu Najee and Loris Russier, the “Get Money” video takes the viewer on a first-hand journey of a day and night in the life with Butch and his crew. Blending fast & eccentric footage with still photographs the visuals simultaneously create a real time and nostalgic adventure.

Click here to listen to “Get Money.”

Click here to watch the “Get Money” music video.

“Get Money was made last year. It’s about getting money any way possible and just the perfect montage to get money to,” Butch explains. “The inspiration came from a Kendrick Lamar cadence on ‘ELEMENT.,’ and I created the beat around my vocals. This song feels like an anthem for Baltimore and reminds me of the late single from Tim Trees called ‘Bankroll.’ It’s a simple beat but creates room for a catchy wordplay.”

Merging at the intersection of music and fashion, the West Baltimore native’s braggadocious bars and experimental perspective are all the right elements for a promising career. On his major label debut, Butch shares, “Stardust is about my transition into becoming a household name. The name derived from a project that I wanted to put out before covid called “Jazzstar.” Conceptually, I wanted to highlight all the qualities that makes me a star, and an interesting person. I want to leave my mark in the industry by setting an example and always doing something that breaks barriers. I’m dropping that star dust on the game.”

Stardust EP Track List:

  1. Celebrate
  2. Hummer
  3. All Mine
  4. One Heaven Away
  5. Sutter Hoe
  6. Get Money
  7. Momentum

“Maintains his inner punk side, continuing with his experimental energy, relishes in a more jazz-focused approach to raw hip-hop.” -HYPEBEAST

“Butch Dawson has long been at the forefront of Baltimore’s eclectic DIY rap scene.” -DJ Booth

Butch Dawson is a Rapper You Should Know Right Now – Read More Via DJ Booth

ABOUT BUTCH DAWSON:

Butch Dawson’s artistic journey is a testament to what can happen when someone doesn’t place any parameters around their creativity. The West Baltimore native has been a pivotal figure in his hometown’s hip-hop scene for a decade, starting as a battle rapper while still in high school. In the years following those embryonic stages, Butch’s artistry began to blossom as he developed his skills in constructing songs, producing for himself and others, while also finding innovative ways to promote what he and his peers were making. In the early half of the 2010’s, his music reflected the shit-talking, bounciness that rappers trying to get crowds to jump and down to their songs reflected at the time. But towards the middle of the decade, with songs like “Red Leather Chair,” his sound started to trend more towards a jazzy, melancholy direction where he was able to peel back his emotional layers in a way that he hadn’t before. As time progressed, Butch’s music has become a down-the-middle split between making you want to punch a hole through the wall and inspiring you to sit back and gather your thoughts about life, past, present and future.

And while his career evolved over this span of time, Butch was simultaneously helping usher in an alternative route for rappers trying to break out of Baltimore. He hails from the Pennsylvania Avenue section of West Baltimore, an area steeped in musical history. Clubs like the former Royal Theater regularly hosted Black musical icons like Billie Holiday and visiting artists as they hit the Chitlin’ Circuit. But during Butch’s lifetime, though still an essential part of Black Baltimore culture, Pennsylvania Avenue regressed into a shell of its former self, with the majority of nightlife destinations vanishing, while crime and dilapidation rose considerably. This pushed a young creative Butch who was hungry for inspiration to start looking past his neighborhood and other familiar parts of the city. What he found was Central Baltimore’s transplant-heavy alternative DIY scene, and it opened his mind to a new way to approach his work.

Getting into that scene helped me evolve artistically because, you know, I was more open to different shit, he says. Living in the hood and shit all day, you can be close-minded a little bit if you don’t go out and just see the world for yourself. So for me, just going out there and just seeing people soak all this music up, it allowed me to just open my mind creatively, and it made me become more experimental with my music.

As he was making his way in the alternative scene, tirelessly releasing collaborative projects with others in that orbit, establishing the Basement Rap collective with like-minded friends, and getting coverage from national music platforms, Butch was inspiring other kids from inner city Baltimore to spread their wings. It also made Baltimore a much more enticing destination for artists from elsewhere, like standout rapper and producer JPEGMAFIA who moved to the city in 2014 and began collaborating with Butch almost instantly. For this, Butch Dawson is already a pioneer, which makes his recent accomplishments all the more special.

In 2018, he released his breakout project Swamp Boy, an eight-track album that is the most complete representation of what makes him exceptional. It features songs like Division St. Blues, a somber ode to the street he grew up on and how it’s changed over the years. Around the same time, he began to model for and collaborate with fashion designer Telfar Clemens. In 2019, he followed Swamp Boy with Ollieworld, a more high octane project that felt like it was made with performing live in mind (he toured with JPEGMAFIA across North America that year). The majority of this was accomplished from Butch’s home studio in Baltimore. And now as he’s newly signed to Asylum Records, it feels like the rest of the world will finally be hip to the gifts that he’s been sharing for over ten years now.

Connect With Butch Dawson:

Instagram | Twitter | Youtube | Soundcloud

image from Alex John for use by 360 Magazine

BLXST × BINO RIDEAUX — SIXTAPE 2

On Friday, rising LA hip-hop artists Blxst and Bino Rideaux teamed up for the release of their collaborative project, Sixtape 2. Out now via Red Bull Records, the project serves as the highly anticipated sequel to the 2019 release of Sixtape, which helped to catapult both artists’ careers and establish them as two of the West Coast’s most exciting new acts. You can stream Sixtape 2 HERE.

Spanning across twelve tracks, including the hit single “Movie,” Sixtape 2 showcases the palpable chemistry between the South Central artists, flexing their smooth, stylistic lyricism and penchant for catchy hooks. Serving as songwriters on the project, in addition to Blxst producing several of the tracks, Sixtape 2 allows both artists to highlight their individual talents while maintaining an effortless sense of collaboration, making for one of the must-listen projects of the summer.

