Rapper Wale may be one of the longest "overnight successes" in the history of hip-hop. The 27-year-old released "Paint A Picture," his first of seven mixtapes, in 2005 and aligned himself with the resurgence of go-go music, a regional funk subgenre popular in his native D.C. After teaming up with Mark Ronson and Lily Allen in 2007, releasing his Seinfeld-obsessed Mixtape About Nothing in 2008 and only then releasing debut album Attention Deficit in 2009, the rapper joined up with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group earlier this year. Later this week, Wale is set to release Ambition, his disparate follow-up featuring "Lotus Flower Bomb" and "Slight Work," and melding dark, ominous synths, R&B hooks and club-friendly anthems.
We've been big Wale fans for years, and this week we've got no lack of Wale interviews and videos with the MTV PUSH artist that'll make you an instant Wale expert. In the first video, the rapper discusses what he learned from the marketing and promotion of 2009's Attention Deficit that he hopes to avoid for Ambition. As the subsequent videos show, the mixtape veteran born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin has always been confident about his abilities, stating, "I could always steal the show with music," before listing what hip-hop albums influenced him growing up.
Thanks to Sucker Free, we also get to hear about the importance of touring -- "You never really know how hot or not hot you are until you go on tour," Wale says -- and how the experience helps the rapper decide on his next single (democracy in action!). Finally, learn about all the guest spots on Ambition -- think Wale's Maybach Music peers for a start -- and check out the video for mixtape standout "Bait" to get hyped for the official album.
Ambition is out Nov. 1 on Maybach Music/Warner.
+ WALE ON WHAT HE LEARNED FROM HIS FIRST ALBUM:
+ WALE ON HIS CONFIDENCE IN MUSIC:
+ WALE ON HIS MUSICAL INFLUENCES:
Watch more Wale videos and interviews after the jump.
Remember a few weeks back when we debuted Best Intentions, the first album from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. punk-pop quintet We Are The In Crowd? Well, we've raised the stakes by making them our MTV PUSH Artist Of The Week and bringing you tons of exclusive content below. The Warped Tour alum had some bad luck in 2009 when a hacker deleted all of their music. But the band persevered to record Intentions, which blends crunchy, yet radio-friendly, guitars with earnest love songs.
In the first video, we asked each member about their "best intentions" moment, which leads to answers ranging from weight bands to the existential vagaries of life. "I feel like we try to do everything with the best intentions, but our band has really bad luck and we just end up in really weird situations at the most inconvenient times," admits co-vocalist Taylor Jardine.
You can also watch the band discuss the recording process for Best Intentions before going behind the scenes of their latest video, "Rumor Mill," shot in an abandoned hospital and involving mud splashes and hobo standoffs. (We threw in a 30-second sneak peek, too, just 'cause we're nice like that.)
Finally, take a peek at the band's live performance of "Never Be What You Want" followed by the official video to "Both Sides of the Story." And stay away from abandoned hospitals if you know what's good for you.
++ WE ARE THE IN CROWD ON THEIR BEST INTENTIONS
Watch more videos from We Are The In Crowd after the jump. Read More...
Two years ago, 14-year-old pop singer Cody Simpson was recording covers of Jason Mraz and Justin Timberlake in his Australian bedroom. Now he's our MTV PUSH Artist of the Week, and ready to dominate stateside and beyond. Last year's "iYiYi," his debut single, featured Flo Rida and was an immediate hit with more than 18 million YouTube views. That's 18. Million. Since then, the pop star has signed with Justin Bieber's manager, recorded two EPs and has been featured in nearly every mall in America.
We've got interviews and live performances to give you the complete story on our Australian friend. First, check out live performances of Simpson hits "Not Just You" and "On My Mind." After the jump, Cody reveals how Australian slang keeps him grounded to his home country and how his voice has matured since his earlier days. As a singer who started out recording covers in his bedroom, Cody Simpson also discusses his love of cover songs and the artists he still enjoys covering (can you guess?).
Of course more popularity breeds more fans, as Cody Simpson shares crazy fan stories -- a group of dedicated fans followed him back to his house. Not cool, guys. "A mall was something that I just used to hang out in as a kid," says Simpson on his numerous mall shows. "And then you go there, and there's 4,000 people waiting for you to perform. It's a big difference."
Cody also teamed up with MTV Act for a special video on bullying. Simpson says he understands the effects of bullying firsthand and offers his own tips on how to handle bullying and what to do if you're a victim.
Whew! Lots of Cody Simpson to pack in to your week, but we're pretty sure you're not complaining.
+ Watch exclusive Cody Simpson interviews, videos and live performances:
++ CODY SIMPSON, "NOT JUST YOU (LIVE)"
Watch more videos after the jump!
For Latin music fans, it doesn't get much bigger than MTV Push Artist of the Week Anthony "Romeo" Santos. The former lead singer of Aventura, the New York quartet that popularized the Dominican folk-pop genre bachata for a new generation, is set for Stateside solo success with the upcoming release of his debut solo album, Formula.
