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MIKE POSNER + 24 Breaking Artists

25: NOW!

{Next 100 Supplement}


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

12-13 FaLtyDL Maluca Sleigh Bells 14-15 12th Planet Daisy Odell 16-17 Burns J Cole Skeet Skeet 18-19 Nola Darling Pictureplane 20-21 Nightriders Yelawolf

22-23 Christian Rich MalakAi The XX 24-25 ADaD Kleerup 26-27 Smalltown Romeos Vinyl Life 28-29 Donnis Rita J 30-31 Pantyraid Those Chosen Wolfgang Gartner

36-41 MIKE POSNER


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Aaron Richter

Aaron Richter is a photographer who grew up in the Midwest but now calls Brooklyn home. A displaced writer and magazine editor, he now takes pictures and steers the art direction for selftitled, a Web-based publication he helped launch in 2008. Previously, he served as the editor of MusicMusicMusic, a short-lived magazine that tanked a ton of money but made a few hip people very happy. Aaron—who shot Maluca, FaltyDL and Sleigh Bells for this issue—enjoys reading Norman Mailer and rewatching DiG!

Jason Parham

Mike Posner scribe Jason Parham is a native son of Los Angeles who endorses listening to excessive amounts of N.W.A. When he’s not writing cover stories for URB, he is an occasional grad student at UCLA. Aside from penning monthly hip-hop column “The Tipping Point,” for URB.com, Jason’s writing has also appeared in Vibe. Jason’s new favorite song is “Sunrise” by Yeasayer. www.jasonparham.com

Chris Merkle

After becoming one of the top 15 event photographers in North America, photographer Chris Merkle recently decided to take the leap into editorial and fashion photography. Merkle enjoys the fusion of music, art, and photography so he spends the majority of his time photographing musicians, DJs and individuals within the art community. Currently he is looking to develop his raw, desaturated look of images while also spending more time with traditional film and video. www.themidnightsocialite.com

www.aaronrichter.com

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25: In the time honored tradition of URB’s Next 100 annual issue, we present to you the 25: NOW! digital fall supplement. Now! It’s a word that leaves very little room to maneuver around; it’s the rallying cry for our age of instant gratification, a sentiment that seems to be getting us in trouble a lot these days. Now is the urge that caused thousands of folks to sign bad mortgages because they didn’t want to wait to own a home. And once we tanked the economy, the same impatience is driving down Obama’s approval numbers as he fails to “fix it!” (as Kenan Thomas would say) in a manner as speedy as we’ve come to expect. Save the economy, create jobs, fix health care, end two wars, close Gitmo, repair our foreign relations—oh, and end nuclear weapons—all in under 12 months. I’d like to see you do it. Even in the far less consequential world of emerging music and culture, now has become an albatross around our necks. Now is what drives music blogs to breathlessly promote less than outstanding artists in the race to fulfill the compulsive browser refreshing the makes a profitable site. Now is what leaks out early or unfinished MP3s, diluting the once sacrosanct experience of record release dates. Now is why this issue’s cover artist, Mike Posner, dropped his online mixtape (a format already the epitome of today’s MP3 consumption) two days earlier than expected. It can make your head spin. And just to address the elephant in the room, the now culture has more than a little bit to do with why you’re reading this digital issue online, instead of printed on fine glossy paper, shipped across the

country by truck or plane, shoved into your mail slot or stacked on a newsstand; patiently waiting for you to pick it up and take time out of your busy day to discover some great music. Who has time for that? You need URB now. Of course, for that same reason, maybe now isn’t so bad after all. When we last collected a list of hot new artists for our annual Next 100 issue this previous spring, months passed between crafting the list and the final magazine hitting the stands. With this digital edition, our first 25: Now! fall supplement to the Next 100, it’s been a matter of weeks. Not to get too English major on you, but now has more than one meaning. And when the adverb now becomes the noun—now—things can look different. We believe the acts found here are the ones most worth your time to discover at this point in time— the now. We also believe that more than a few of these artists will be worth paying attention to in the future—the then. And if not, we’ll be here to serve you up a new list of artists we’ve discovered along our journey from now to then. Music changes, just like times change. It’s important to look ahead, to see what’s on the horizon, and we appreciate the thrill of discovering the new. But it’s also important to be satisfied where you’re at—to live in the now. Just remember that you don’t need the now to live.