The release of Sixtape 2 is also accompanied by the music video for the single “One Of Them Ones,” which finds both artists at a late-night casino. Featuring a motivational opening narration by DJ Drama, the visual features XXL Freshman class member Blxst and Def Jam signee Bino as they celebrate their rise to success, surrounded by their crew as they gamble and commemorate how far they’ve come. You can watch the music video HERE.

Sixtape 2 is out now, full tracklist is below and is available to stream on all platforms HERE.

Sixtape 2 Tracklist

1. Pop Out

2. Movie

3. Might Do Well

4. Program

5. One Of Them Ones

6. Accountable

7. Hate How Much

8. She Perfect

9. What Is It

10. Stressful

11. Time Will Only Tell

12. Beginning To The Ending

About Blxst

Blxst began his solo music career in Los Angeles in 2015, rapping, singing, writing and producing. From self-editing his videos and artwork to mixing and mastering his sound, he’s been on an unstoppable run, gaining notoriety for his productions and collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, YG, Eric Bellinger, Mustard, G Perico, Mozzy and Kalan.FrFr.

Last year saw the release of his highly anticipated debut EP, No Love Lost, an expansive and emotive collection of music inspired by past relationships and his hometown of Los Angeles. Paired with a four-part cinematic series of videos to bring the project’s overarching narrative to life, its quintessential West Coast vibe received acclaim from fans, press and tastemakers, cited by Pigeons & Planes as “one of the best projects of 2020.” Following this up with his first release of 2021, the two-track project Just For Clarity featuring Drakeo the Ruler and Russ, Blxst has solidified his position as the next must-watch musician out of LA. Receiving praise from Billboard, BET, Complex, Pitchfork and more, in 2021, Blxst was announced as a XXL Freshman Class member and an Amazon Breakthrough artist. This fall also sees Blxst headline his first ever North American tour, which sold out in less than an hour.

About Bino Rideaux

With a one-two punch of laidback flows and hypnotic melodies, Bino Rideaux has quietly shaped the next era of West Coast hip-hop. Growing up in South Central, he crafted his 2015 independent project, Life Is Like A Movie, out of a D.I.Y. studio in his grandmother’s house. Gaining traction around L.A., he co-founded Out The Blue Records and dropped music at a prolific pace. Penned in the wake of his homie KP’s death, “100 Days 100 Nights” caught the attention of the late Nipsey Hussle. He featured on Nipsey’s tracks “Clarity” and “The Field” before they teamed up on the 2017 joint project No Pressure.

As his profile rose, Bino linked with Blxst on Sixtape in 2019 before unleashing his full-length debut, Outside, which boasted appearances by heavyweights such as Ty Dolla $ign, Fredo Bang, Mozzy, and BlueBucksClan. In addition to praise from ComplexLA WeeklyVICE and more, UPROXX named it one of the “100 Best Albums of 2020.” Signing to Def Jam in partnership with Out The Blue, he only perfected his signature style on the likes of “Pride 2 The Side” and “BET” before igniting 2021 with the entrancing guitar-laden trip of “Incredible” [feat. Drakeo The Ruler]. Pegged as one of Rolling Stone’s “Breakthrough 25,” Billboard championed him among “6 LA Rappers to Watch in 2021” and went on to describe him as “the brightest star to emerge from that orbit.” Meanwhile, KAZI christened him “one of the West Coast’s most exciting new talents.

TOBi Off The Drugs album cover fro Sarah Weinstein Dennison, RCA Records for use by 360 Magazine

TOBi × Mick Jenkins – Off The Drugs

Winner of the 2021 Juno Award for Best Rap Recording of the Year for his project Elements, Vol. 1, Canada-raised/Nigeria-born TOBi and Mick Jenkins today release an old school groove “Off The Drugs” via Same Plate/RCA Records.

Listen/watch the lyric video here.

Speaking on the inspiration behind the song, TOBi says, “When I smoke, I see things clearer and I’m way more aware. So I’m intentional about how I use it. I think more money should go into researching things like cannabis and mushrooms for their healing properties. Just the way I look at it, so many things are actually drugs—alcohol, gambling, even social media cuz it affects brain chemistry, but all that shit is legal. Whereas things that can legitimately heal if properly understood and done correctly are stigmatized, it’s wild. Mick came thru and bodied the verse as he should, and we’ve got a video on the way too. I just wanna live life to the fullest and enjoy this while it lasts. Life to me is a good trip if you let it be.”

The slow burning track follows a handful of TOBi’s singles  “Come As You Are” featuring Baby Rose and “Don’t Touch!” which Complex heralded for its “smooth production…elevating (TOBi’s) empowered musings on the hairy side of the Black experience to new heights.”

His re-working of track “Family Matters” with Flo Milli was described as a “dynamic” and “impassioned reboot” (Atwood) and Highsnobiety declared it a “formidable pairing.”

ABOUT TOBi

TOBi released his music project ELEMENTS, Vol. 1 in fall 2020, heralded by the critics, combining hip-hop, R&B, soul, grime & Afrobeats. The project features some of TOBi’s favorite producers & musicians worldwide and embodies the sounds and music that have influenced his artistry. TOBi was voted by Complex Magazine as “a top artist to watch” and has received critical praise from Interview MagazinePitchfork, Vogue, Teen Vogue, L’Officiel, Paper, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Clash, OkayAfrica, Flaunt, Exclaim!, Refinery29, Essential Homme, COLORS, and many more. The rising star announced his partnership with Same Plate Entertainment/RCA Records last year and has enjoyed over 49 million streams globally. Prior to ELEMENTS, TOBi released his debut album STILL in May 2019 followed by a deluxe edition, exploring themes of vulnerability, post traumatic growth, self-reflection and masculinity in his time emigrating from Nigeria to Canada. STILL’s release was followed by two new singles “Holiday” produced by !llmind, “Paid,” the “City Blues Remix” featuring The Game, the “180 Remix” featuring Kemba and the “24” remix featuring all Torontonians SHAD, Haviah Mighty, Jazz Cartier and Ejji Smith.

