Interview: Jagged Edge Talk “JE Heartbreak II”, Revisiting Their Old Blueprint, Staying Together While 90’s Groups Broke Up
When Jagged Edge announced they’d be naming their 8th album as a sequel to their 2000 classic “JE Heartbreak”, there was some excitement that they’d be returning to their previous formula, but also some hesitation if they could live up to the original. Rest assured, the album is very much up to par and their legacy remains intact. After 17 years, they manage to still produce music at the highest quality. Perhaps it has to do with them having the distinction of being the only one of the big 90’s r&b groups not to break up. Or maybe it’s the magic that Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox add to the mix. Whatever it is, we can be very optimistic about the future as they embark on the next 17 years. YouKnowIGotSoul sat down with Jagged Edge while they were in NYC promoting their album and discussed the creation of “JE Heartbreak II”, revisiting the formula they used on the original, how they’ve managed to stay together all of these years, and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The new album “JE Heartbreak II” is out now. You named the album after your signature album “JE Heartbreak”. In what way did the original influence the creation of this new one?
Jagged Edge (Brian): I guess the relation between those two projects for us is that we felt when “JE Heartbreak” came out, we were making some of the best music of our career. We felt like at this point in time we needed to again. We kind of drew the inspiration and used the model of terms of it all being about relationships and heartbreak and things about that.
YouKnowIGotSoul: How important was it to add Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox back into the mix? What were they able to bring to the table again this time around?
Jagged Edge (Brandon): For us it was extremely important to add JD and Bryan Cox back into the mix because they were our original collaboration partners on the first project. For us to do this the right way, we felt we had to bring them back in the loop.
YouKnowIGotSoul: We found it interesting that on the intro of the album you have a quote from Tyrese saying “R&B is in an insecure place right now.” How important was it to include that and what type of statement did you look to make?
Jagged Edge (Brian): Honestly, that was Jermaine’s idea and I heard his reason behind which is that when we were making this album, we were all getting together in terms of where we wanted to take it and the topic of the album. He came across these sound bites which ended up being the intro for the album, but all of those sound bites basically expressed the same thing which was that R&B the way that we know it and love it is almost nonexistent unless you put a rapper on the front, middle, or end of your song. You won’t get the same type of attention. We all agreed that that’s pretty much the truth, so it’s important to this album.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The last album you released prior to this was “The Remedy”, which was an album that advanced your guys sound where you took it up to date with r&b. After that, what made you look back at what brought you success earlier in your career and visit your earlier work?
Jagged Edge (Brandon): It was really important for us to revisit the earlier work because you get to a point where you make songs and you make so many songs that you do forget old things you used to do. In order to get that back, you’ve got to refresh your memory and the whole vibe, just living a little bit. I think at least for me, I went back and listened to our first album as well as “JE Heartbreak” and “Jagged Little Thrill”. I didn’t get too much passed that because that would be kind of where we’re at now. I did listen to some of those records. I think the main thing I did for this album was just be free. It’s like you want to get into that vibe, but you just can’t trace your old path. Fill your head with it and just be free with it.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The original “JE Heartbreak” album is looked at as a classic album and one of the best in r&b of all of the 2000’s. Was there any pressure on you guys to live up to the original on this album by naming it after it?
Jagged Edge (Wingo): There was definitely pressure for us to live up to the original because “JE Heartbreak” is our biggest record still to this day. There was pressure because you don’t want to undermine the process, you don’t want to do lesser than what was expected. Our fans expect the same result as the first time. We just wanted to give our fans what they wanted.
YouKnowIGotSoul: We put our review of “JE Heartbreak II” and we’re tough critics, but did feel it lived up to the original. Looking back at this completed body of work now, how do you see it living up to the original?