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Drew Lustman is a night owl; not because he’s out partying, but because he’s making tunes that take him out of the stream-ofconsciousness that one exhibits at 4 a.m. It’s during that time when FaltyDL does his work, finding soul vocal samples and mucking about for hours on end until a track is finished. The result usually is a track that has UK/New York garage attitude taken to another level, along with a vibe of warm boogie thanks to vocal trickery and percussive shuffle. With a mountain of releases put out in 2009, there’s no telling what’s coming next from this guy. MS Endorsed by: Gilles Peterson, Mary Anne Hobbs Upcoming: Bravery EP on Planet Mu, 2010 releases on Planet Mu/RAMP.

Sleigh Bells

In the time before a fifth-grade schoolteacher improbably joined forces with a former metalcore guitar slinger to create some of most truly unique sounds to have come out of Brooklyn, the words “Sleigh Bells” would unavoidably conjure up thoughts of Grandma’s Christmas Muzak collection. Credit the noisy, minimalist pop duo for courageously taking up the holiday music staple as their namesake and giving us a reason to get excited about the sound of Rudolph the Red-Nosed raver. Alexis Krauss’s spirited vocals are alternately ethereal and abrasive, hypnotic and ferocious, and always captivating. Former Poison The Well guitarist Derek Miller provides joyously distorted, beat-heavy backdrops that were designed to destroy speaker systems.  “Crown on the Ground,” oddly enough, sounds like DMX’s “Party Up” re-imagined as an anthem for the skinny jeans crowd. AB  Endorsed by: Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend), Spike Jonze, M.I.A. Upcoming: Music is set to be featured in Spike Jonze’s upcoming “secret” short film on robots.


25: Maluca

With her sporadic dance floor melodies and a voice as sensuous as it is sassy, Maluca is kicking ass and taking names with what Diplo, her ex-boo, describes as “merengue acid house.” Maluca has been at it for a minute, but as a new signee to Mad Decent, she’s become a buzz name in the clubs and on the blogs. Maluca falls into two categories that Decent thrives on: foreign sounds of obscurity and a hipsteresque chick with an undeniable edge. With an energy reminiscent of Bonde Do Role and a style all her own, don’t be surprised to see Maluca following the steps of past Diplo disciples M.I.A. and Santigold. AC Endorsed by: Diplo Upcoming: “El Tigeraso” video coming soon. Debut album being recorded with producers Diplo, Paul Devro, Buraka Som Sistema, Jungle Violento and more.

Sleigh Bells, FaltyDL and Maluca photographed in Park Slope, Brooklyn by Aaron Richter (www.aaronrichter.com)


Daisy’s make-up: Mercedes Connor, hair: Alice Torres, Photo Assistant: Brandy Allen

12th Planet and Daisy O’Dell photographed at Palihouse (www.palihouse.com) in West Hollywood by Curan Clark (www.curranclarkphotography.com)


12th Planet

They say overnight success stories take years to happen. That’s certainly true for John Dadzie, the West Coast junglist who spent nearly a decade perfecting his craft as Infiltra before rebooting just last year into the similarly bass-centric world of dubstep, just in time to see the sound experience a groundswell of support in America. Now 12th Planet has a big time booking agent and a tour itinerary to match. And he’s fielding calls from trance, electro and hip-hop giants alike, all of whom are looking for some of his magic low-end solution. JG Endorsed by: Kream, Rusko, Benga, Kutz, Plastician, Caspa Upcoming: Co-wrote a song for Tiësto’s new album, Kaleidoscope. Official remixes for N.O.R.E, Kid Cudi, MSTRKRFT, Little Jinder, Nodastrom.