TOBi has cited the work of Gil Scott-Heron, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Marvin Gaye, Eartha Kitt, Florence and the Machine, and Andre 3000 as some of the artists who have inspired his work, particularly his lyrics.

Follow TOBi:

Instagram – Facebook – Twitter – YouTube – Spotify – Apple

 

by EVIDENCE for use by 360 Magazine

EVIDENCE Draws Attention to Social Injustice via Impactful Short Film

Damian Marley, Nabil Elderkin, Berner & More Join Evidence Co-Founder’s Dan & Casey Dalton to Launch Social Justice Cannabis Brand EVIDENCE

On the eve of Juneteeth, and coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of President Nixon’s War on DrugsEVIDENCE officially launched with a video collaboration via Rolling Stone between artist, cannabis activist Damian Marley, EVIDENCE Creative Director Nabil Elderkin who is also a legendary music video filmmaker known for his work with Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, John Legend; and cannabis entrepreneur, artist, philanthropist, Berner. Produced by music manager, activist and EVIDENCE Co-Founder Dan Dalton, the short film beautifully encapsulates the social justice movement and message behind EVIDENCEa much-buzzed about cannabis brand that packages its flower in police-style evidence bags with the intent of not-so-subtly compelling customers to reckon with the racial disparities surrounding drug-law enforcement.

Everyone involved has a singular goal: to bring attention to the 40,000 prisoners of cannabis prohibition, and $1 from every EVIDENCE cannabis bag sale goes to criminal justice reform non-profit Last Prisoner Project.

Operating out of an abandoned, high security private prison in Coalinga, California, EVIDENCE Co-Founder Casey Dalton says, “We grow weed at a prison to get people out of prison for growing weed.”

Evidence and Last Prisoner Project both stand for a very honorable cause,” said Damian Marley. “With Last Prisoner Project, through the work that they’re doing in trying to get people who are incarcerated for cannabis out of jail; and Evidence through being a brand that is helping to support that same movement. To me it was a victory to be able to turn a facility that was once a place of despair, doom, and gloom, into something that is now a place of joy and healing. We are proud to be a part of that.

The EVIDENCE parent company, Ocean Grown Extracts, is a family-owned, woman-run cannabis brand with a deeply ingrained social justice mission. Since co-founding the California-based company, siblings Casey, Dan, and Kelly Dalton have sought to raise awareness surrounding the racial inequities inherent in the War on Drugs. In a particularly impactful move, the Daltons purchased an abandoned, high-security private prison in 2016, then transformed that space into a state-licensed facility where they cultivate, manufacture, and rigorously test a variety of cannabis formulations. With their recent triumphs, including this launch of EVIDENCE, Ocean Grown continues to create exceptionally clean and high-quality products.

Along with establishing Ocean Grown as one of the first large-scale cannabis manufacturing permit-holders in the state of California, the Coalinga space almost immediately boosted the local economy, eliminating the city’s debt and generating over 100 jobs in its first year of operation. And in a poetic turn of events, the company assembled their team of security personnel from several former guards from the former prison, this time hiring them to keep watch over their crop of cannabis plants, not people.

Ocean Grown has recently achieved several milestones such as securing the first outdoor cultivation license in Fresno County a monumental accomplishment in an area recognized as one of the most productive agricultural regions in the entire world. They are also gearing up to open a retail store and consumption lounge in Coalinga, a location primed to be a destination spot for road trippers making the trek between Los Angeles and San Francisco. In all its endeavors, Ocean Grown and EVIDENCE remain passionately committed to correcting the injustices associated with cannabis prohibition, and building a sustainable, more equitable future for the industry at large.

illustration by Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

HQ CONFIDENTIAL – Seeing is Believing

By: Kai Yeo, Vaughn Lowery, Armon Hayes, Emily Bunn x Sydney Mayer

Lexus has announced its brand new 2022 NX model, equipped with updated technology and driving dynamics. Toyota and Lexus invited 360 Magazine to fly out with Delta Comfort+ to visit the automaker’s headquarters in Texas, so the company embarked on a Covid-friendly, four-day lifestyle trip for the first time since the pandemic. The trip offered participants the opportunity to experience the new 2022 Lexus NX, learn about Lexus’s initiatives and launches for the near future, and even ride with celebrity drivers like Scott Pruett.

Vaughn Lowery and Armon Hayes for 360 Magazine

Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

The headquarters in Plano, TX is a state-of-the-art corporate campus oasis. The architecture displays outstanding craftsmanship and an innovative foundation, which are the principles upon which that Toyota was founded. Meredith Ezinma Ramsay,  – classical hip-hop violinist who has worked with artists such as SZA, Kendrick Lamar, and most famously with Beyoncé on her Coachella stage – performed a strings piece at the campus to introduce the Lexus NX 2022.

By Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel

The Renaissance Dallas was breathtaking. An anchor to the upscale complex of Legacy West in Plano, the cosmopolitan hotel was located in the city within walking distance of top dining and shopping options. Drink in hand, visitors can gather at the rooftop pool or by the fire pit to relax and enjoy our food. The rooms were also equipped with pillow-top bedding, high-speed Wi-Fi, and a smart TV.

