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Saluting a legend (10/14a)
Shock of the new (10/11a)
Da teen vs. DaBaby (10/11a)
Unexpected drama (10/14a)
An uber-competitive category (10/14a)
What shoes go with dancehall?
How certain projects connect at streaming.
농담은 한국어에서 더 잘 작동합니다.
Change is nigh.


By: Michelle Santuosso

This 19-year-old R&B singer from Jacksonville, Fla., writes and produces all his own music, and first went viral on YouTube with a video for “I’m Next (Freestyle),” then caught the attention of Def Jam Records after posting a clip to Instagram singing his romantic ballad, “Valentine.” Osiris’ charming debut single “Worth It” and its encouraging, female-friendly chorus, gave this young artist his first notable chart success, along with more than 57 million video views. He’s since followed that up with “Shakira,” released in August. A young singer valiantly setting the new vanguard for teenage love, YK is also striving to be an example to other youth behind the music as well, with some very mature lifestyle choices. Which makes his decision to talk to the most immature of all trade publications truly perplexing.

You’ve got a very cool, memorable name but even more special are the 
meanings behind it. Tell us about that. 
The “YK” stands for “Young King,” and my high school teacher Mr. Thomas, who is very conscious of Egyptian history, used to call me “Young King” every day that I came to his class. So when I began my musical journey, I named myself “Young King” Osiris after my high school teacher. He inspired me, along with my father, who named me “Osiris.”

How did “Worth It” exceed your own expectations?
To be completely honest, the moment I heard the song, I knew it was a hit. I recorded, wrote and produced that record in my home city of Jacksonville. I’m very proud of that, because not a lot of artists can say that they recorded a double-platinum record in their very own city. It’s very organic, to say the least.

What would being nominated for a Grammy mean for you personally?
Winning a Grammy would be a life-changing moment for my family and myself. I never thought that I would even be considered for a Grammy, because I understand that it is the highest honor an artist can receive in their career. Even if I don’t win one, being nominated is a very big accomplishment.

You set a very positive example for others—tell us about your philosophy of “moving smart.”
“Moving smart” means I understand that I’m being watched and admired by millions of young people who listen to my music. I want to be a positive example for the youth and let them know that you don’t have to do drugs and alcohol to achieve your dreams.

What was something a fan of your music has told you that made you realize your music was connecting on another level?
A fan sent me a tattoo of myself on her arm, and she told me that I inspired her to become a musical artist.

You are the oldest of eight brothers and sisters. The oldest child is often in charge and also going through everything first, so how has having that many siblings prepared you for life as you set out on your own?
Being the oldest sibling, I’ve had the ability to guide my brothers and sisters in a path that is much better than mine, because I can give them direction on some of the bad and good choices I’ve made in my life. I’m also able to provide them with the option of going to college so that they can pursue their dreams, as I did.

If you had to pick one, who would be your ultimate guest feature artist and why?
Michael Jackson, and I understand that he is no longer with us, but I’ve always admired him growing up. I love his dance moves and the energy that he gives his fans, so I know we would have made a dope video and song together.



By: Michelle Santuosso

Taurus Bartlett—otherwise known as Polo G—is from Chicago’s North Side and has seen more than his share of brutality. After experimenting with the drill-rap sound on several tracks released independently, Bartlett switched up to a more emotive tone in order to capture the trauma he was going through—losing loved ones to gun violence. On “Finer Things,” written while incarcerated in Cook County Jail, he spoke directly about his turbulent upbringing. The track ignited, racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube in less than two months and hitting the radar of Columbia Records, where he signed at the top of 2019. His debut album, Die a Legend, released in June, features the mocking-yet-menacing brilliance of “Pop Out” (with Bronx rapper Lil TJay), which has generated more than 100m views on YouTube, vaulting Polo G firmly into the spotlight and the unfortunate position of having to talk to us.

Your album cover is a collection of lost friends and family, a heartfelt tribute to people in your life who were part of your own story. Talk about the point of that album cover, and what those you lost would be saying now about all your incredible success.
The point was to pay my respects to my loved ones while also tying into the title, Die a Legend. The people pictured on that cover died legends. You don’t have to obtain fame and stardom to be a legend. To be a legend means being great at whatever you do—whether you’re a mother, a big brother or a community activist.

How has “Pop Out” exceeded your expectations?
I expected the record to do good, but I can’t honestly say I saw this coming. “Pop Out” was my first song to go Top 5-trending on YouTube, it was my first time getting like 150k views in 2 hours, it made the RapCaviar list and, most importantly, the Hot 100. It took me and the rest of the world by storm.

What would being nominated for a Grammy mean to you personally?
Being Grammy-nominated would mean the world to me. It’s one of those things that helps solidify you as one of the greats in the entertainment business. It’s also a personal goal of mine, not just to be Grammy-nominated but to one day actually win one. Winning a Grammy would be a testament of my hard work and passion for music.

You’ve kept it extremely real about the street violence in Chicago in your bars, about the drug use you struggled with. This album sounds like a way of dealing with that trauma and pain. You going that hard to teach others about that life, or to just express your own truth?
I actually aim to do both. Music is therapeutic for me; it’s like my journal that’s open to the public. I take whatever’s on my mind or however I’m feeling and put it in a song. I also like to speak for the unheard and explain to those who don’t understand the harsh realities of where I come from. I explain that this way of living can be very traumatic and leave a lifetime of adverse effects on you.

