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GRAMMY Camp Alumnus Jahaan Sweet On Working With Drake, Eminem & His Mentor Boi-1da

Jahaan Sweet

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GRAMMY Camp Alumnus Jahaan Sweet On Working With Drake, Eminem & His Mentor Boi-1da

A decade after attending the premier music industry experience for high school students, Sweet has worked with some of hip-hop's finest—and he's just getting started

GRAMMYs/Mar 27, 2019 - 03:31 am

How do you go from a music-loving high schooler to a legit songwriter/producer working with Kehlani, Drake, Eminem, The Carters, Ty Dolla $ign, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and more? Just ask Jahaan Sweet.

The Jacksonville, Fla., native rocks a unique blend of talents built upon a classical background, a jazz obsession and futuristic instincts. "I have a natural feeling when it comes to music, but I also learned a lot," says Sweet. "Understanding theory is definitely a massive part of it. I’m always listening to classical and old jazz records. That’s where the sound and harmony come from. At the same time, I love the rhythms of hip-hop and R&B right now. It's a balance."

This time 10 years ago, Sweet was a high school student looking for ways to grow his passion for music into a career. Fortunately, he found GRAMMY Camp, an interactive summer music experience focusing on all aspects of commercial music led by working music professionals. Known by those who've participated by its unofficial slogan, "This is NOT fantasy camp," the program aims to provide teenagers with a real-world view and hand-on experience in the music industry.

Success at GRAMMY Camp is not about being discovered overnight, but rather about discovering if and how your own passion for music can be developed into a career. For Sweet, the program marked the beginning of a successful journey toward living his dream, and it involved tons of hard work along the way. And while he humbly admits, "I'm still trying to find that breakthrough moment," the future looks bright for the accomplished young producer. We caught up with him on the phone to chat about his remarkable credits list, his GRAMMY Camp experience, and more.  

When Kehlani's debut mixtape You Should Be Here came out back in 2015, I did a double take when I heard you co-wrote and produced six tracks on it. I said, "Wait, I know Jahaan Sweet from GRAMMY Camp 2009!" How did you get in position to work with her?

It was amazing, man. I was just grinding in New York. I was still in school. I was going to the studio at night. I would just go to MBK Studios in New York, and I would just be there all the time. One day, she just walked through, and I was, like, "Man, who is that singing? Her voice is really dope."

We got introduced, and from there, we just kept working, always making music… I did two [songs] on the Cloud 19 project that she had. We had a few other loose records that we put out, and then we just started just sending music back and forth to her all the time. I came out to LA. We worked together. Pretty much, just all the things that we were working on just compiled into You Should Be Here. I guess that was really my first entrance into, "Oh, hey, Jahaan Sweet, he's a music producer, a new music producer,"… It happened right before I graduated school in 2015.

Wow, what a way to kick off your career. From there, can you walk through how you were able to connect with the likes of a Drake or an Eminem or the Carters? How does that play out from your side?

It's definitely a blessing. I would say that none of that would have been possible without my bro Boi-1da. Boi-1da definitely was very, very instrumental in bringing me around town to a lot of sessions with him because he had a lot of time. He was doing Drake music from the very beginning, and they have a great relationship.

Before I got in the mix, it had been maybe a half a year of us just always creating music together and being in the studio together. He finally just one day said, "Hey, man, you want to come with me to work with Drake?"

I was, like, "Man, of course." Drake is my favorite rapper. Well, just not even just rapper, just artist, period. It was just a dream come true. Then, he also got in to work with Beyoncé and Jay-Z on their project, and he was thoughtful enough to say, "Hey, man, I really want to bring my guy, Jahaan, Jahaan Sweet." They were super, super receptive to it, super nice about it, and it was an amazing experience. We were in Paris field working. It was amazing.

Same thing with Eminem, [Boi-1da] has a great relationship with Eminem, and he was just really being like a mentor and always having me around and being super fair. That's really how those opportunities came for me. If it wasn't for him, I don't even I would have even gotten close to that.

What have you learned most from Boi-1da as your mentor?

First, I would probably say just work ethic and the importance of just being a good person and doing good business. I see how he does business. I see how he treats everybody. He's such a great person, and I feel like, more than anything, that's the most important thing is to treat people fairly and try to make sure you're being the best version of yourself that you can be. That's probably the biggest takeaway I have of him. He's such a hard worker as well.

WATCH Behind The Board: Boi-1da On Beat Making, His Beginnings & Working With Drake

I want to ask you about GRAMMY camp. What was your mindset back 10 years ago going into attending Camp? What about your skillset?

Man, I'm still the same way to this day! When I was getting ready, I was excited for the opportunity to work with new people, meet new people, and that was also my first time coming to L.A. 

I knew that my skillset wasn't that great, but it was just so good to be around people who were all there to learn and create together. I feel like that's the biggest takeback I have of GRAMMY Camp: It was amazing to have all those people together under one roof, all in the same vicinity, all doing creative things.

What were some experiences at GRAMMY Camp that stuck with you your first decade in the industry?

Man, working with [GRAMMY Camp faculty director] Jason Goldman. He's a great guy, and he was such a good, carefree band director. I feel like when I first starting touring with Kehlani, I was able to understand how to conversate with an artist and know just the right things to say and how to make them feel comfortable. Also, relationships, I feel like, through [GRAMMY Camp], it helped me just understand how the music industry works. Hey, I'm still friends with some of those people to this day.

What advice do have for teenagers who say, "I see you landing all these huge records. I want to do that"?

I would say, once again, meet as many people as you can. Try to build genuine relationships with people. I feel like that's one of the most important things I would tell anybody that young.

Life, not just music, is all about relationships, and the best thing you can ever do is always make sure you maintain great relationships. –Jahaan Sweet

That's great advice, and congrats on everything! Lastly, what's next for you?

Man, I'm always just making music. That's a hard question for me to always answer. Most of the times, I'm doing something and not even knowing exactly what I'm doing or where it's going or what's happening. I'm just always just constantly just trying to create and work with as many people as I can and see where that takes me.

GRAMMY Camp offers tracks in audio engineering, electronic music production, music business, music journalism, performance, songwriting, and video production. The five-day program is open to talented high school students from the U.S. and will take place in Los Angeles this summer. For more information and to apply by the March 31 deadline, visit the GRAMMY in the Schools website.

Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.

 

RELATED: How Rosalia Is Reinventing What It Means To Be A Global Pop Star

"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

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