Designed to highlight local and regional cultures, Renaissance Dallas allows guests to immerse themselves in a creative blend of North Texas western influences and Asian culture. The hotel prides itself on “West of Zen” visual art experiences, as well as an urban mixed-use development. As Lexus is a brand that originated from Japan, this theme was fitting for the trip. Simply staying in the hotel was already a vacation in itself.

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Toyota. Marketed in more than 70 countries and territories worldwide, the Lexus brand is Japan’s largest-selling maker of premium cars. Akio Toyoda, current CEO and grandson of Toyota founder, has promoted sports models like the Lexus IS-F and Lexus LF-A at auto races. He also participates as a driver at racing events under the fake name “Morizo.” It’s unusual to see a brand’s president be so hands-on with development, but that’s just another reason that Toyota is a unique company prepared to lead the future.

Since the pandemic started, global mobility has been essentially halted and there has been a huge financial downturn, even for the giants of the car manufacturing industry. AutoBlog has posted that Toyota hit their decade’s lowest sales in 2019, “The Japanese automaker said its sales in July fell 19% versus the same month in 2019, to 169,484 units. Despite being one of the top brands of car manufacturing, Toyota was also affected by the Covid crisis, “In its financial year (FY) ending in March 2021, Toyota only produced 7.55M units of vehicles compared to 8.82M in FY 2020. FY 2021’s figure is also the lowest number of vehicles produced by Toyota since FY 2012 when Toyota only produced 7.44M vehicles.

As they compete with Volkswagen for the top car brand spot and struggle with sales during the pandemic, Toyota continues to produce car models with strong, new developments.

by Lexus for use by 360 Magazine

The NX will be available in a variety of fresh colors, including Redline, Cloudburst Gray, and Grecian Water. There will also be options that include Ultra White, Obsidian, and Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0, which are exclusive to the F Sport NX models.

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Luxury Inside and Out

The 2022 NX will also have additional updates made to alleviate interior cabin noise and reduce exterior distractions. On the inside, drivers can choose their nature theme of choice with Thematic Ambient Illumination, an optional feature that transforms the NX interior with 14 themes and 64 colors. Each mode has been carefully selected “to express ephemeral emotions and evoke nature-inspired feelings.” The themes included are Rain Forest, Waterfall, and Sunset.

Luxury is not only about looks, but also about how the customer feels. The new NX comes with standard heated front seats and optional heated rear seats for added comfort throughout the cabin. Increased head and legroom, as well as storage space, have also been added. Interior seat and console colors come in Black, Black with Rich Cream, Palomino, and Rioja Red NuLuxe.

For the NX’s first time, the panoramic moonroof lets passengers see the sky with the push of a button. The smooth gliding opening and closing elevates the luxury feel and provides easy stargazing and airflow.

Cockpit Design and New Multimedia System

The NX driver-centered cockpit has been updated with the driver in mind. To better connect the driver to the vehicle, the new 7-inch Multi Instrument Display (MID) and optional 10-inch Head Up Display (HUD) are designed to convey vehicle information as well as alerts within the driver’s line of sight. All functions are accessible through the steering wheel to allow for intuitive operation while still ensuring safe driving practices and keeping the driver’s eyes on the road.

An optional 14-inch touch screen (first for NX) features an immersive multimedia experience. The large screen allows for easy operation and viewing. Dial controls remain for frequently used functions such as climate control and media volume, and comfort features are readily accessible. This all-new interface allows the NX to integrate and navigate swiftly, providing intuitive technology at the driver’s fingertips. Equipped with Human Machine Interface (HMI), user interaction is enhanced through sight, touch and voice, thus catering to accessibility needs. Following the customer-first approach, the newly developed Virtual Assistant (VA) is intended to be the primary way occupants interact with the new multimedia system. The voice-first approach allows front seat occupants to access features such as navigation, media, phone, and other vehicle settings. The built-in VA responses allow for intuitive replies, thus creating a human-like conversation.

by Lexus for use by 360 Magazine

The Lexus Interface was devised with function and easy access in mind. 100% cloud capability and Google POI integration allows the system to have faster and more accurate navigation to get the driver and passengers to their destination quickly and safely. Enhanced navigation allows for offline mode, which detects when vehicles enter areas with low connection and then automatically downloads maps in advance, saving trouble and panic.

In the age of digital transformation, the user profile feature creates a more personalized experience so that moving from vehicle to vehicle is convenient. The driver’s personalized settings will be retained on the cloud and are accessible each time they return to the vehicle. Once created, users can use a Bluetooth device to access their profile. An extension of the user profile feature, vehicles equipped with this new system will enable owners the access to a digital key. This digital key allows drivers to lock/unlock and start/stop their vehicle through the Toyota of Lexus app (when within Bluetooth proximity to the vehicle). The digital key can be shared with up to seven different guest users and no password or PIN is required, creating a seamless guest experience via the app.

Through the app, drivers also receive personalized maintenance updates and vehicle health reports to help maintain their vehicle. For the 2022 model, Lexus NX will also feature standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, as well as a new addition to charge your phone wirelessly.

Safety System

With the safety of all passengers in mind, the new Lexus NX will come equipped with the latest Lexus Safety System +3.0 for safe driving. Functions of the system include: 

  • Risk Avoidance Emergency Steer Assist – supports collision avoidance within the lane by providing gentle braking and steering operation.
  • Left Turn Oncoming Vehicle Detection/Braking – designed to provide a warning and automatic braking if the driver turns left in front of an oncoming vehicle.
  • Right/Left Turn Oncoming Pedestrian Detection/Braking – designed to provide a warning and automatic braking if a driver turns left or right in front of an oncoming pedestrian or cyclist.
  • Oncoming Vehicle Detection added to the Pre-Collision System – designed to alert the driver, and potentially activate automatic emergency braking to help avoid a frontal collision.
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Curve Speed Management – maintains a cruising speed in alignment with the flow of traffic while managing speed on curves.

Additions to the current Lexus Safety System features for NX:

  • Road Sign Assist – displays select road sign information in the instrument panel.
  • Pre-collision System – provides the potential to detect a preceding vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist in low-light situations.
  • Lane Assistance – designed to provide an audible alert if an inadvertent lane departure is detected.
  • Intelligent High Beam– provides greater visibility for drivers with added illumination when the road ahead is clear, then temporarily switches to low beams when it detects the headlamps or taillamps of vehicles ahead.
  • Road Sign Assist – uses a built-in camera to help provide road sign information in the instrument panel or even on the available Head-Up Display. The system can also alert the driver of certain detected signs that otherwise might have been missed.
  • Safety Exit – seamless door opening with the push of a button, when activated it makes sure that door does not open when there are passers-by such as bikes or pedestrians. Available for rear doors as well for protection of children and family.

by Lexus for use by 360 Magazine

These safety features provide peace of mind for unexpected emergencies and connect drivers with a 24/7 emergency response agent.

The all-new 2022 NX will start production in the third quarter of 2021. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

New NX 350 2.4 Turbo Engine

Enhancements in vehicle rigidity now allows the NX for a higher horsepower 2.4 turbo gas engine. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but the new 8-speed transmission also provides the gas-powered NX with the feel of a performance vehicle with the perspective of a crossover utility vehicle. The turbo gas-powered engine has an estimated 275 horsepower and 317lbs. per foot of torque. When combined, the engine results in a 0–60 second time of 6.8 seconds, which is half a second quicker than the previous models.

This is made possible by improvements to torsional rigidity through laser peening welding and the addition of high rigidity foam. The twin hood lock also adds front lateral flexural rigidity that improves the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

by Lexus for use by 360 Magazine

NX 450h+ Plug-In Hybrid

The new plug-in hybrid PHEV system brings Lexus Electrified to life through performance and design, as well as through the signature quietness of this model. The NX 450h+ has an estimated 36-mile range on electric power only, made possible by the newly developed lithium-ion battery. The system achieves the EV output equivalent to a 2.0-liter engine. When combined with the newly developed hybrid transaxle, a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine delivers on the performance luxury guests are seeking with an estimated 6.0 second 0–60 second time.

The high-output and high-efficiency systems were constructed to reduce power loss when converting AC power to DC power, resulting in shorter charging times. The NX plug-in hybrid can be fully charged in about two and a half hours when equipped with the optional 6.6 kW Expedited Onboard Charger. With the standard 3.3 kW charger, it will take about four and a half hours.

For a sporty driving experience, the NX 450h+ uses a newly developed, electronically-controlled, full-time AWD system. Optimizing front and rear torque distribution according to the driving conditions, the driver can control the vehicle as intended, with elegant control for a wide range of driving styles.

Along with the navigation, Predictive Efficient Drive will be coupled to learn driving habits and predict the expected roadway ahead while analyzing real-time traffic reports. This helps to optimize charging and discharging of the hybrid battery. With more miles clocked on the NX, more data is gathered to help optimize fuel consumption. With accumulated knowledge about the driver’s behavior, the system will be able to predict when the vehicle is likely to slow down or stop. This allows for more efficient energy to be recovered and recharged into the hybrid battery, optimizing battery capacity for the electricity plug-in hybrid model. While Lexus is unable to give us the exact specs yet, an official announcement will be made later on.

Hybrid Performance and Fuel Economy

Known for their signature driving performance, passengers can experience great performance and fuel economy with the new Lexus NX 350h. With a combined 239 horsepower, a 20% increase over the current model, and an estimated 36 MPG, the NX hybrid brings a brilliant performance that illustrates the brand’s hybrid leadership. Passengers will also be able to feel the quicker 0–60 time with 1.5 seconds taken off the time from previous NX generations at 7.2 seconds.

The hybrid drive system pairs the D4-S fuel injection 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators for strong acceleration and passing performance. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft for the rear wheels, the AWD system employs a second, independent electric motor to drive the rear wheels to maintain optimal traction.

by Lexus for use by 360 Magazine

Teammate Advanced Drive Backgrounder 

The Teammate advanced driver assistance will debut on select 2022 Lexus LS 500h models with AWD and is expected to arrive in the US this fall. The Level 2 system evolves from adaptive cruise control to automatically change lanes and pass vehicles while driving.

Designed to partner with and assist the driver on the highway, it enables automatic steering, acceleration, and braking on the highway under the active supervision of the driver. This technology also enables the car to parallel park itself or back into a parking spot. Lexus Teammate teams two systems: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Safety is the first priority of the automated driving development program, so Lexus has committed Advanced Drive to this cause. The Advanced Drive integrates the vehicle’s mapping system and plans 6 miles ahead to help reach the car’s destination. This benefits the driver by reducing fatigue from driving. A series of fail-safe operations are also included to help prevent loss of control for up to four seconds in the event of a system malfunction or limitation.

Developed in close coordination between Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor North America, engineers used the same test vehicles in both countries. This allowed for the development of U.S.-specific considerations, such as HOV lanes and draw bridges. These tests helped to incorporate catered design and performance into the Advanced Drive system.

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Electrified Cars

Alongside the safety of passengers, the environment is also a top priority. Toyota and Lexus will debut a new, electrified model lineup, with two battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). These models are eco-friendly and brilliantly created, similar to a “Mission Impossible” movie.

The new electrified models further expand Toyota’s leadership in alternative powertrain vehicles. Toyota’s goal is to have 40% of new vehicle sales be electrified models and expects that to increase to nearly 70% by 2030. Toyota hybrid vehicles sold globally have avoided emitting an estimated 139 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. In the US alone, Toyota hybrid vehicles have avoided 38 million tons of GHG. This achievement was made possible with Toyota’s commitment to the environment.