Daisy O’Dell

Daisy O’Dell isn’t your average DJ; the Toronto native facilitated her love for music by moving to London to rock out, instead returning with a fascination for dance culture. Jetting over to New York City, her love for the scene grew even more (just like her record collection). As time passed, she went from vinyl fiend to DJ diva en route to LA. It was there where she cemented her status as a premier jock, opening for Cut Copy and entertaining Prince and Justin Timberlake at the city’s most exclusive parties. Now producing her own disco-fied material with help from The Hydratwins, 2010 could find this city hopper going global. MS Endorsed by: Cut Copy, Roxy JBL Headphones Upcoming: Mix for Roxy Athletix tour. Remixes for Dragonette, Modwheelmood (ex-NIN ) and Har Mar Superstar.


J COLE

As the first artist to be signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, J. Cole knows the whole world has their eyes on him. But the young rapper doesn’t seem too fazed. He comes armed with a unique New York flow that’s laced with a little southern hospitality. This sound was in full effect on his post-deal mixtape, The Warm Up. Even with the hype, J. Cole hushed the doubters, delivering intricate lyrics with clever wordplay in tracks such as “Lights Please” and “Can I Live.” And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have the best rapper alive teaching you a thing or two. JC Endorsed by: Jay-Z Upcoming: Currently opening for JayZ’s fall tour.

BURNS

Glasgow’s been bringing plenty of producers dishing out the “wonky” sound, but 23-year old Burns is an anomaly. He produces crisp, progressive (and sometimes aggressive) powerhouse tracks that make people shake, shiver and scream all at once. Being hailed by international DJs Erol Alkan and Annie Mac, the sky’s the limit for this Scotsman. With a couple of EPs under his belt and remixes done for Passion Pit, The Gossip and Late Of The Pier, he’s certainly got enough experience doing his thing. Check him out in your neighborhood when he tours North America with fellow partystarter Deadmau5. MS Endorsed by: Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Mr. Hudson Upcoming: Remixes for Ladyhawke and Jack Splash ft. Missy Elliot. Album coming by summer 2010.

J. Cole photographed at Wava Flow Studio by Elizabeth Daniels (www.elizabethdanielsphotography.com)


SKEET SKEET As an acclaimed DJ and recognized blogosphere personality (EatSkeet.

com), Trevor McFedries knows what up on and off the decks. Raised in Iowa, this college dropout moved to LA as an awkward hardcore punk and metal fan. The LA party scene got the best of him, and the entity known as DJ Skeet Skeet started to spin all over the place. Winning a Paper Magazine Award for “Best Nightlife DJ,” Skeet joined Cisco Adler and rapper Shwayze on tour, and began to evolve from local celebrity to up-and-coming super jock, currently touring with 3OH!3 and becoming the first ever DJ to spin Warped Tour. AC Endorsed by: Katy Perry, Ting Tings, Pepsi DJ Team, Official Ford Models DJ Upcoming: Remix with Turbotito (Ima Robot, Guns ‘n’ Bombs) as Skeet & Tito. Developing artist Gumshoe.


25:

Pictureplane

The year’s sleeper indie-electronic album came by way of a 24 year-old producer whose label describes him as a “weirdo performance artist.” We’re sure they say that with all the love in the world for Pictureplane, aka Travis Egedy, a Santa Fe native who has made a name for himself while emerging out of the Denver scene. Egedy now brings the electronic punk sounds from his basement shows into more widespread territory with Drift, his sophomore full-length and first album distributed by Lovepump Records. Often likened to Animal Collective and Black Dice, Egedy started gaining some blog love after remixing HEALTH’S “Die Slow.” He’s collaborated with Beirut’s Zach Condon, made Crystal Castles and Fleetwood Mac songs his own, and creates dreamy dance music that explores the paranormal spaces in music via dark wave and grimy synth-pop. Not surprising for someone who “obsesses over the cosmos, ‘90s house music, collective consciousness, and mind-altering chemicals you’ve never heard of,” naming his album after the central-most plane in our galaxy—Pictureplane is the future. AZ Endorsed by: HEALTH, Beirut’s Zach Condon Upcoming: Touring with HEALTH this fall/winter in Europe.