On Formula, the 30-year-old singer fuses his bachata roots with modern R&B and hip-hop, enlisting Lil Wayne, Pitbull and Usher to lend a hand on the album, which features the lead single "Promise." The "Promise" video, which we're premiering below, was directed by longtime Usher collaborator Anthony Mandler. And it may have taken 26 hours to shoot, but it was worth it for Romeo. "He takes your story to another level visually," says Romeo of Mandler. "I experimented in genres and styles that I've never really messed with in the past," says the singer in an interview below.
If Romeo's "Promise" video isn't enough, check out more interviews to learn more about Romeo's roots as a writer growing up in The Bronx, New York. "I try to transmit emotion and soul in my voice, but my true passion has always been writing," says Romeo. "I feel more like a writer than anything else." After writing poems at 13, Romeo began writing songs with other singers in mind, until friends encouraged him to sing for himself. Thankfully for us, the former Billboard Composer of the Year and White House performer got his confidence up and is now ready for the solo spotlight.
+ Watch Romeo's "Promise" video featuring Usher, watch a live performance of "You" and watch Romeo interviews after the jump!
New York-via-North Carolina rapper and MTV Push Artist of the Week J. Cole had already had his name on hip-hop fans' lips when he became the first signee to Jay-Z's fledgling Roc Nation label. While the Hov's co-sign expanded Cole's stature, the rapper had already built up his name through a series of independently released mixtapes, including 2007's "The Come Up." With next week's release of Cole's official debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, we've got a mess of videos detailing the past, present and future of the buzzed-about rapper.
In the first video, Cole tells us how he got started in music at just 12 years old through an older cousin, but quickly realized he was better than most 18-year-olds and wanted to pursue a career in hip-hop. The rapper reveals the only reason he applied to St. John's University was to live in New York and land a record deal. We've also got videos on Cole's reaction to getting signed to Roc Nation -- "I can't even say it was a dream come true because I never thought it was possible," admits the rapper -- and a brief history of his less-than-stellar encounters as a battle rapper.
Cole also talks about finding the balance between "flash" and "real life" by "staying connected to real-life stories" and reveals to MTV's Sucker Free all the guest appearances on the album, including Drake, Trey Songz, Missy Elliott and his boss Jay-Z. "If it was up to me, I'd live in the studio all the time," admits the rapper. We wouldn't have a problem with that.
Finally, watch Cole's "Can't Get Enough" and "Work Out" videos below.
Cole World: The Sideline Story is out Sept. 27 on Roc Nation.
+ Watch J. Cole interviews and performances after the jump.
Anglophiles, stand up! 22-year-old UK singer and MTV Push Artist of the Week Katy B is already a star in England, but the dance-pop Dubstep singer has been quickly blowing up in America with her hypnotic high-street bad-ass style and genre-bending hits.
Born Kathleen Brien, Katy B is a graduate of London's BRIT School, whose alumni includes Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis and classmates Jessie J and Adele. She released her debut album On A Mission in the UK earlier this year, and critics and the public pretty much had a meltdown over it, earning Katy a prestigious Mercury Prize nomination for best album. (The award went to PJ Harvey. And if you have to get trumped, you could lose to far worse artists than Polly Jean.)
We've got a musical pick and mix, if you will, of Katy B interviews, live performances and music videos to get you caught up. In the first video, Katy discusses listening to and absorbing R&B artists like Destiny's Child, Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu before getting into club music as a teen. "Growing up, there was lots of club music and listening to pirate radio in London was definitely a massive influence and a big platform for my music," the singer says. "That was the first place my music got played."
We've also got a live version of "Katy on a Mission," from her MTV Hive "Live In NYC" performance shot just last week. Judging by the video, the hyperkinetic energy of UK clubs has clearly inspired Katy's stage show. Finally, check out the official videos for "Katy On A Mission" and "Witches' Brew," the latter a bizarre, surreal clip featuring bubbling tar, floating books and men in wolf masks. Get involved.
+ Watch exclusive Katy B interviews, videos and live performances:
++ KATY B DISCUSSES HER MUSICAL INFLUENCES.
Watch more videos after the jump.
23-year-old UK singer Jessie J may be a new name, but she's got a long history. Starting her career at age 11 in various London musicals, the BRITS school alum (the same school that boasts Adele, Katy B and Amy Winehouse as graduates) began her career as a songwriter, penning tracks for Chris Brown and Miley Cyrus. "Do It Like a Dude," her first single, was originally pegged for Rihanna, but the singer turned it into an UK hit. Who You Are, J's debut album, would follow in January of this year.