Toyota’s internal research found that both the BEV and PHEV models provide similar environmental benefits. By factoring in pollutants created by electricity production and using it to charge batteries, the production of a PHEV emits less GHG. Both of these models have a unique profile and by diversifying their car portfolio, consumers will have a bigger range of models to choose from to best suit their usage needs and cost profile, while still maximizing GHG reduction.

At the press conference, Toyota promised 20 new models by 2025 for more sustainable development and looked to continue expanding their electrified car models. As further proof of Toyota’s commitment to the environment, they agreed to purchase power from a Clearway Energy Group wind farm to reduce the overall carbon footprint from electricity used from the power grid. For transparency and positive environmental impact, Toyota writes an annual environmental report to update its consumers. 

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

by Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Will-Claye Press-Pic from Alex John from Red Bull Records for use by 360

Will Claye – Wee Hours

Today, hip-hop artist and Olympic medalist Will Claye releases his latest single, “Wee Hours,” out now via Red Bull Records. Written by Claye, “Wee Hours” was produced by Grammy-winning songwriter and producer DJ Khalil, best known for his work with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and more.

Drawing from his own experiences, the strength of “Wee Hours” lies in Claye’s introspective and poignant lyrics, which he delivers with a West Coast-influenced flair. As the opening melodies and subtle instrumentations float in and out of focus, the single’s smooth production is effortlessly juxtaposed against Claye’s heavy-hitting flow.

“This track is inspired by my city, my people, and the kids who are growing up where I come from,” says Claye of the release. “I wanted to speak for people whose voices have been suppressed. I want to inspire my people and show them that even through all the horrific things we have gone through as a people, we can make it through and rise above it all.”

The release of “Wee Hours” follows the announcement of Elevate, the forthcoming documentary from Red Bull, set for release on Tuesday, June 8. The short film follows Claye as he trains for the Olympics and records new music, working to make his mark on the world. As his moment in the spotlight parallels a cultural boiling point surrounding racial injustice, Claye seeks to use his voice to inspire his community’s youth, serving as a positive role model for the next generation. Watch the trailer here.

About Will Claye
Three-time Olympic medalist Will Claye started his path as a world-class athlete. By way of track and field, he was able to move into starting his brand ELEVATE, music, and philanthropy. Will’s brand grew largely at the London Games in 2012, where he earned a bronze medal in the long jump and a silver medal in the triple jump to become the first man since 1936 and the first American since 1904 to obtain medals in both events. The Phoenix, AZ native of Sierra Leone-descent solidified himself as the #3 triple jumper of all time in 2019 and at the same time released an EP, WEST SIDE STORY, and single “TMS.”

The catalyst for Will’s music career came from artist YG inviting him to the studio and them creating “IDGAF,” what is now known as a classic West Coast record. From there, Will began to create his own lane and his own sound, taking inspiration from Bob Marley, Andre 3000, Snoop Dogg, DJ Quick, Pharrell, Jay Z, Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar, and Nate Dogg. With a wide array of influences, Will has created a sound that is eclectic and diverse, based on how he is feeling and what is going on in life. He is a rare combination of talent and genuine humility, recognizing that he can use his status as an artist and professional athlete to help others.

About DJ Khalil
DJ Khalil is a thirteen-time Grammy nominee and three-time Grammy award-winning songwriter and producer from Los Angeles, CA. His career started as one-half of the acclaimed underground hip-hop duo Self Scientific alongside rapper Chace Infinite. After catching the ear of mega-producer Dr. Dre early on in his career, Dre signed him as an in-house producer to Aftermath Records, where he continued to develop and hone his skills. Over the years, he has gone on to write and produce songs and albums with Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Usher, Big Sean, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Logic, Anderson .Paak, A$AP Rocky, Celine Dion, and many others, winning his first Grammy for his work on Eminem’s 2010 album, Recovery.

Continuing his run of success, Khalil co-wrote and produced Aloe Blacc’s Top 5 pop worldwide single “The Man,” which has sold over six million units worldwide, and won a Clio Award for music innovation through its inclusion in the 2013-2014 Beats by Dre campaign that was featured in the Super Bowl broadcast as well as the NBA finals. In 2018, Khalil created the end title song “Elevate” for Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, and the soundtrack album has sold over two million units, which has made him one of the most sought-after producers for film and television synchronization. Khalil recently topped the pop charts with two songs on Logic’s #1 album Bobby Tarantino II (“Iconic” and “Everybody Dies”), four songs on Nipsey Hussle’s Top 5 album Victory Lap, Eminem’s #1 album Revival, and two songs on Big Sean’s #1 album, Detroit 2.
Follow Will Claye
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify

Follow DJ Khalil
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

1500 Sound Academy x ASU — Music Program for use by 360 Magazine

1500 SOUND ACADEMY × ASU — MUSIC PROGRAM

COURSES OFFER ASPIRING MUSIC STUDENTS UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN ABOUT MUSIC PRODUCTION, RECORDING AND ENGINEERING, SONGWRITING, MIXING, BUSINESS AND BRANDING FROM INDUSTRY PROS

1500 Sound Academy, a music education institution based in Inglewood, California headed by Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter producers James Fauntleroy and Larrance “Rance” Dopson, and entrepreneur Twila True, has announced a new partnership with Arizona State University (ASU). The institutions have joined forces to launch a co-branded, certificate-based, self-paced online music program.  Courses will provide top notch instruction in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing, music business and artist branding, and are available today, with enrollment for the program now open to all students and the general public. You can enroll by clicking HERE.