No, this is not the Nola Darling from director Spike Lee’s titular, tease-worthy She’s Gotta Have It. But the ambitious Brooklynite does serve as inspiration for international rude gals Jaq and Alex. Babies of the boom-bap, these femcees fuse the gloss and the grit of their foremothers (think the sex appeal of Lil’ Kim and the lyrical fortitude of Yo-Yo) to craft something that can only be described as a cheeky, cocksure love supreme for sinewy afro-beat riddims and woolly calypso masterworks. Nola D’s sound? They sing, rap, and redefine femininity with woozy ballads, syrupy breakbeats and oily 808s. Translation: We gotta have it! JP Endorsed by: Mick Boogie Upcoming: Debut EP (and accompanying vlog series) A Rude Gal’s Guide To... with production from Melo-X, Manchild, Faahz, and Double O. Brap! Brap!


Yelawolf

It’s fitting that Raekwon the Chef accompanies Yelawolf on “I Wish,” as both cook up a lyrical onslaught of guttural, steely raps that would entice the most unsuspecting hip-hop cyber nerd. And to be fair, Yelawolf—Alabama’s rapping white boy prodigy—is a bit unsuspecting himself (his influences range from hard rock hybrid Lynyrd Skynyrd to gangsta rap outfit N.W.A; he’s also a skater). Wolf mixes rock, rap, and southern sensibilities into a foray of deep-fried quips and quick-witted rhymes that complement his neo-Dixie appeal. The young enclave of southern upstarts like Rich Boy and B.O.B are officially on notice. JP Endorsed by: Raekwon, Killer Mike Upcoming: Mixtapes with DJ Burn One and with DJ Ideal.


25:

Nightriders Matt Johnson and Joe Faria are the Boston duo behind Nightriders. Johnson, the self-proclaimed nerd, is a Beantown club veteran and Faria adds the vocals and massive vinyl collection to their French nu-house mix. “This Love is Real” lights up the discothèque, and Dance Dance Revolution fans may recognize “Fevah” from the PS2 version of the game. With Felix Da Housecat and Dave Dresden spinning their cuts, and remixes dropped for Dirty Vegas and Andy Caldwell, Nightriders’ run is just beginning. AS Endorsed by: Andy Caldwell, Luke Fair Upcoming: Debut album, Take My Hand, and world tour coming soon.


25:

CHRISTIAN RICH

In the midst of hipster pop, the slowly but surely deteriorating fade of crunk music and mainstay of auto-tune— despite Hov’s disdain—two twin brothers have found and etched their niche into the ever-transitioning scene. Christian Rich has wrought exceptional success following the release of their first single, “Famous Girl,” which they also produced. Although just coming into their own, the duo have already laced hits for Lil’ Kim, The Clipse, Young Gunz, Foxy Brown, G.O.O.D. Music act GLC and Lupe approved electro band Hey Champ. Fashion brand GStar has also been calling, picking up the duo for their GStar Raw UK compilation, along with Hellz Bellz, who are producing a line of Famous Girls tees. EL Endorsed by: Clinton Sparks, Pharrell Williams Upcoming: Working with Diddy on upcoming Last Train to Paris album. ETV project with Clinton Sparks due soon.

THE xx

Malakai

Music from the British town of Bristol has always been heavily codified. From the peer-pressurized maximum R&B of the mod movement to the genre defining trip-hop of Massive Attack and Portishead, the seaside city seems to fuel movements that shake the foundations of pop culture, but just as quickly calcify into rigidly defined sonic rules. Malakai might be partnered up with Portishead’s Geoff Barrows, but there’s nothing that can be easily pigeonholed about the duo’s sound—a cornucopia of hip-hop beats, funky horns, psychedelic rock and pop melodies. Look for this particular blend to become analyzed, baptized and formalized in the coming months. No good sound goes un-replicated. JG Endorsed by: Geoff Barrows (Portishead) Upcoming: Mystery four-track white label 12” circulating this side of Xmas. “Snowflake” video and single with remixes from Geoff Barrow of Portishead, DJ Hervé (aka, The Count in The Count & Sinden) .

