Before the 2015 Grammys take over TVs and social streams on Sunday, Feb. 8, co-hosts ItsTheReal‘s Jeff Rosenthal and Eric Rosenthal and Pop-Shop editor Jason Lipshutz join me on this week’s episode of The Juice Podcast to discuss our predictions for the R&B/rap categories.
This week’s episode also includes an interview with The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, who stopped by the Billboard NYC office on Tuesday, Feb. 3, to play their upcoming EPs Crown and Jewel. The long-term collaborators and friends reunited in September and saved each other from their executive positions at major labels. Stewart mentioned he was “hating my life” when The-Dream, Executive VP of A&R at Def Jam at the time, shot over a tweet: “You gonna let anybody get this $20 million dollars or are you going to stop playin’?”
They’ve created a two-part project with lush soundscapes: one EP, Crown, will be out in March and the second EP, Jewel, will hit in June (under Capitol Records).
Crown is laced with grandiose, lengthy songs and beautiful transitions circa The-Dream’s Love Vs… albums, while Jewel has more of a pop lean; it features songs he’d lend to pop stars he’s written and produced for in the past (Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, Rihanna), except The-Dream is adamant about 2015 being the year he’s recognized for all sides of his artistry.
“People refuse to know me as a songwriter. They refuse to accept that there are things that I’ve done with others — with other people who are now my good friends — and impacted their career to a certain level,” says The-Dream. “They try to separate that. At the end of the day, I can’t convert people like that, I have to do it through music. So, if you think I’m one thing in the day time, and Batman at night, that’s exactly how I’m going to put out the album.”
The-Dream also discusses his time at Def Jam, which he describes as “unfortunately if you’re on the Toyota car lot, you probably shouldn’t take Bentleys over there to sell them” and his 2013 IV Play being his “my get out of jail free card.”
“It was my last album period in a contract obligation. It’s kind of hard for anyone to put that much into it. I wouldn’t expect Def Jam to put that much into it at that particular point, the same way I wouldn’t put that much into it, not from a musical standpoint [but] from a marketing standpoint,” he continues. “I had to make the record or I couldn’t get out the contract.”
While The-Dream and Stewart can’t disclose much as to who they’ve been working with, they promise that they’re “taking out everybody.”
Let me know what you think of the 34th episode of The Juice Podcast over on Twitter (@3rika).