We've got interviews, music videos and live performances to show you all sides of the performer. After a quick intro vid in which Jessie J is dubbed "Act most likely to save pop" by one website (no pressure or anything), find out when people first realized she had a loud voice and when she knew her hobby could be her career. Then follow the singer as she gamely tries to impress a group of jaded New Yorkers on the subway, arguably the toughest crowd in America.
The fashion icon also takes you shopping, trying on different outfits and discussing what style means to her. "Style should not have a brand," says Jessie J. "It should be what makes you feel comfortable. Style is most fun for me when i have a stage performance because there's no limits or boundaries... I like looking like a superhero."
Finally, check out live performances of "Nobody's Perfect" and "Who You Are" followed by the official videos for "Price Tag" and "Who's Laughing Now." Now go impress your friends with your newfound knowledge.
+ Watch more exclusive Jessie J interviews, videos and live performances after the jump.
Before Sarah Palin usurped them, psych-pop quartet and MTV Push Artist of the Week Portugal. The Man were the most famous thing to come out of Wasilla, Alaska. When they're not answering questions about the former vice presidential candidate in presumably every interview, the chameleonic group has been churning out sonically disparate albums every year since 2006's Waiter: You Vultures!.
Now based in Portland, Oregon, the group recently released In the Mountain in the Cloud, a cohesive, psychedelic pop album that doubles as their first major label effort. Vocally, frontman John Gourley trades in his Freddie Mercury-level histrionics for the glammy classic rock of T. Rex's Marc Bolan, augmenting the band's Bonnaroo-friendly sound.
Portugal. The Man have always been hard to pin down, shifting styles within and between albums and incorporating elements of progressive rock, electronic, chamber pop and experimental rock. We've got a few videos to try to tie it all together. We've got their nature-filled video of "All Your Light (Times Like These)" and two live performances from the band. "So American" features the group soundtracking a pickup basketball game in the background, while "Got It All (This Can't Be Living Now)" is a sparse rendition that sounds like the guys just picked up their instruments spontaneously and started jamming. Knowing their laid-back vibe, that's probably pretty close to the truth.
+ Watch exclusive Portugal. The Man videos and live performances after the jump.
Last month we brought you the exclusive premiere of Every Avenue's new single, "No One But You," off their Bad Habits album. Speaking of bad habits, we've pretty much become addicted to the Michigan pop-punk band's biting, breakneck anthem, and we'd be shocked if you've been able to stop obsessing about them too. And now you don't have to, since they're this week's MTV PUSH Artist Of The Week.
Every Avenue recently released their third LP, Bad Habits, and they've been touring the country on the Vans Warped Tour. But they took some time out of their touring schedule and destructive behavior and resultant songwriting to sit down with us for some exclusive interviews.
In the first video, guitarist Joshua Withenshaw discusses how the condom cover art to "No One But You" fits into the bigger picture of the album's artwork. "We're all about safety," the guitarist says half-jokingly. Speaking of safety -- or lack thereof -- the guys are a bit reluctant to discuss the most warped thing they've seen on the Warped Tour (come on, guys!!!), but they'll gladly share all the moshing injuries they've witnessed in the medic tent. And, like anyone would be, they're more than happy to discuss the time Zooey Deschanel tweeted them. (Wouldn't you?) Plus, lest you think Every Avenue's all bad habits and Zoeey crushes, they've got a do-gooder side too, as you'll see in their MTV Act video where they discuss the organization "Keep A Breast," which empowers women to learn how to prevent and detect breast cancer.
Finally, we'll refresh your memory with "Mindset" and "Tell Me I'm a Wreck," two videos from the band's 2009 album Picture Perfect, as well as the audio clip of their new single, "No One But You."
+ Watch exclusive Every Avenue interviews, videos and more:
++ EVERY AVENUE ON THEIR CONDOM ALBUM COVER:
Watch more videos after the jump:
Credit: Jaden Parkes
New Zealand New Wave duo and MTV PUSH Artist of the Week Kids Of 88 have a lot to be thankful for. "My House," the band's self-released first single, became a hit in their home country, while their 2010 debut album Sugarpills earned them scads of good press and a trip to South By Southwest, one of the biggest music festivals in the country. Having toured both as support for Ke$ha and headliners in their own right, the kiwi duo, named after the year of both members' birth, are set to take over stateside.
You probably already heard the group's "Just a Little Bit" in MTV's reincarnation of "Teen Wolf." While the show hasn't hit New Zealand yet, the first video we have shows the guys' fondness for the original 1985 film. After that, check out why Kids Of 88 named the album Sugarpill, and go behind the scenes on their visit to South By Southwest. "We're freaking out, but we're suppressing it just so we have an aura of confidence," admits singer Sam McCarthy. "When you come to watch us play, you get down and dirty and have a good time."
Finally, the guys spoke with "120 Minutes" host Matt Pinfield about each member's home studio, and if you need reminding, we've got the video for the trippy lead single, "Sugarpills." Consider yourself up to speed.
+ Check out Kids Of 88's performances and interviews after the jump.