A sneering gang of 20-year-old South London musicians shouldn’t be able to write such beautiful and transcending pop harmonies. Defying this year’s hype machine that the UK press has showered over Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, Baria Quereshi and Jamie Smith, The xx’s all in black debut entitled “xx” is masterful. Singles “Basic Space” and “Crystalised” are laced with Romy and Oliver’s honey-dripped shared vocals, Kevin Shields-indebted melodies and MPC-aided drums. The rest of the album is steeped in lo-fi, DIY romanticism, with London’s grim night buses and foggy, 3 a.m. mornings serving as the backdrop to one of the most accomplished debut records of the year. TT Endorsed by: Diplo, Florence and the Machine The Big Pink Upcoming: Future suddenly in doubt as Quereshi has left the band, forcing a European tour postponement.


Kleerup

Andreas Kleerup’s compositions are situated between universes, providing decipherable transmission from remote galaxies at an unprecedented rate. He evokes a timeless quality in his recordings, which are unequivocally genius, soothing and methodically crafted. On his self-titled debut album, Kleerup showcases his producing ability for agreeable and uplifting electronica. His selection of female vocalists is a strength that gives his album a comfortable and accessible feel. However, it’s on the non-collaborative tracks that Kleerup truly shines. His production is impeccable and his compositional style is without match. JC Endorsed by: Robyn, Cyndi Lauper and Marit Bergman Upcoming: Kleerup is sorting his Visa so he can bring his music to the States.


ADaD

Making headway in the flourishing Chicago hip-hop scene is ADaD, an MC who meshes smooth lyrics with beats of the same variety, creating a sound reminiscent to Elzhi-era Slum Village. Tracks like “Body” and “Bitch” boast thick drums and rolling basslines that are most nearly comparable to that of the production of another Detroit entity, Black Milk. Although you can see where his influences lie, MC ADaD’s originality cuts through a track like a brisk Chicago wind, rapping about everything from the blue collar hustle to his Sunday morning routine. LA Endorsed by: Exile Upcoming: EPs with Low Limit of Lazer Sword and Mr. Dibiase of Brainfeeder, and Salva and Proh Mic of Hawthorne Head Hunter’s fame. Album with his band, Eulorhythmics coming in 2010.


Vinyl Life

With old school edge and performance punch, Vinyl Life brings a classic hip-hop, house and rave mash-up to the party. Longtime fans of analog gear, the trio released their self-titled debut on vinyl and tape, along with the usual formats. Founder/programmer Butcha and keyboardist Richie Roxx supply the heavy synths and bass-busting beats, while MC Phaze Future pumps out the rhymes for an explosive live set. Serious about the process, but all about having fun, Vinyl Life did a cover of both Kraftwerk and De La Soul for its debut and shows no sign of letting up. AS Endorsed by: Newcleus, Fatback Band ,The Dazz Ban Upcoming: Remix of “Electric Symphony� by Newcleus, Vinyl Life remix album.


Smalltown romeo Smalltown Romeo is the brainchild of Smalltown DJs and Wax Romeo, a Calgary outfit formed in 2008 and

committed purely to having fun and moving bodies on the dance floor. It was only natural, then, for the two to collab and channel their mutual love of high energy dance music, early ’90s rave, and ’80s hip hop into one supergroup. They’ve been putting out unstoppable DJ mixes, most notably their Shambhala Mix, which runs the gamut from Michael Jackson to Venga Boys to Miike Snow and Major Lazer. These guys are all about the bangers, and we can’t wait for more. AZ Endorsed by: The Glass Upcoming: New music on the way courtesy of Plant Music.


Rita J

If one mentions the words “female MC” nowadays, the conversation would likely be past tense, or with regards to the lack thereof— unless one were mentioning Rita J. The Chicago-bred hip-hop aficionado has had the chance to show her skills alongside Digable Planets and Jungle Brothers, and acknowledges her father’s immense music collection for her solidified love of the stuff. On her upcoming debut album, Artist Workshop, Rita J. paints pictures which allow her to eclectically blend gritty, realistic and soulfully-sedated rhymes that will clearly showcase the femcee’s brand. EL Endorsed by: Black Spade, Guilty Simpson Upcoming: Artist Workshop drops in November. Featured in the forthcoming film Pathways, directed by Emmy nominated producer Eljay Williams.