What is something a fan has said to you about your rapping that made you realize that your music is truly connecting on another level?
I can’t really pinpoint a specific comment or conversation from a fan, because I’m really connected with my fan base and engaging with them every day. I get a lot positive feedback that lets me know I’m fulfilling my purpose. I see things like “Your lyrics saved my life” or “My friend just passed away; this song helped me get through it.” Things like that ensure that I’m on the right track and I’m making a difference.

Explain how you relate to Nipsey Hussle’s community work and some of the plans you have for the North Side?
I admire his knowledge and the things he did in his community, like the store on Slauson. I plan on doing those types of things in my community to inspire the people where I’m from.

Did you watch the Grammys growing up? Any particular inspiring memory you want to share from watching the show?
I used to watch the Grammys with my family, and as crazy as it may seem, the thing that caught my eye was Beyoncé’s performance skills. The women in my family were big fans of hers. When it was time for her to hit the stage, everybody was glued to the screen. She was definitely good at keeping your attention as she gave great energy and worked the stage.



By Samantha Hissong

Not long ago, Lewis Capaldi was just an average guy, gigging in Scottish pubs, having a pint and a laugh. And then everything changed—except for the laughs; he’s still got a wicked sense of humor that he’s now known for. This year, his critically acclaimed debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, became the fastest-selling U.K. debut of 2019. And breakout single “Someone You Loved” spent a nearly unprecedented seven weeks at #1 in the U.K. With the help of Steve Barnett’s Capitol, the dynamic balladeer’s becoming a household name in the U.S. Ed Sheeran, who even gifted Capaldi a tracksuit as part of a running joke, recently brought him out as an opener. Capaldi’s formed a tight friendship with Niall Horan. And earlier this summer, he found himself lunching with Elton John, who’s referred to him as “the next British superstar.”

How does such a hilarious human write such heart-wrenching songs?
[Laughs] I don’t know. Just seething pain underneath all the time? Laughing through the pain? No, I always say no one is one way all the time. I’m very rarely a sad person and very rarely a serious person, so it’s good to have the music to do that. This is my outlet for that sort of stuff, and then I just stick to pube jokes and toilet humor. It’s honestly one of those things that I haven’t really thought about until recently. I just thought I was making some songs. So maybe, for album two, what I’ll do is go and make all happy songs.

Your life has changed drastically in a relatively short amount of time. How do you feel amid the whirlwind?
It’s fucking mental. You can’t take it too seriously, because it’s next-level crazy. The only way I can try and make sense of it is by having a laugh with it and taking it for what it is.

That’s a very nice thing to say; that I was “lunching with Elton.” We were having a conversation, and at one point, I was showing him music on an iPad, and he’d show me songs. And maybe every 10 minutes, I’d look up and think, “Holy fuck, I’m talking to Elton John.” There’d be this realization over and over again. Mental.

This August, you said you had some of the best nights of your life in Edinburgh with thousands of people belting back your lyrics two nights in a row. What was going through your head?
At the time, especially on the first night, I was thinking, “I really have to go to the bathroom; I really have to pee.” Actually, when I hit one of the higher notes—and I’m not afraid to tell you this, ’cause we’ve known each other quite some time now—I peed myself a little bit. I swear to God. Not like a full pee, but a little trickle for sure. I thought, “Oh, fuck.” I’m trying to stay hydrated, you see. It’s good for you, good for your skin. It’s not conducive to singing in front of thousands of people, though, because you will piss yourself.

But when people sing the songs, it’s crazy and bizarre. It’s a wall of love from people. When 6,000 people are singing your song, that’s the closest I’ve come to thinking I’ve made it. And I don’t even fully think that. In retrospect, when I watch the clips on my Instagram, it feels very weird to know that it’s me on stage—that it’s my song. It almost feels like the last two years have been happening to someone else, and I’m just watching. But it’s incredible.

What has been the most surreal moment thus far?
Noel Gallagher said I was shite and that my music was terrible. For me, that’s a moment. Like, “What the fuck?!” I was buzzing. I was so excited! Fuckin’ hell! Noel Gallagher thinks I’m shit! It’s hilarious. I say that to people and they kind of roll their eyes a bit, but, genuinely, I grew up obsessed with Oasis. He always slags people off, but this time, it was me.

Also, we did Glastonbury—shortly after that happened, actually—and walking out to that many people was amazing. My manager said that they reckon there were about 60,000 people watching my set, which is fucking mental. I never ever expected to get to a point where I was playing shows outside of Scotland—let alone Glastonbury, on the second-biggest stage there.

Did you ever expect this chart-topping, record-breaking success?
Uh, no. I didn’t have a fucking clue. And I never saw myself as someone who was big, even when I signed a record deal. I never saw myself as someone who’d have singles in the Top 40 or whatever.

I don’t think it’ll ever happen again my career; I’m not worried about that. It’s so fucking weird, but you get on with it. People ask if I knew “Someone You Loved” was going to be a hit when I wrote it, and I’m always shocked; I didn’t have a fucking clue. I don’t know what I’m doing—I’m guessing at all of this, and it’s been an interesting few years. It could’ve just as easily not gone my way. I was in the right place at the right time—I got lucky—so I’m just gonna go with it.

In the music world, Grammy consideration is perhaps the surrealest of the surreal. What do the Grammys mean to you? Did you watch them growing up?
Of course, I watched them. I feel like any music fan growing up watches the Grammys. It’s the music industry saying, “We hear you, we rate you and we think you’re good.” And for me, that’s a big part of it. It’s nice to know that people in the music industry think I could be around for a long time. It’s a seal of approval.