Let's Get 'Real'
Rapper Plies says he's plenty aware of the hip-hop marketplace's short attention span, which is why he's releasing his sophomore album, "Definition of Real," less than a year after his 2007 debut ...Rapper Plies says he's plenty aware of the hip-hop marketplace's short attention span, which is why he's releasing his sophomore album, "Definition of Real," less than a year after his 2007 debut, "The Real Testament." Due this week via Slip-N-Side/Atlantic, the new release is heralded by the single "Bust It Baby Part 2" featuring Ne-Yo, which has peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
"I strategically work with who I respect as a fellow artist," Plies says. "I met Ne-Yo in California and he told me how big a fan he was of my work and I told him the same about him. Then he blessed me with the 'Bust It Baby Part 2' chorus, which has been the quickest-growing record in my history. I can't thank him enough."
The new album also features guest turns by Trey Songz, the-Dream, Keyshia Cole and J. Holiday and production by J.R. Rotem, Drumma Boy, BC, Midnight Black and DJ Nasty. Born Algernod Washington, Plies was raised in Fort Myers, Fla. The MC was attending University of Southern Florida in the late '90s while his brother, Ronell "Big Gates" Levatte, was launching hip-hop label Big Gates, and soon found himself in front of the mic.
While struggling to teach one of Big Gates' artists the hook for a song, Plies recorded his own as a demonstration. But Levatte heard it and was impressed enough to offer Plies a deal. He soon broke through with mixtapes like "100% Real N*gga," which were sold hand-to-hand around Florida and garnered the attention of Slip-N-Slide Records CEO Ted Lucas. Lucas signed Plies in 2004 and two years later brokered a distribution deal with Atlantic for his albums.