25:

Donnis

From feeding the blogosphere with delectable snack packs of audio tracks, and videos with visual wordplay, Atlanta native Donnis has only begun to give the world a glimpse into his charismatic, southern charming. His current mixtape, Diary of an ATL Brave was held to be highly favorable amongst the music heads. And the twenty-two year old hiphop debonair is proving that he has a lot to offer. With a single deal with A-Trak and Catchdub’s Fools Gold label, his career is on the brink of being something great, especially amongst the cookie cutter artists who are looking for their claim to fame. BT Endorsed by: Estelle, Killer Mike, Bun B Upcoming: Sleepwalker mixtape in November. Fools Gold tour.

Rita J and Donnis photographed in Atlanta by Chris Merkle (www.themidnightsocialite.com)


Those Chosen

Those Chosen bring old school sensibilities to a whole new game in hip-hop. Japetto, Kornbread and Foreshadow have been building their name with live performances on MTV2 and sharing stages with the likes of Slick Rick, Little Brother, and Black Milk. The group marries their hard-hitting rhyme style with soul and funk influences, working with producers like IZ Avila of the Avila Brothers, THX, and Dibia$e. The mixtape, Steamulus (The Watts Riot Effect), has gotten a positive response all around— and really, with Mick Boogie and Terry Urban on your side, how can you go wrong? AZ Endorsed by: Mick Boogie, Terry Urban Upcoming: Just shot video for “Soundclash.” 5ive EP coming soon.

WOLFGANG GARTNER

In the short time since deep house artist Joey Youngman abandoned his moniker and began producing under Wolfgang Gartner, the electro scene has been abuzz with the scores of hits he shuttles forth. And why shouldn’t they be? Between managing his Kindergarten label to garnering support from top jocks like Kaskade and Mark Knight, and upcoming tours in Australia and Europe, every corner of the industry has been getting a taste of Gartner’s golden touch. Does he feel any remorse about abandoning his deep house roots? Nah. As he puts it, “It’s all house music.” DD Endorsed by: Pete Tong, Mylo Upcoming: Remixes for Briteny Spears, MSTRKRFT and Tiësto


PANTYrAID

Signed to Adam Freeland’s Marine Parade label, PANTyRAiD are the bi-coastal bass and booty duo of Marty Folb aka MartyParty and Glitch Mobber Josh Mayer aka Ooah. The epic freak out elements from Ooah make up the frenetic melodies featured on their debut, The Sauce, which are then mashed with apocalyptic orchestration and sublime, dubstep basslines with an intense Southern snap. Their album release party boasted sets from Benga and Martyn, begging a new classification for club banging, intelligent dance music. TT Endorsed by: Adam Freeland, Glitch Mob Upcoming: National tour this winter followed by a new album in 2010. The duo throw the annual Manifesto Gathering full moon event in Costa Rica in January.


LOVE LOCK DOWN By Jason Parham Photography by Phil Knott

Collegiate Soul Man Mike Posner Is Ready For The Real World

H

e struts onto the stage like a prizefighter in the opening round of a match as the rapturous keys of “Evil Woman” swell from the mammoth speakers. The legion of young USC students is high and drunk off the balmy night air and the endless supply of beer at the Phi Psi house. They are here to see and hear him. Blue lights illuminate the stage and in a wide stance, his slender six-foot frame and milkwhite skin aglow, he looks unto his unlikely disciples and coos “Yeah … yeah, yeah. Yeah … yeah, yeah.” Uninhibitedly, they howl in euphoric ratification.

The throng of twenty-somethings is bedecked in patterned tank tops and plaid shirts, fashioned with signature black and neon Ray Ban sunglasses. Girls dance and romp with wild abandon. They wave their hands in vertical uniformity—up and down, up and down—and scream at the top of their lungs, their eyes are full of desire and palpable exuberance. It is an oasis of bright-eyed naiveté and pure, unbridled madness.

you may never be on a Maybelline commercial”—so delicate and so sweet. This is the song that has propelled him to this very plateau. The crowd sings word for word. It is amazing considering his newborn stardom—a pop darling in the making.

But soon the speakers begin to fade in and out, making it hard for anyone beyond the first few rows to hear him. He stops, turns around, and looks to see if any one is fixing Seizing the moment, he switches to the problem. “I’m sorry, we’re having “Drug Dealer Girl;” singing those well- sound problems and we’re getting it known introductory words among fixed right now,” he says, and walks this fresh-faced multitude: “Now off stage as sound engineers attend


to the matter. In a brief flash of anger he kicks the fence behind the stage. His manager, Dan Weisman, the man who guided D.C. luminary Wale to the cusp of superstardom, refers to the moment as a “clusterfuck.” Both are worried—a bit on edge, even—but not deterred. And, understandably, when you are attempting to redefine pop formalism, minor hiccups cannot be afforded. He wants everything to be perfect. He is Mike Posner—and he wants your love. Born in Detroit and bred in Southfield, Michigan, Mike Posner, if you can believe it, began singing just a year-and-a-half ago. Completing his senior year at Duke University at the behest of his mother and yearning to fill a certain aesthetic void, Mike released his mixtape, A Matter of Time, to critical reception in February. Presented by DJ Benzi and mixtape messiah Don Cannon, the 12-track effort skyrocketed his then nil-career into a label bidding war over his silky falsetto. With that virtuoso voice, Mike signed with J Records—the house that Clive Davis built—this past July. By the time we meet on this fevered mid-October day at MySpace Music in Beverly Hills, Mike has solidified his publishing contract with Sony/ ATV just hours earlier (one of the many items on his packed agenda for the day). He also guarantees me his latest mixtape—released October 29th and hosted by Clinton Sparks and LRG—is in a league of its own. “The curve I’m on is still extremely exponential, so that’s why I’m so excited about everything

that’s happening,” he affirms. “If my first mixtape got me this far, the stuff I’m doing now is gonna put me through the stratosphere.” His searing confidence is backed by a bevy of stellar guest spots—Saigon, Pill, Freddie Gibbs, Bun B, GLC, Kid Cudi, Wale and Big Sean. A mélange of stadium-swirling electro and spacey pop-soul anthems, it is appropriately titled One Foot Out The Door. During the course of our day I learn many things about “Pose,” a nickname given to him by close friends. He’s of fan of HBO’s idiosyncratic hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, his attention to detail is borderline obsessive, and, truthfully, he couldn’t be a nicer guy (he’s a huge hugger). But most of all—and this cannot go without saying—Mike’s songs are precious to him. They are at once a study in postmodern pop and lyrical universalism. You can tell in his boyish smile that he has spent long nights, early mornings, and cancelled weekends because of them; he wants you to love them. He wants you to love him. A month before your senior year of school begins you sign to J Records. Why’d you feel the need to return to Duke? With anything I do I like to finish what I start. My mom probably would have not talked to me for a very long time if I dropped out of school. There’s definitely a lot of homework that gets done on the plane, but you can’t tell me I can’t do both. Right now I have 3.6 [GPA] and my career is looking better than it ever has.


25: You have such a strong passion for music, why didn’t you major in it? At Duke you have to play an instrument to major in music and I don’t really play one. I’m self-taught piano so I play it with all the wrong fingering and I play the drums, but I stopped taking lessons a long time ago. The Duke music department isn’t the most accepting of a producer/ singer/ songwriter like myself. But I do take a lot of music classes at Duke. And I think the perspective that my sociology classes give me is really priceless, so I use that a lot in my music. You’re in college, but you don’t necessarily sing about college experiences. You deal a lot with subject matter pertaining to women, love and relationships. I’m definitely in college and that’s my back-story, but I like to think my music is bigger than just college music. I do a lot of shows that aren’t college shows and I see people that are ages eight to sixty being fans of my music. Are you dating? No, sir [laughs]. But I’m a relationship guy; I’m looking for a girl. You’ve said that you were making your own Michael Jackson Thriller with this new mixtape, One Foot Out The Door. When I started working on my album, it was right around the time Michael passed, so I thought what better way to pay tribute than to adopt the Thriller format and just try to make every song a hit on my album. I plan on not having any filler songs on my album.

