It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work for North Carolina rapper Felony Fame since he left Newark, N.J. at a young age, but now that struggle is finally paying off. Fame was recently crowned the winner of the Coors Light “Search for the Coldest” Competition by judges DJ Drama and DJ Khaled (joined by host emcee Ice Cube), his versatility and originality overtaking several other competitors in the final round of freestyle battles. Now, the competition title, a DJ Drama-produced track, and a feature on Drama’s mixtape are helping this phenomenon become a sweeping sensation in the world of hip-hop. Felony Fame took a minute with us to talk about life before hip-hop, his alter-ego, and where he’s headed from here.
OS: You’re originally from Newark, N.J., how did you end up settling in North Carolina?
FF: I was really born in Newark, New Jersey. I ended up moving to North Carolina with my grandmother. I was raised by my grandmother, then my mother decided to move to North Carolina from Newark herself. So I was raised in North Carolina.
OS: Who are some other artists who you look up to and draw inspiration from? Did any of those artists influence the start of your career?
FF: Some of the artists I draw inspiration from, for me, definitely The Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, you know, Notorious B.I.G. He was one of the first big artists I was in to. As a kid I used to want to perform his songs at talent shows, and things like that. Usher too, I did a couple of his songs too, that was in elementary school. Those are some of the artists I came up listening to and made me want to do music.
Many weeks ago, we teamed up with Coors Light® to find the country’s coldest MC, one who could spit rhymes like the frostiest winters, and after brutal competition through several different judging and voting rounds, New Jersey-bred rapper Felony Fame has been crowned the coldest of them all. Also known as Propane Fame, the Newark native moved to North Carolina at a young age and got an early start on his rapping career, soon becoming a rising phenomenon. After some tough times in NC, he returned to his roots in New Jersey to focus on developing as an artist, dedicating himself to the art of hip-hop. Fame describes his title by saying, I chose the name Felony Fame because I wanted to be known for making records, not having a criminal record. I have an alter ego, ˜Propane’ Fame, which showcases my versatility and creativity on records that are for any genre. Felony happens to be for the streets.
Fame put that versatility and creativity to the test on July 26 at the Coors Light® “Search For The Coldest“ finale, hosted by Ice Cube, where he competed with seven other finalists in a random freestyle battle to see who was really the coolest spitter in the game. With help from judges DJ Khaled and DJ Drama, the score was settled as Felony Fame held it down for the Charlotte, NC crew with his heavy hitting punchlines and unique use of metaphors. Now, he’ll cash in on $10,000 in studio time to build a track produced by DJ Drama, and will be featured on the upcoming Search For the Coldest Mixtape, presented by Drama himself. Congratulations to DL, Chris Akinyemi, Tarik Trotter, The Lyrical Maze, KOVE, Lois LS Lane, and Aquil for making it to the finals in NYC.
Everybody knows that Philadelphia is the “City of Brotherly Love,” delicious cheesesteaks, and the Eagles, but is it home to the coldest MC in the nation? With only 16 semi-finalists left in the running, the Coors Light® “Search For The Coldest” Competition” is ready to find out. Philly semi-finalists Mike Milan and Aquil recently squared off onstage alongside Ice Cube, DJ Drama, and Wale, as they battled for rhyme-spitting dominance and the right to be crowned the nation’s best undiscovered MC. Watch highlights from the performance below, and be on the lookout for more videos of semi-finalist action from Atlanta and Charlotte.
With hundreds of thousands of artists making up the OurStage community, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the latest cool happening with our favorite musicians. Luckily, we subscribe to hundreds of OurStagers’ newsletters and email updates so we can always be there to lend a hand or a congratulatory high five. Consider this post a fist pump, thumbs up, ass slap, whatever you will, to these artists for their continuing hustle. Stay awesome.
You may remember the alt hip hop group OMG from their cooler than cool showing in the Coors Light Search for the Coldest Competition, where they froze out competition to become finalists and opened for N.E.R.D. Now they’re heating things up with their latest single “Chase the Sun” released on August 3 from their upcoming debut LP Mr. Mars. The funky hip hop beats will put you in a block party mindset complete with warm tall boys, but the swaggy hip hop vocals will melt you down into a groovy puddle right on the pavement.
Some music is just written for heartache. But if you’re really looking to torture yourself, you’re gonna want the songs that were written from heartache. Chris Akinyemi delivers in “Aya Mi” (means My Heart in Yoruba) of his debut Autumn EP, a soft acoustic song about what sounded like a wrenching break up with his college girlfriend. Just as you’re about to slit your wrists, female harmonies and the slightest percussion accents are dropped in (4:20) for a revitalizing finish. Regardless of the inspiration for the song, Chris has the last laugh, as the “Aya Mi” music video will soon premiere on MTV.
