Archives For lil wayne

Jason Derulo and I go way back. His first appearance on my show was in 2009 before “Whatcha Say” was on anyone’s radar. The hitmaker has been a consistent presence on the program since, whether he was calling in, stopping by the studio or saying hello at an awards show.

It was great to catch up with him last month in Las Vegas at the Billboard Music Awards; Derulo joined Nicki Minaj, David Guetta and Lil Wayne to open the broadcast, contributing a performance of his Minaj-assisted single “Swalla.”

But there was another part of our conversation that I kept thinking about, besides exchanging pleasantries and talking about his forthcoming TV appearance.

“Soon man, we’ll be celebrating 100 million sold,” he revealed to me. “It’s a really, really exciting time.”

He offered up the stat as we took a trip down memory lane; I had brought up “In My Head” – the single that shed his potential “one hit wonder” label and helped solidify his status as a pop radio mainstay. Coincidentally, it was Minaj that had jumped on a remix of the track and assisted in it gaining airplay on rhythmic and urban radio.

But besides his discography coming full-circle with Minaj, I was curious as to what Derulo thought of when he looked back on that period in his career.

“I remember not quite being myself a lot of the times,” he candidly offered. “I remember being excited as sh—about everything that was happening in my life man.

“It all just kind of came crashing in a moment. When you’ve been working your whole life for something and it finally comes to fruition it’s crazy.”

Derulo couldn’t have imagined what would follow: more hit singles, tours, a near-death experience, TV gigs and the occasional tabloid fodder. And at only 27, surely he doesn’t know what’s to come.

Jason Derulo’s Top 5 Singles (Ranked by peak-Billboard Hot 100 position)

5.) “Wiggle” (featuring Snoop Dogg)

4.) “Want To Want Me”

3.) “In My Head”

2.) “Talk Dirty” (featuring 2 Chainz)

1.) “Whatcha Say”

Honorable mention: the original version of “Ridin’ Solo.”

Bad news if you’re expecting a new DNCE album: don’t.

“For us, we focus on songs right now,” lead singer Joe Jonas told me backstage at the Billboard Music Awards. “We’re always writing so, if something just kind of comes together and it’s an album (then) so be it, we’re going to release it.

“We’re not really trying to lock us down to like, ‘Here’s a release date for a record.’ We got a song? Let’s just put it out.”

Jonas and company dropped an EP with the breakout hit “Cake By The Ocean” before releasing a full length album a year later. The quartet is back with its first single since: the Nicki Minaj-featured “Kissing Strangers.”

“We’re huge fans of her’s,” bassist Cole Whittle said. “We thought about it and she hadn’t really done anything in the rock-and-roll world with like a raw band and we approached her. She was in to it.”

Whittle noted the “aesthetic marriage” between the two acts and how both thought it was a good idea. For Minaj, the only time she really came as close to a “rock band” vibe was her feature on the track “Knockout” from Lil Wayne’s “Rebirth” album. While the song did not fare too well on the charts, it did sell over a half-million copies in less than a year.

Meanwhile, DNCE probably wouldn’t mind replicating the success of “Cake,” which earned platinum-certification in a number of countries including over 3 million served in the U.S. The band will play a smattering of shows this summer before joining Bruno Mars on the Latin America leg of his “24K Magic World Tour.”

On Sunday I covered my fifth consecutive Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. I also acted as the on-stage warm-up act, hyping and prompting the crowd before the show and during commercial breaks, for my fourth year. Here are some news and notes from my perspective both on the Magenta Carpet and backstage.

– Any artist that actually stopped and did media on the carpet should get some type of award. The temperatures outside T-Mobile Arena were near triple digits. It was so hot outside that inside they actually blasted the air conditioning during rehearsals. Perhaps it was a nice way to test how cold the venue can become ahead of it receiving an NHL franchise?

– I brought a change of dress shirts to account for the weather. Almost everything I wore in both outfits came from my favorite designer, John Varvatos. The tuxedo pants were H&M and my flower and pocket square were both from TheTieBar.com.

– I’d hate to say I called it but… I called it. Celine Dion stole the show at the BBMAs. I had chills listening to 18,000 inside T-Mobile Arena sing-a-long to “My heart Will Go On.” Celine is beloved as an icon, her voice is still impeccable, the movie is adored and the song as of late has gained new life as a meme of sorts. It was one my second-favorite moment from Sunday night.

– Great running in to Dan Kanter backstage. I first met Dan in 2009 inside The Mall at Steamtown in Scranton; at the time he was playing guitar for this new artist… maybe you’ve heard of him… Justin Bieber? Kanter is Bieber’s musical director and assumed similar duties for Julia Michaels’ performance of “Issues” – which I was a big fan of.

– That Rachel Platten “La La Land” adlib was just that – it was not in the teleprompter. I got a kick out of it.

– Something I really loved about this year’s show is that the stars really seemed to be enjoying themselves. You had Young Money – Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake – front and center both literally and figuratively for the entire show. Instead of acting too cool for the room they decided to simply join in on the party. With Drake setting the new single-night record for awards, they had plenty to celebrate.

– One of my favorite backstage moments came when BK and Tyler from Florida Georgia Line walked off stage after accepting the BBMA for “Top Country Song.” The duo embraced, let out a Ric Flair-like “Woo!” and said to each other, “Man that never gets old!” Nice to see a genuine moment of gratitude between the two.

– Another cool backstage interaction involved Diddy, who was about to pay tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. and reveal the trailer for the new Bad Boy movie “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.” The Chainsmokers were walking off the stage after accepting another award and Puff gave them a standing O before chatting with Alex and Drew for a few minutes. That’d be a fun collaboration right?

– Give credit to Vanessa Hudgens for holding her own on national TV and to Ludacris for once again making the whole hosting gig appear way easier than it actually is.

– Some other familiar faces that said hello backstage: Chris Daughtry, Miss America Savvy Shields, Mark Cuban and Hailee Steinfeld.

– I mentioned my second-favorite moment but not the one that tops the list. That honor belongs to my Mom. She was in the crowd cheering on her son while putting the video camera on her new-er iPhone to good use. I am thankful I was able to share the night with her.

The cross-section between sports and music has never been as cool as it is now: Jay Z represents athletes, the Toronto Raptors signed Drake to consult on marketing matters and Carrie Underwood is back as the face and voice of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

But the relationship between artists and athletes extends past the major American sports; action sports like skateboarding also enjoy a solid rapport with some of the biggest names in music.

Case-in-point: professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler. The 25 year-old grew up in the spotlight alongside music artists on MTV with his reality show “Life Of Ryan.” In that sense, he can relate to musicians like Justin Bieber a little better than your average athlete. The two spent last Thursday skateboarding and filming two music videos. Earlier this month, Bieber tweeted a photo of Sheckler to promote his new single, “What Do You Mean?”
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“He’s a really cool kid,” Sheckler said of Bieber. “A lot of people have their opinions about the dude but he’s a solid guy and yeah, he’s one of my homies.”

Another hitmaker with an appreciation for ollies and flip tricks is Lil Wayne. The hip hop artist’s passion for the sport led him to create his own fashion line of apparel, Trukfit.

“Wayne and Bieber, they just have the heart for it. They’re not doing it as some gimmick,” Sheckler explained; he called in to “Ralphie Tonight” to promote last weekend’s Nike SB Street League Skateboarding stop in Newark, N.J. “They actually really love skateboarding and they’re getting a lot better, day-by-day. Practice makes perfect.”

It certainly is not uncommon to see Wayne out-and-about with his board; the rapper was even spotted a few years ago skating around the parking lot of The Woodlands ahead of his concert at Montage Mountain.

“I think they realize that skateboarding is fun,” Sheckler continued. “To learn at your own pace, to do what you want to do… you can just be an individual and it’s freedom.

“I back Wayne and Bieber skating so hard man. It’s cool.”

The artists’ affection for the sport may also be a reflection of the times; as every league competes for television money and ad revenue online, skateboarding has seen an expansion past ESPN’s “X-Games.” Fox Sports 1 broadcasted Sunday’s event live from the Prudential Center.

These and possibly other reasons lead Sheckler to believe that skateboarding’s future is bright.

“I see skateboarding eventually in the Olympics,” he predicted. “People are actually realizing that skateboarding is a sport.”

And for pros like Sheckler, that might end up being the coolest cross-section of all.

The times are certainly changing, and if anyone in music has experienced that, it is rapper T.I. TIP has sold almost 7 million albums and 15 million singles in the U.S. alone. Yet the Atlanta-native currently finds himself without a record label and on a tour with Lil Wayne that is selling tickets in some markets for as low as $10.

“This is what we call a paradigm shift in society right now,” T.I. explained over the phone in an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “This is a generational shift where new people are coming in to power and there’s a new day and age; a new way of doing things.”

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The “Whatever You Like” artist notes that anyone in business has to adapt to a changing climate.

“I’m in a very unique position where I have artists, including myself, I have producers, I have writers under my wing,” he said. “For me to go to any distributor and walk in any building and give them instant market share, and give them instant credibility, instant relevance, and also an already-made superstar, that’s going to take a considerable investment.”