Together, with their educational expertise in the music industry, 1500 Sound Academy and ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music, Dance and Theatre, with contributions from active music professionals, have formed a unique program titled “Professional Certificate in Music Production,” that offers valuable insight to help students discover the many career paths available in the music industry. Courses include a focus on skill development as well as exposure to leading experts in the music industry with interview sessions led by Professor of Practice Daniel Bernard Roumain, PhD.

Said Fauntleroy: “We are thrilled to launch our first collegiate partnership. Arizona State University has been in-tune when it comes to the ethos of 1500 Sound Academy and sharing the knowledge of the music industry’s inner-workings. Added Dopson, “Our goal has always been to lead by example and share our knowledge and insights of the business with people. We’re honored ASU acknowledges and celebrates this idea.”

“ASU is proud to join with 1500 Sound Academy to create practical, technological experiences,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “Dr. Roumain and our director of the popular music program, Erin Barra-Jean, along with acclaimed artists like DJ Spooky, Black Violin, Hollywood film composer Tamar Kali, and founder of the MAGIK*MAGIK orchestra Minna Choi provide an immersive survey of best practices and innovation in the recording and collaborative arts,”  added Dr. Landes.

The “Professional Certificate in Music Production” will include six specialized music courses:

Music Production Techniques with Ableton Live: This course offers today’s music creators with a foundation on the necessary concepts, terminology and techniques of modern studio track composition.

Recording & Engineering Fundamentals: The digital audio workstation (DAW) is the centerpiece of the recording studio. Students learn the fundamentals of getting sound into the DAW and shaping the sound using EQ, compression and other techniques.

The Contemporary Songwriter: Songwriters create timeless emotion from nothing but melody and lyrics. This course demystifies the songwriting process and arms the modern songwriter with melodic and lyrical concepts to deepen their craft.

Mixing Essentials: The mix can make or break a song and when it is done right, it goes unnoticeable. This course teaches how to listen and knowing how to make songs sound like you want them.

The Business of Music 101: Music creators are copyright owners, brand owners and publishing companies, whether they know it or not. This course outlines the pillars of a music creator’s corporate structure.

Branding for the Contemporary Artist: This course digs deeply into the psyche of the artist, as well as the practical side of being an artist and setting up an authentic brand and performance.

About 1500 Sound Academy:

1500 Sound Academy strives to produce passionate sound creators with mentorship, positive mindset, and professional development. Featuring state-of-the-art facilities, an award-winning staff and unique curriculum, 1500 Sound Academy functions as a gateway between school and career by providing instruction in current and emerging business practices of the music industry for creators around the world. The academy is led by an accomplished team, consisting of Grammy award-winning R&B/Pop singer-songwriter James Fauntleroy, musician and Grammy award-winning producer Larrance “Rance” Dopson, and successful entrepreneur and executive, Twila True, Co-Founder of True Family Enterprises, a privately held family office based in Orange County, California. 1500 Sound Academy is a subsidiary of Volume Ventures, LLC, an independent, multi-faceted entertainment company that provides comprehensive music and video production, publishing, and education services to aspiring and established recording artists, songwriters, musicians and music videographers. 1500 Sound Academy has a top-notch curriculum that has featured some of the biggest music stars. Guest lecturers at the academy have included such world-renowned artists as: Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Master P and Snoop Dogg, to name a few. Brand partners include: Dolby, Fender, Roland and Zildjian.

About Arizona State University:

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

About the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre:

The School of Music, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University is widely recognized for preparing artists, scholars, visionaries and entrepreneurs to become innovative leaders who transform society through their creativity. Our internationally recognized faculty artists, scholars and guest artists are motivating and compassionate mentors who work with students to cultivate excellence and personal growth. Our nationally recognized programs feature a comprehensive range of degrees plus minors and certificates and more than 600 concerts, events, performances, productions and recitals each year. Located in the culturally rich Southwest in one of the most vibrant, expanding urban centers, our programs afford students access to a diverse environment and engagement in Phoenix’s flourishing arts community. Above all, we value the creativity, personal experience and voice each student brings to the school.

Jesse Forta aka JForte image for use by 360 Magazine

Jforte QxA

By: Ally Brewster

Throughout this pandemic, the artist Jesse Forte, known as Jforte, has continued to do what he has done his whole career since he began making music in 2013: push the boundaries of his music and what he can do as an artist. Jforte is constantly creating and expanding as he has out a new song every week over the course of the pandemic (55+ weeks). Throughout his career he has also founded his business “Young Revolutionary Minds,” hosts the YRM podcast, wrote three books, launching products, and training to become an astronaut, all while giving back to and empowering his community. His song “Make It Happen” is culmination of his drive, story he wants to put out into the world to inspire others. We had the opportunity to ask Jforte about his career and what’s next for the artist:

You stated that making music consistently throughout the pandemic was a goal of yours, and you’ve clearly done that with one song produced each week for 55+ weeks. Where did the idea of weekly songs come from and why was it so important to be weekly? 

After writing my third book, “Make It Happen” and listening to “It’s All In Your Head” 200 times, I realized I needed to be consistent and treat my gift like a job. Once I heard Russ express it the way he did, it made sense to me and I tried it out. So far, it’s been going well and getting better! Being able to put out a song weekly keeps me energized to create. I know that people may not listen right then and there, but the music will be there forever and it’s better to start now than later.

What is the production process like when you are making a new song every week? Is it any different than the production of other work you have made?

At first, I had music I wrote to beats that were famous. Then, I shopped around for beats that made sense for the music I was putting out. I would purchase the beats and write music to them. Once I got the hang of it, I started buying more beats, listening, and then sitting down. [I would use] pen and paper [to] writ[e] down my feelings, thoughts, ideas, concepts and purpose. The more I write, the better I get.

Once I get the lyrics down, I start to rehearse them, call up an engineer, and prep for the studio. I generally have at least 5 songs ready to go, just because I like to truly take advantage of the opportunity of using the booth–time is money. Most of my sessions last between 3- 5 hours.

When I write books, I try to write 2-3 pages a day. When I wrote “Fail Forward Through Success,” I would write in Cartel coffee in Tempe every day, and I wouldn’t leave until I pushed out 3 pages.  Same thing with “Redemption,” and “Make It Happen” was special because I wrote it during the pandemic.

Being someone as busy as you are, burnout seems inevitable. Have there been weeks where it felt impossible to make a song? Where do you look for inspiration in times where motivation may be lacking?

Whenever my mind becomes too loud, I get rest, meditate, take a break and when I feel better, I take a step forward with whatever the goal is. I’m cool with resting, but I’ll never lay down or give up on what I have intended to accomplish. Sometimes it doesn’t happen instantly, but patience and persistence have been the best lessons and gifts I possess. I have an engine that is going to go, whether I am motivated or would rather rest. That was instilled back at Parkview.

Was music always something you wanted to do, or was it more like a passion that snuck up on you? Who were your biggest inspirations when getting into the music industry? 

I was talking to Bow Wow a couple weeks ago on IG live and told him I performed “Basketball” for the talent show.  We bumped Pac in the car when I was 3 and I could hear Rakim through the womb when I was being created. That’s just confirmation that I am supposed to be right where I am and that these conversations are blessings from the universe saying “we got you” and to keep going!

I’ve always wanted to be a rapper. My second-grade teacher told me, “No.” Subconsciously, I listened to her for 20 years. Then, this inner me said to fuck her opinion and be happy. I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t pursuing what was in me. That why it’s important to be around people that lift you up and let you dream!

My influences are Jforte and Yé– fun fact: I performed Roses at America’s Got Talent. They liked it but I didn’t make it past the 1st round. [Also,] Drake, Immortal Technique, Uncle Snoop, Meek Mill, Drake, Logic, Doja Cat, Cardi B, Jack Harlow, Bow Wow, Gucci, Rakim, Jay-Z, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, Big Pun, 50 cent, Red Man, Method Man, HER, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, Pharrell, Michale Jackson, Prince, Queen, Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre and so, so many more. I just love good music!

It’s apparent that “Make It Happen” is an important, encouraging phrase for you as it is both a song title as well as the title of your third book; where did that phrase come from and what does it mean to you personally?

“Make It Happen” became even more powerful for me once I started to realize that people enjoyed the song and it pumped them up! “Making It Happen” means that regardless of circumstance, we rise to the occasion. That means meeting a deadline, being there for your loved one or just staying committed to the vision you see within yourself.

My goal is to share my truth in a majority of my music. If you listen to what I say in “Make It Happen,” it’s everything I’ve specifically been through. By the way, I write 100% of my lyrics–no ghost writers or floating pens. I thought I should mention that because I take pride in making the music you hear from me.

You’ve pursued many different avenues throughout your life, from music, writing, and hosting podcasts to getting a technical degree in software engineering, college football, becoming an astronaut and even making a biodegradable toothbrush and charcoal toothpaste. What motivates you to explore so many different paths, many of which people choose as a career rather than trying to do it all at once?

I was a D student in elementary school. I bloomed in middle school and started getting A’s and B’s. Then high school hit, and I was a jock. Then college hit, and I did pretty well. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder most of my life, I think it comes from being an underdog, my upbringing, and just realizing I want the best for myself and the people that enter my life. I definitely haven’t taken an easy road, but I know that I rather take a road less travelled and lead the way than to do what’s easy and regret the journey I could have had.

On your podcast “Young Revolutionary Minds” you share and support people’s journeys in reaching their goals. What led you to decide to share these people’s stories as the topic of your podcast?

One of my favorite podcasters, and the reason why I started that, was because of Lewis Howes. He is a big inspiration to me and I love listening to his podcast, you should check it out! Listening to his [podcast], made me realize I have met amazing people around the world and I’d love to share what they are working on! On top of this, I wanted to build relationships with new people, learn from some of the new leaders of the world, and have something to do while I was figuring out who I was.

You’ve been through lots of highs and lows throughout your life. What advice would you give people, whether it be making it in the music industry, or just achieving their personal goals? What have you learned that you’d like to share with people?

Love yourself. Trust that you are someone to adore, and know that your dreams will manifest when you do the work. Secondly, make sure to fight for what you want. When I say fight, I mean relentlessly go after what you desire. If you don’t know, ask questions, preferably from people who have been there or know how to get there. When it comes to music, don’t be afraid to explore different genres. Put your music out, stop waiting for the perfect time. Right now is perfect and will improve! Lastly, create a vision board and look at it every day. Read it out loud, then do something each day that gets you closer. And dream big!

Being in the public eye you make impressions on people and inspire others. You seem to try to always give back to communities and try to have positive energy that you’re putting out into the world. What message or feeling are you trying to put out to the world? Why is it so important for you to have that positive energy you’re exuding?

Being an artist is a privilege and my vision is to inspire 7 billion people around the world through my voice, ways of life and community. I make a lot of music– some deep, some chill, others scary, and some gangster–but the message I’m putting out is, be you. Cuz I’m me, and I do it better than anyone in the world. 😉 Being me, of course.

In 2020 you came up with the ambition goal to release a new song every week, and you have not stopped. How long do you plan to continue that? What’s next for you in 2021?

I’m going to keep putting music out and when I need a break, I’ll rest. I make music because it’s my passion. In 2021, I’m manifesting opportunities to create music with the people I listen to like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Bow Wow, Drake Meek Mill and Russ. I plan on finding ways for more people to listen to my music and to be inspired.

Jesse Forta aka JForte image for use by 360 Magazine