She’s been making ahead-of-the-curve music and mind-bending videos for 20 years—and that’s no fluke. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah goes behind the curtain with the ultraprivate creative genius.
This article appears in the June 2017 issue of ELLE, on newsstands now.
At the photo shoot, the accoutrements of being her precede her. A tray of acrylic nails and an almost-empty bottle of professional-grade nail polish remover are carried by Bernadette Thompson, the Takashi Murakami of manicurists. A tall, strong-looking man walks around distractedly, wheeling a Louis Vuitton duffel bag that is smaller than his forearm; from time to time, he spins it in a wide circle out of boredom. Jewels—gold chokers, hoop earrings, and rings in a velvet-lined box—are attended to by a thin young man wearing a black Balenciaga fitted cap and high-top Nikes. There’s a bottle of jewelry cleaner harnessed to his chest and a chain of styling clips attached to his hoodie strings; he looks listless, like he has given his body over to the task. On the table, someone has set down two Kangol hats, one tan, one black: fuzzy, wearable homages to the golden era of hip-hop. They sit there like low-key crowns.
READ MORE: https://www.elle.com/culture/celebrities/a44891/missy-elliott-june-2017-elle-cover-story/
She’s a billionaire business mogul. He’s the most electric rapper in the game. How did they come together? How do they make it work? And can they survive the Kardashian Curse? Mark Anthony Green sits down with the world’s most powerhouse power couple.
He survived the crumble of Roc-A-Fella with a successful solo career intact, established his own brand name, and gained the respect of fans from around the world. There isn’t a thing you can tell Freeway about hard work. The Philadelphia native is on the verge of releasing his fourth solo album, Diamond In The Ruff , slated for a Nov. 27 release date. Thought most of his State Property brethren have fallen by the wayside, Free has kept his name hot through independent projects and mixtapes. Earlier this month, the bearded MC released a full length tape, Freedom of Speech, in conjunction with clothing company Rocksmith and online retailer Karmaloop. With just a few weeks before the album impacts retailers, VIBE sat down with the lone ranger to discuss his new music, working with Just Blaze again, State Property, meeting Nas after he dissed him, and more.
VIBE: What was your mindset like going into this joint? I know you were working on several mixtape at the same damn time.
Freeway: Yeah, I did so many. I’m always working, so I would do a record and put it to the side for the album, and that’s how I’ve been working. I got a chance to work with Just Blaze again. We got a record on the album called “Early.” I got three records from Jake One. You know we got crazy chemistry.
What other producers did you snatch up?
I did three records with Bink, who helped me create history during the Roc days. A couple tracks from Needlz, a couple new producers, my man Mike Jerz, one of my in house producers.
You’ve done countless mixtapes and have multiple albums under your belt but did you touch on anything you’ve never rapped about before?
I might have touched on some of the subjects but it’s from a different perspective. I got this record called “The Thirst,” produced by Jake One, and the hook is like ‘We dying of thirst/trying to work.’ I think a lot of people can relate to it because there’s so many that feel stranded right now. They feel stuck. Honestly, you could have a billion dollars and still feel trapped, so that’s where I was at when I did this record. CONTINUE READING…