With the feasibility in this day and age of recording and releasing music independently, especially under an already-known name, there’s no reason to believe that T.I. is simply showing a poker face. He told me he’d like to release Trouble Man II: He Who Wears The Crown by this December. If there’s no deal in place with a record label, the rapper insists that he’ll release it without a major label. Coincidentally enough, the first single, “Wit Me,” features his summer tour-mate.

“Wayne was in Atlanta man, and he hit me,” T.I. recalled. “I think he might have hit me about 5 in the morning, say he was on his way to the studio. So I was just up watching TV at the house and I was like, ‘Hell man, I’m not going to let him out work me, I’m going to the studio too!’”

The two superstars listened to tracks from T.I.’s Hustle Gang in-house producers. A beat produced by Cordale “Lil C” Quinn stood out from the rest, and shortly after hearing it both Weezy and TIP started cutting verses.

“We didn’t get out of there that morning… might have been about 9:30 in the morning,“ he said. “And (Wayne) was still working!”

T.I. says that Lil Wayne is “doing good” following reports that speculated various conditions of his health.

“He’s in awesome spirits,” TIP said. “One thing I can say, it has nothing to do with drugs, because I’ve been around him several times, shooting the video and on personal time and I haven’t seen him around or doing anything anywhere related to any kind of narcotics. I can attest to that.”

Kelly Clarkson recently told The Associated Press that the only pop artist that has ever said “yes” to collaborating with her is Chris Daughtry. When asked about this on “The Ralphie Show,” the singer revealed two of her failed attempts.

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“Either Bruno Mars or Lil Wayne, I had different songs for both of them,” Clarkson said in an interview that aired Thursday night on 95.5 PLJ’s “The Ralphie Show.” “It was just kind of a cool, random thing.”

Clarkson has no hard feelings for either artist as both were in the midst of touring at the time. The original “Idol” winner admitted that the road schedule for pop music stars is the biggest reason why she hasn’t been able to link up with any.

“So I know a lot of people are busy,” she said. “But, everyone can’t be busy right?”

The singer has better luck linking up with country artists; she duets with Vince Gill on her new Greatest Hits: Chapter 1 album.

“When the (record) label brought (the idea of the compilation) up to me, I was like, ‘Seriously? I’m not over,’” Clarkson recalled. “Usually, like a ‘Greatest Hits’ would be like someone older that’s like, ‘And this is what we’re doing because we can’t do anything else.’”

Clarkson’s perspective on the project is what prompted the “Chapter 1” in the album title.

“The past decade is going to be so different from the next decade for me,” Clarkson also said. “Your 20’s are just so difficult, and like very much a roller coaster ride. There’s some awesome things in there, but there’s also some like, ‘Oh God, please let me get to my 30’s.’”

The artist won “American Idol” when she was 20, and spent the next 10 years selling over 25 million albums across the world. The success came with its downfalls: a relatively public feud with RCA Records head Clive Davis and an empty search for love. As the 30 year-old Clarkson looks ahead, both seem to be in the rear-view mirror. The singer is currently dating Brandon Blackstock, her manager’s son and Reba McEntire’s stepson.

“We have a new house together, so it’s our first Christmas together, like in the new house, and we’re pretty excited,” said Clarkson. “We’re trying to do some first Christmas traditions.”

As for a possible engagement, Clarkson told Ellen DeGeneres that she and Blackstock “were totally going to get married.” In hindsight, she admitted to me that the fleeting moment of gushing about her beau led to a bit of embarrassment.

“I had such a girl moment!” Clarkson said, also noting that she didn’t think that she would be talking about her personal life on the show. “It’s awesome to be the youngest in my family and everyone’s married with children, and I’m like the black sheep that travels the world alone.”

BABY MAKING MUSIC UGHHHHH!!!

I stopped by WBRE’s “PA Live!” for my weekly segment, “The Ralphie Report.” This week, I talked about the upcoming Gym Class Heroes show at East Stroudsberg University, along with new music from Joe Jonas and Taio Cruz.

I appear every Thursday on “PA Live!” – a new, daily show on WBRE that airs weekdays at 4 p.m. The show is co-hosted by Dave Kuharchik and Monica Madeja.

They should just sign Joe Jonas to YMCMB. Seriously.

Lil Wayne continues to reinvent how he sells and markets his music. Of course, Tha Carter III‘s commercial success is widely attributed to the release of free mixtapes leading up to the album. Now, Wayne drops the Tha Carter IV, and his next single isn’t on the standard edition of the LP! “Mirror” is the second of three deluxe edition tracks and it features the smooth vocals of Bruno Mars.