Jagged Edge (Brandon): I mean with people like yourself and some of the other publications we’ve read who weighed in on the album, the feedback has been good. So for us to live up to that, it would have to come from y’all. In our minds we always give y’all 150%. In our minds we love every song we ever made. So if y’all say that y’all feel like it lived up to it, then we’re onto the next project! *Laughs*
Jagged Edge (Brian): I think it’s about the way that you judge it. I don’t think just because of where we are in the time in this industry, I hate to say it aint, but the chances are it won’t sell as well as the first one did. We won’t don’t choose to make that our benchmark for success, how many records it sells. What our benchmark for success is were we able to stay consistent with the level of material that we make, and I think we were.
YouKnowIGotSoul: The first single “Hope” has been doing really well at radio. Can you guys talk about the next single?
Jagged Edge (Brandon): The next single is a song called “Getting Over You”. I think it’s one of those songs that most guys can relate to because at one point in your life whether it be kindergarten or sixth grade, it took you awhile to get over her. This song is just taking it from the standpoint of since you know that, you’re kinda standing back and asking yourself is this situation going to be one of those situations that takes me my whole life to get over.
YouKnowIGotSoul: How did you gets decide on that being the next single, especially since you’ve got so many great choices on this album? “Love Come Down” and “No Half Steppin” are some favorites of ours. What made this the one?
Jagged Edge (Wingo): There are a bunch of good records, but we got a little inside info that Jermaine Dupri is working on the remix to the next single, so we can’t wait! *Laughs*
Jagged Edge (Brandon): We always try to listen to the fans and a lot of fans have weighed in on every record. They’ve weighed in on every record, so it makes it hard, but we have made a nice concentrated effort towards that song, so we’ll see what happens.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You guys have been at this since the late 90’s, it’s been around 17 years now, this is your 8th album. How far do you guys plan to keep on taking this? What’s your plan for the future?
Jagged Edge (Wingo): As long as the fans keep accepting us, we’ll be here, we’re not going anywhere, we’re healthy, thank God. We’re still looking appropriate! *Laughs*
Jagged Edge (Brian): Nobody aint got not cataracts or anything! *Laughs*
Jagged Edge (Brandon): Most importantly, our talent is still intact. We are fans of a lot of people too, so we’ve got a chance to watch and see how some people’s talent wasn’t intact.
Jagged Edge (Brian): How some people can’t do them no more! We can still do us *Laughs*
Jagged Edge (Brandon): I think we still have a heads up and still look out for that.
YouKnowIGotSoul: It seems like every r&b group from the 90’s aside from you guys has broken up and eventually come back together. Everyone from Jodeci to 112 to Dru Hill to Next. How did you guys manage to keep it together all of these years?
Jagged Edge (Brandon): Just like that, seeing them do that and seeing them fall on their face with it! I’m not trying to be funny or knock anyone, but you shouldn’t have to be the type of person that gets burned by the fire. Sometimes you should be able to sit back and observe the dude getting burned by the fire and learn I aint gotta go there! *Laughs* For us, that’s what we did, we saw from day 1 our favorite groups break up, why would we wanna do that?
Jagged Edge (Kyle): It definitely effects the consumer who grew up with you. Once I heard about New Edition, I was like why!! It hurts you! We as artists, when we first started, I don’t think we understood the responsibility that we had to carry to r&b. We never thought that r&b would be so vast the way it is, and now we feel that we’re so responsible to bring it back to the fore front and let people know that we represent it. If it’s going to take Jagged Edge to bring it back, we’re going to do it! By golly we’re here!
YouKnowIGotSoul: You definitely did your part with “JE Heartbreak II”. Anything you’d like to add?
Jagged Edge (Wingo): Thank you! The album is in stores right now, our fans are the most important parts of our career, support your favorite band Jagged Edge.
Jagged Edge (Brian): To all of the questions we get about all of the other male groups, we don’t have no beef with them guys. I aint tryna be funny, but I don’t even think about those guys, so it definitely aint no beef, so stop asking, thank you!
Kate Moss opens the doors of her world in the December’s edition of British Vogue. For the 36th time she has appeared on the cover of the fashion bible. Vogue’s current contributing fashion editor also plays the role of the cover model by appearing on two different covers for the same issue. Captured by Mario Testino, on one cover she sports a raw, fresh look which also bring her freckles to light. The other cover shows her dark side in a vamp-like appearance.
Vogue reports that the British model has sported various looks including Bardot-haired, Breton-wearing ingénue to sequin-adorned showgirl for Her Infinite Variety shoot. Another photo shoot with David Bailey involves the men in her life including husband Jamie Hince and collaborator Sir Philip Green along with other friends, lovers business associates and mentors.
One feature includes a shoot styled by Kate and contributing fashion editor Kate Phelan. Shot by Tim Walker at Copped Hall in Essex, it bought about 40 artists, models, singers, actors and friends including her half-sister Lottie Moss, actress Suki Waterhouse, makeup artist and illustrator Isamaya Ffrench and singer Beth Ditto in front of the lens.
The supermodel has also shared some of her favourite spaces from within her own home, too, from her garden to her neatly categorised handbag wardrobe. The December edition also holds a story that looks at the Count and Countess von Bismarck’s Belgravia home which is touted to be London’s most glamorous party house.
Vogue December issue is scheduled to hit the newsstands in the UK from November 5.
Virgil Abloh, Kanye West’s Creative Director, Puts Street Wear in the Spotlight With His Off-White Line
Sitting down to lunch at the Mercer Kitchen in New York not long ago, Virgil Abloh checked off the most recent stops on the circuitous route that had led him to where he sat: from Tokyo to Copenhagen, back to Tokyo, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to Chicago, and then here.
At 6:30 the next morning, he would leave for Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico, for another project whose details remained, by necessity, hazily defined. It seemed to involve work on an album, most likely with Kanye West, for whom he has worked since 2002. Mr. Abloh now has the title of creative director for Mr. West.
“Working on the record, off the record,” he said.
Mr. Abloh’s progress in culture tends to follow these international and often unspecifiable paths. Trained as an architect and an engineer, he left a firm in his native Chicago to join Mr. West, and has since refashioned himself as an all-purpose cultural guru, whose work includes art-directing Mr. West’s tours and merchandise; his own frequent D.J. appearances; his clothing store, RSVP Gallery, in Chicago; and a handful of fashion collaborations and collections of his own making.
It is in fashion that Mr. Abloh, 34, is currently concentrating much of his energy. His line, Off-White, a high-minded take on street wear that borrows equally from the skate brand Supreme and the Renaissance painter Caravaggio, is gaining traction with a global collective of fans and retailers.
Mr. Abloh’s currency and favorite word is “vibes,” which he applies liberally to anything that catches his fancy. For Off-White (so named for the color of blank canvas, onto which he can project his enthusiasms), Mr. Abloh has variously cited Baja style, Mies van der Rohe and even Martha Stewart as inspirations.
Through a spokeswoman, Mr. West said, “Virgil is one of the smartest, fastest, most innovative people I’ve created with.”
Those who have known him the longest say fashion has always been a priority. The restaurateur Gabriel Stulman, who owns Fedora, Montmartre, Jeffrey’s Grocery and Joseph Leonard in Manhattan, was Mr. Abloh’s roommate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a co-host of numerous parties there. (True to their future pursuits, Mr. Abloh D.J.’ed and Mr. Stulman served drinks, at a local bar called Montmartre, the eventual source of one of his restaurants’ names.)
“He had the boldest, strongest fashion sense of anyone in Wisconsin,” Mr. Stulman said. “He looked like he was out of a magazine. And he’s in them now.” Off-White’s most recognizable motif is a recurrent pattern of white stripes, whose real-world analogues, on crosswalks and construction sites, label-fans now snap and tweet at Mr. Abloh. But beyond that, anything goes. Off-White includes shirts and sweats plastered with Caravaggio paintings, others printed with sharks, beaded camouflage jackets and shredded jeans.
Anything is fair game to be sampled, a technique Mr. Abloh first practiced with Pyrex Vision, an earlier and more limited collection. (In addition to Pyrex Vision, he also collaborated for a time with Matthew Williams and Heron Preston as part of a collective called Been Trill, which continues to make clothing.) The clearest expressions of Pyrex Vision’s borrowed ethos were its flannel shirts, store-bought from Ralph Lauren’s now-shuttered Rugby line when the label closed, and overprinted with Mr. Abloh’s own graphics. Some wondered about the ethics of upselling deadstock Ralph Lauren merchandise, but not so many that the shirts didn’t sell out.
For Mr. Abloh, it is the mix that defines the moment, with Off-White as much as with Pyrex Vision. He has a particular admiration for the street-style photographer Tommy Ton, who captures fashion-show attendees in their styled-to-the-hilt finery.
We are in, he said, “the era of Tommy Ton street style” and “the age of self-styling,” where the look is a high/low mix: “Girls wearing Céline and their boyfriend’s Air Force Ones. My premise is to create a brand that’s immersed in this young fashion customer. Me, as a designer, that’s what I draw from, that’s the culture that I’m a part of: the music, the restaurants, the Chateau to the Mercer. That sort of premise, that’s where I’m at.”
Navigating Mr. Abloh’s fascinations can require an index for the uninitiated (the Air Force One is by Nike, the Chateau is Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, the Mercer is the hotel and restaurant we were sitting in). He is fond of gnomic pronouncements and explanations. Discussing the woman he imagined wearing his latest collection, he said: “I have this catchphrase, which is ‘Clearly.’ She says ‘I only smoke when I drink,’ and she says ‘clearly’ as the start and end of a sentence.”
Off-White demands acquiescence to this trippingly referential mode. The spring women’s collection, designed with the “clearly” girl in mind, includes long, irregularly tiered skirts and is called Nebraska. It is a fragmented mix-and-mash, fashion-via-Tumblr.
Actually, Mr. Abloh said, this is “the post-Tumblr generation.”
He is intensely conscious of his place in a new guard, and one of his stated goals is to legitimize street wear — which he has followed from its first flush of ’80s skate brands, through latter-day inheritors like Hood by Air, for whom he used to design graphics — as part of the fashion conversation. He is a breathless fan of fashion, whose practitioners he cites with mononymic reverence (Hedi, Raf, Riccardo) and many of whom he now counts as friends.
That was not the case in 2009, when Mr. Abloh appeared on the fashion scene. His style was, at the time, gate-crashingly brash. In a photo taken by Mr. Ton, Mr. Abloh is seen with Mr. West’s entourage heading to a Comme des Garçons show, in a riot of primary colors: cherry-red glasses, a bright blue Moncler vest, a Jil Sander shirt and blazing yellow sneakers by the Pharrell Williams Billionaire Boys Club label. Later that year, when Mr. West and his friends were sent up in an episode of “South Park,” several of the outfits seemed to be lifted directly from the image.
Though he is still deferential to designers like Raf Simons and Riccardo Tisci, it seems that Mr. Abloh has arrived. Off-White is carried by influential stores including Barneys and Maxfield in the United States, Colette in Paris, Antonioli in Milan and I. T. in Hong Kong, and its retailers report it is selling well.
“A young crowd was coming just for that, that knew that we had that,” said Laure Heriard Dubreuil, chief executive of the Webster in Miami, which was one of the first retailers to carry Off-White. “It was bringing people that weren’t even looking at anything else, but were going straight to where it was in the store.”
The success of Off-White, which has grown to include furniture, has brought Mr. Abloh the fashion success that eluded Mr. West, who in 2011 introduced a namesake collection of designer women’s wear, to middling reviews. It was not produced for sale.
Mr. Abloh was quick to spring to Mr. West’s defense. “His fashion story is long,” he said. “We’re on the verge of seeing what an overwhelming success it will be.” Mr. West has since designed capsule collections for A.P.C. and is at work on a collection for Adidas.
“His projects I leave for him to speak about,” Mr. Abloh said, but added, “To me, he’s the greatest designer that has yet to be seen.”
When lunch ended, Mr. Abloh headed to the boutique Fivestory on the Upper East Side, to discuss a potential event with its owner, Claire Distenfeld.