I personally believe there isn’t any timeless music anymore. Ten years ago you could listen to A Tribe Called Quest album front to back and not skip anything; it’s not like that with newer music. I make music everyday and I try to make better music everyday than I did the day before. So the greatest shit I’m about to do is the stuff I’m going to do tomorrow. And if it’s not great or phenomenal it won’t be on my album. It’s just a standard of quality I have. I only need to put out the best. On Wale’s “Wonder Why” you say “I’ve been trying to do it big since ’03.” What happened in 2003 that made you feel like you needed to make a change? Well, I was just producing back then and I had dreams like everybody else. In 2003 I was making beats and playing the placement game and trying to get beats on other people’s albums and write songs for people. It just came to a point where I realized that I was in a lane that nobody was filling in the whole game. And what was that? Mike Posner! I guess what I’m asking is, what’s the Mike Posner sound? Guiltless pop music. It’s pop music but you don’t have to be embarrassed to like it, you know? You can be a cool kid and like it [laughs]. But at the same time, it’s accessible to everybody. I always say I have no interest in making exclusive music. Like when I stand on stage I see people of all different

colors, genders, and socioeconomic classes and everybody’s rocking out and has a smile on their face. That’s what I want to do with my music, bring people together.

The stage barricade is now overflowing with golden, sunkissed bodies and Mike returns despite ongoing sound difficulties. Big Sean, the Chicago rap upstart, accompanies him on stage for a rendition of the cool and crisp “Who Knows?” Brawny frat dudes now sing along. See, because even they are not immune to Posner’s pop charm. The crowd chants for more. He abides because he is gracious. Teetering between the stage and the barricade, Mike teases the crowd— microphone in hand, swooning the women who grab at him for whatever they can: jacket, jewelry, him. He plays on their emotions as only someone who was meant to do this knows how. He debates. And then he jumps. The crew cuts the music because he has forgone his time. But Mike does not care. He is on a mission—a man determined to prove his worth and skill and passion to the world. He ends with an a cappella version of “Cooler Than Me.” He says his good-byes and disappears into a pearl-black 2007 Navigator. And as the car rips off into ebony night a young woman can be heard screaming, “I love you Mike!”


25:

Links Christian Rich web

FatyDL

MalakAi

web / label / twitter

myspace

Maluca

The XX

myspace / label / twitter

web / label

Sleigh Bells

ADaD

myspace

myspace / label

12th Planet

Kleerup

myspace / twitter

web / label

Daisy Odell

Smalltown Romeos

web / twitter

web / label

Burns

Vinyl Life

myspace / twitter

web / twitter

J Cole

Donnis

web / label / twitter

myspace / twitter

Skeet Skeet

Rita J

web / twitter

myspace / label

Nola Darling

Pantyraid

myspace / twitter

web / twitter

Pictureplane

Those Chosen

myspace / label / twitter

myspace

Nightriders

Wolfgang Gartner

myspace / twitter

myspace / twitter

Yelawolf

MIKE POSNER

web / twitter

myspace / twitter


the genre-bustIng neW album from the World’s #1 dance musIc Producer

FEATURES GUEST APPEARANCES BY

akon aPl de aP estelle kId cudI ne-yo novel kelly roWland WIll.I.am chrIs WIllIs Includes the global anthem “When love takes over” featurIng kelly roWland and the future smash “sexy bItch” featurIng akon

AmAzon mP3 Album feAtures exclusive bonus trAck “toy friend” feAturing Wynter

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25:

25:NOW! Podcast

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25: NOW! — URB Digital Edition