OVERSEAS: Mr Play and RaRa at the Grand Hustle Studio in Atlanta
WHAT’S UP from Atlanta aka “Black Hollywood”! So many great black movies and TV shows have been filmed out here recently!
The Bobby Brown documentary is being made at the moment and I’m really looking forward to it. If it’s anything like the New Edition one it’s gonna be wicked.
TV shows such as The Chi which stars Jacob Latimer and Atlanta which stars and is created by Donald Glover, are also big hits out here.
I definitely feel like I brought the UK weather with me. It’s been on and off with a random mixture of sunshine, rain and cold – all at the same damn time (shout out to Future LOL).
Not gonna lie, working abroad for several weeks on the trot can prove challenging. Thank God for FaceTime which has helped me stay in touch with my loved ones… WiFi permitting!
I had the opportunity to spend some time with srtist RaRa from ATL, who’s signed to Grand Hustle. Be sure look out for him, especially as he’s over in the UK later this year.
RISING STAR: RaRa
Here’s more on my catch up with RaRa:
A diamond in the rough you could say; a product of a working class family, RaRa was raised equally by his grandmother and the streets. While being both a promising student and popular football player in school, the harsh realities of life at home and around him not only forced RaRa to abandon his childhood innocence at an early age, but also to seek something more.
Following in his older brother’s footsteps, he found himself in a hustle-by-day, party-by-night lifestyle that was just enough to glamorise street life. This life of hustle also introduced RaRa to music, most importantly Tupac, who not only remains one of his greatest influences, but also framed his budding lyrical aspirations and life within the context of Southern Hip-Hop legends like Outkast, 8Ball & MJG and UGK.
Before long, RaRa was crafting his own lyrics, spending every waking moment not taken up by the streets, in the studio. The early efforts landed him a record deal, under the tutelage of Jermaine Dupri under the moniker Young Capone. Yet, despite a buzzworthy introduction to the game, his first deal served as little more than motivation for RaRa to become an even bigger student of the game.
He re-emerged back in 2012 with releases of Higher and a couple of years after with High.End.Low.Life .
While the project was a critical success, it failed to grab the attention he’d hoped from his industry peers. Forced to return to the life he’d known before music, RaRa spent the following three years elevating his skills as a songwriter and developing himself as a producer, knowing that no one could ever truly craft the soundtrack of his life better than he could.
GRAND HUSTLE: RaRa and T.I
In early 2017, he returned with I Am What I Am , a seven track EP described by Creative Loafing as “a confessional, not of mistakes made, but of truths discovered.” It was RaRa embracing all that has made him, and walking in the confidence of who he has become.
As he worked on that project, and the subsequent Dope Sell Itself and Dope Sell Itself 2 , RaRa also built up an impressive discology as a producer – creating tracks for Meek Mill, TI’s critically acclaimed Us Or Else projects, BoB and more.
RaRa’s now poised to show the world exactly what he’s learned about himself through this journey: “Whatever any other artist or producer out there is doing, I’m comin’ at them with the same,” he says. “I want all this sh*t. Something in me feel like I can be the biggest out here. I don’t know who put that thought in my head, but I honestly believe that sh*t. With a passion.”
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