They were planning a party to be held, maybe during Fashion Week, with the usual Abloh high-low vibes.
“It should be as if it were a house party,” Mr. Abloh said, “but in a mansion. It’s one-half all luxury-cozy, one-half red Solo cup.”
Ms. Distenfeld was in a glamorous full-skirted dress, but professed herself just as much a fan of Off-White, which she carries at the store.
“I can wear this one day and walk down the street and feel like I’m a movie star, or I can wear your stuff the next day and feel just as powerful,” she said to Mr. Abloh.
Exclusive to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC versions of Grand Theft Auto V, this new mode gives players the chance to explore the world of Los Santos and Blaine County directly through the eyes of their character, revealing all the world’s glorious details in an entirely new way.
Available in both GTAV and GTA Online, we’ve made a host of changes to accommodate this new perspective, including the creation of an optional first person cover system, a new targeting system, a more traditional FPS control scheme, and integrating thousands of new animations into the existing game. It’s also available at the touch of a button so you can easily switch back and forth between perspectives.
Alongside the new First Person mode, Grand Theft Auto V for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC features hundreds of additions and enhancements including 1080p resolution at 30FPS on PS4 and Xbox One (4K compatible on PC).
Grand Theft Auto V will be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 18th. Coming January 27th to PC.
“The Force Awakens.” The new chapter in the Star Warsseries will be directed by J.J. Abrams, who also recently unveiled the X-Wing Starfighter of Episode 7.Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is coming to theaters on December 18, 2015.
Jermaine Dupri doesn’t the props he deserves,
so for this week’s Throwback Thursdays Mix, it’s all about Jermaine Dupri on the boards.
01 – Da Brat – Thats What Im Lookin For
02 – Jermaine Dupri – Don’t Hate On Me ft Da Brat & Krayzie Bone]
03 – Jermaine Dupri – Hate Blood ft Freeway & Jadakiss
04 – Jermaine Dupri – Get Your Shit Right ft DMX & Mad Rapper]
05 – Daz Dillinger Feat. Rick Ross – On Some Real Shit
06 – Kris Kross – Live And Die For Hip Hop
07 – Da Brat – Let’s All Get High ft Krayzie Bone
08 – Notorious B.I.G. – Big Poppa (Remix)
09 – Da Brat – Funkdafied
10 – Junior M.A.F.I.A. – I Need You Tonight (Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Remix)
11 – Lil Kim – Not Tonight
12 – Kris Kross – Tonite’s Tha Night (Kris Kross Redman Remix)
13 – Kris Kross – Da Bomb ft Da Brat
14 – Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz – Be My Lady
15 – MC Lyte – Keep on Keepin on
16 – Da Brat – Give It 2 U (J.D. Extended Remix)
17 – The Braxtons – So Many Ways ft Jay-Z
18 – Total – Can’t You See (Soso Def Remix) ft Keith Murray
19 – Jagged Edge – The Way You Talk To Me ft Da Brat
20 – TLC – Creep (Jermaine’s Jeep Mix)
21 – Usher – Think Of You (So So Def Extended Mix)
22 – Da Brat – Sittin’ On Top Of The World
23 – Da Brat – Sittin’ on Top of the World Part II
24 – Will Smith – Gettin Jiggy Wit It (So So Def Remix) ft Big Pun, Cam’Ron, R.O.C.
25 – Jermaine Dupri – Jazzy Hoes ft Eightball, Too $hort, Mr. Black & Young Bloodz]
26 – Cam’ron – Rockin’ And Rollin’
27 – Kris Kross – Alright [Extended Remix]
28 – Kelly Price – Secret Love (So So Def mix) ft Da Brat
29 – Da Brat – What U Like ft Tyrese
30 – Mase – Cheat On You ft Lil Cease & Jay-Z
31 – JD – Welcome To Atlanta (Coast 2 Coast Remix)
32 – Jermaine Dupri – It’s Nothing ft Da Brat & R.O.C.
33 – Jermaine Dupri & Jay-Z – Money Ain’t A Thang
34- AZ – Hey AZ (So So Def Remix)