Our DVR may be slightly backed up with the new episodes of Entourage (what? Sunday nights are busy!) but The Niceguys video for their new single “Ari Gold”, off their upcoming The James Kelley EP, is enough to remind us why we need to make a date with our remote, and soon. Spitting a take-no-prisoners philosophy, we want to bump the song while driving around cursing off our boss (hypothetically, of course!). In the latest issue of Rolling Stone (p. 56) Jeremy Piven insisted he really is a “nice guy”… maybe The Niceguys can make him one of their entourage.
Amy Kuney makes the kind of music that lends itself to pop culture and relevant going-ons. Her song “All Downhill From Here” made an appearance in the uber-creepy Catfish, a was-it-or-wasn’t-it documentary exploring online relationships. Most recently “Gasoline Rainbows” was used by So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Stacey Tookey to convey a wake up call in regards to growing environmental issues. Whether it’s intentional or not, Amy is certainly tuned in.
Being sick sucks. Being sick with food poisoning sucks even more. Being sick with pneumonia, food poisoning AND being in Germany probably sucks serious bratwurst. But Xoe Wise is bouncing back and getting ready to depart on a North American tour with Matt Ryd, hitting pretty much every major city and adding in five performances at Microsoft locations, who are sponsoring her. Look for our care package of TheraFlu in the mail, Xoe.
The New York Times, as they say, has all the news that’s fit to print. So it’s only fitting that Sarah Solovay popped up in the N.Y./Region section last month in an interview about her career as a seventeen-year-old musician juggling songwriting and prep school. Despite a respectable number of song placements in TV and film, “her biggest achievement was opening for [John] Mayer. Fans [judged] for her on OurStage.com, and on July 24, 2010, she took the stage in front of 18,000 people in Scranton, Pa.,” where our old friend music exec Bruce Tyler noticed and took special interest in her career. Taking the summer to work on her new album, it’s back to the stacks in the fall for Sarah.
Billa Camp charmed listeners with his ode to his favorite state in “California” and reigned supreme in the “Coors Light Search for The Coldest” Midwest Channel. The result: Billa got to fly to Baltimore to open for N.E.R.D. and PacDiv, and has a chance at being crowned the “Coldest MC”! We caught up with Billa after his performance in Baltimore to see what it was like to open for heavyweights N.E.R.D. and PacDiv and how he plans on winning the Grand Prize”a performance at ESSENCE® Music Festival in New Orleans.
OS: How did you react when you found out that your song was the winner of the Midwest Channel?
BC: I was hyped! There were plenty of worthy emcees from the Midwest. It’s an honor to have came out on top.
OS: What inspired you to choose California a song about your love of the West Coast, to be the track you submitted into the Midwest competition?
BC: Personally, I love the entire make up of the continental United States. You can drive from one end of the country to the other and feel as if you’ve stepped into different worlds. I was born in New York, became a man in Chicago, but I was always intrigued by how filmmakers portrayed California life. Being from the Midwest you’re in the middle of it all. I feel the song connects with people not only from the Midwest, but all over. Simply because, mostly everyone has dreamed of going somewhere or doing something to escape the realities of everyday life.
OS: What was it like opening for N.E.R.D. and PacDiv? Were you a fan of them before you entered the competition?
BC: Of course, I knew who both the groups were. It was sick, crazy, bananas, inspirational, motivational and any other complimentary word used to describe a situation. Actually, six months ago I had an interview where they asked me: “Who would I most like to work with”? I answered “N.E.R.D.” Positive thinking goes a long way!
OS: What was the most memorable moment from the show for you?
BC: Just being there was memorable, but if I had to pick one thing it would be…Seeing N.E.R.D & Pac Div on the same bill for “free”. Priceless!
OS: What are your plans for promoting yourself to earn that Grand Prize”a performance at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans?
BC: I’d rather not say right now, but all you can do is go BIG.
OS: What kind of impact do you think this will have on your career going forward?
BC: I want to use this as a stepping stone, and these are definitely steps in the right direction.
OS: Any shout outs for the fans and your supporters on OurStage who helped California win in the competition?
BC: I want to say “Thank You” to everyone who voted and took the time to support independent music. Without them, there would be no independent artists.
OS: After seeing Eclectic Approach performing live, what do you think of the competition in the finals?
BC: Jowed is dope. He’s got good crowd control. It was a great experience and I had fun. You can’t beat that.
Check out Billa Camp’s winning track below: