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Ace Hood Keeps Motivating With ‘Hustle Hard’

Remix for Blood, Sweat & Tears cut features Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. By Alvin Blanco, with reporting by Rahman Dukes Ace Hood Photo: MTV News Ace Hood might have a DJ Khaled co-sign and a Def Jam recording contract but the only way to keep your spot in the rap business is by making hits. The Miami rapper’s latest club and street heater is “Hustle Hard,” the lead single from his upcoming third album, Blood, Sweat & Tears . “The concept behind this record is: Just whatever you may do or whatever you do in life, what you choose to do, really go hard at it,” Ace told MTV News. “I felt like I was in a circumstance at that point in time in my life where I felt like it’s either this or that. OK, what are you going to do when your back [is] against the wall? I felt like [the] only thing I could do is hustle hard. Soon as I laid it down … it came out crazy.” The “Hustle Hard” remix features Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. Rappers including Maino, Young Jeezy and Joell Ortiz have created their own versions of the song, using its relentless, Lex Luger-produced beat. But according to Ace, it was a leaked version of the song that included a Rick Ross verse that prompted the quicker release of its official remix. “The remix always [included] Rick Ross and Wayne,” Ace explained. “But I had it in the can. My hook and Ross’ verse, that’s the only thing that leaked. So being that that version leaked, I was like, ‘Ya know what? I might as well put the Wayne part since Ross is a part of the remix.’ Why not? I had to give it to them early. It ended up being huge.” Ace Hood, who is signed to Def Jam via DJ Khaled’s We the Best imprint, retreated from the spotlight after releasing his sophomore album, Ruthless , in 2009. The rapper wanted to figure out his direction as an artist and felt compelled to assert that he wasn’t getting over simply because he was Khaled’s artist. “I was just really trying to find my niche,” he said. “What’s really going to make the people accept Ace Hood? I’ve always created good music, the hit records. People know me from … being a part of ‘Out Here Grindin’.’ I always created that motivational music: the ‘Overtime’s, the ‘Champion’s. For that time being, I was really in the dungeon.” Now back on the grind, videos for both official versions of “Hustle Hard” have been created. Ace potentially has the hit record that he hopes proves he belongs with rap’s top-shelf artists. “I just wanted to show people that I was able to do this on my own and that I am capable of creating records of this caliber,” Ace said. “I was just happy to see the reaction from the people that, ya know what, the same format and the same mind frame I was in when I created this ‘Hustle Hard’ record, people are in that same state of mind and they understand the struggle that I been through within the rap game.” Does Ace Hood’s music motivate you? Sound off below! Related Artists Ace Hood

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Ace Hood Keeps Motivating With ‘Hustle Hard’

Lil Wayne’s Energy Is ‘Always Up,’ Cory Gunz Says

‘Regardless if you’re writing a verse for somebody else’s album, write it like it’s for yours,’ MC tells MTV News of what he’s learned from Weezy. By Jayson Rodriguez, with reporting by Sway Calloway Cory Gunz and Lil Wayne on the set of “6 Foot 7 Foot” Photo: Rahman Dukes/MTV News Long before Charlie Sheen proclaimed he only had one gear (“Go!”), Lil Wayne proved to be a high-octane performer. From his legendary mixtape run that saw the Cash Money rapper release a yacht-load of free material to his song-stealing cameo on DJ Khaled’s posse cut “We Takin’ Over,” Weezy is powered like an Energizer. It’s a lesson that isn’t lost on his latest prot

Jagged Edge Reflect On Their Favorite Songs

Quartet tell Mixtape Daily which of their tracks mean the most to them. By Jayson Rodriguez Jagged Edge Photo: MTV News Celebrity Favorites: Jagged Edge The four-man collective Jagged Edge are readying their next album, The Remedy, due later this month and featuring the standout cuts “Baby” and “Lay You Down.” It’s the veteran group’s seventh album, following the release of projects like J.E. Heartbreak and Jagged Little Thrill. And while J.E. are focused on the future — The Remedy is their second album released through their 581 Music imprint and first recorded under contract with Slip-N-Slide Records — here, they take a look back at their catalog and talk about some of their favorite tracks. Kyle Norman : “One of my favorite songs would be ‘Let’s Get Married.’ And it’s really written, of course, if you have any heart and soul you want to get married one day. And I heard it’s like one of the number-one wedding songs of all time, behind ‘Ribbon in the Sky.’ So for us to have a song like that being mentioned among the other great wedding songs, that means a lot. We were 19, 20 making that.” Brian Casey : “For me, I’d have to say it was our very first hit record, ‘Gotta Be.’ All of the above, it touched me at certain times in my life and what it has meant to my life. It was our first legitimate hit record. Your first hit record is so jarring, ’cause you go from nothing to something like that. And that song represents a lot for me.” Brandon Casey : “We all come from two-parent households, and we know we’re the rarity; most of our friends don’t. So, for me, it’s a song called ‘Nothing Without You.’ My dad always wrote poetry, and as much credit as my mom gets for our voice, because she sings, my dad doesn’t get much credit for our writing ability and, at least, our attempt to be poetic. So that song, my brother made mention to my dad, and every time I hear it, it just make me think of my dad.” Wingo : “The song ‘Respect’ came about because I had a friend, she was going through something crazy with one of her ex-boyfriends. He used to put his hands on her. She came by the studio, and the guys saw her one day after an episode. And we was like, ‘Let’s do a song about respect, guys keeping his hands off a woman.’ Women are God’s gift to man, it’s like dropping diamonds on the ground; you supposed to take care of them. It’s one of my favorite songs.” For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines .

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Jagged Edge Reflect On Their Favorite Songs

Jagged Edge Reflect On Their Favorite Songs

Quartet tell Mixtape Daily which of their tracks mean the most to them. By Jayson Rodriguez Jagged Edge Photo: MTV News Celebrity Favorites: Jagged Edge The four-man collective Jagged Edge are readying their next album, The Remedy, due later this month and featuring the standout cuts “Baby” and “Lay You Down.” It’s the veteran group’s seventh album, following the release of projects like J.E. Heartbreak and Jagged Little Thrill. And while J.E. are focused on the future — The Remedy is their second album released through their 581 Music imprint and first recorded under contract with Slip-N-Slide Records — here, they take a look back at their catalog and talk about some of their favorite tracks. Kyle Norman : “One of my favorite songs would be ‘Let’s Get Married.’ And it’s really written, of course, if you have any heart and soul you want to get married one day. And I heard it’s like one of the number-one wedding songs of all time, behind ‘Ribbon in the Sky.’ So for us to have a song like that being mentioned among the other great wedding songs, that means a lot. We were 19, 20 making that.” Brian Casey : “For me, I’d have to say it was our very first hit record, ‘Gotta Be.’ All of the above, it touched me at certain times in my life and what it has meant to my life. It was our first legitimate hit record. Your first hit record is so jarring, ’cause you go from nothing to something like that. And that song represents a lot for me.” Brandon Casey : “We all come from two-parent households, and we know we’re the rarity; most of our friends don’t. So, for me, it’s a song called ‘Nothing Without You.’ My dad always wrote poetry, and as much credit as my mom gets for our voice, because she sings, my dad doesn’t get much credit for our writing ability and, at least, our attempt to be poetic. So that song, my brother made mention to my dad, and every time I hear it, it just make me think of my dad.” Wingo : “The song ‘Respect’ came about because I had a friend, she was going through something crazy with one of her ex-boyfriends. He used to put his hands on her. She came by the studio, and the guys saw her one day after an episode. And we was like, ‘Let’s do a song about respect, guys keeping his hands off a woman.’ Women are God’s gift to man, it’s like dropping diamonds on the ground; you supposed to take care of them. It’s one of my favorite songs.” For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines .

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Jagged Edge Reflect On Their Favorite Songs

Snoop Explains Why ‘Dogg’-Lovers Span Generations

‘I don’t think of it as reinventing myself, ’cause it’s all within me,’ the ‘Wet’ rapper tells MTV News. By Jayson Rodriguez, with reporting by Rahman Dukes Snoop Dogg Photo: MTV News Snoop Dogg has continued to reinvent himself throughout his career, from a fresh-faced spitter to his current role as a hip-hop elder statesman. And he’s clearly embracing his position. It’s evident in how he’s reached across the generational aisle to befriend upstart Wiz Khalifa . Snoop’s current single, “Wet,” is a transformation, of sorts, for the Southern California rapper — it sounds more like an offering from Usher than Tha Doggfather — but he said the many “faces” of Snoop allow him to establish roots in more than one home. “I don’t really think of it as reinventing myself, ’cause it’s all within me,” Snoop told MTV News. “It’s all who I am. It’s more or less, faces of Snoop Dogg or characters of Snoop Dogg that’s in this one spirit. But at the same time, he’s able to embellish different parts of the character to create this look, that style, that sound. But it’s all the same. Because when I do it all at once, when I do a concept that has all the songs, I don’t have enough time to change and act like this; it’s still me.” As his career has progressed, Snoop said he’s noticed the effect songs that span his catalog have on audiences. “Gin and Juice,” he said, strikes his older fans how an Al Green song gets to him, while the younger set appreciates a song like “Drop It Like It’s Hot” much more. “I have different songs for different generations and different genres,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me that I’m growing old, that the fans are growing old and my music is growing old, ’cause that’s the whole purpose of doing it, is to grow old and let your music be here when you’re gone.” What’s your favorite Snoop Dogg track? Tell us in the comments! Related Videos MTV News Extended Play: Snoop Dogg

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Snoop Explains Why ‘Dogg’-Lovers Span Generations

Snoop Explains Why ‘Dogg’-Lovers Span Generations

‘I don’t think of it as reinventing myself, ’cause it’s all within me,’ the ‘Wet’ rapper tells MTV News. By Jayson Rodriguez, with reporting by Rahman Dukes Snoop Dogg Photo: MTV News Snoop Dogg has continued to reinvent himself throughout his career, from a fresh-faced spitter to his current role as a hip-hop elder statesman. And he’s clearly embracing his position. It’s evident in how he’s reached across the generational aisle to befriend upstart Wiz Khalifa . Snoop’s current single, “Wet,” is a transformation, of sorts, for the Southern California rapper — it sounds more like an offering from Usher than Tha Doggfather — but he said the many “faces” of Snoop allow him to establish roots in more than one home. “I don’t really think of it as reinventing myself, ’cause it’s all within me,” Snoop told MTV News. “It’s all who I am. It’s more or less, faces of Snoop Dogg or characters of Snoop Dogg that’s in this one spirit. But at the same time, he’s able to embellish different parts of the character to create this look, that style, that sound. But it’s all the same. Because when I do it all at once, when I do a concept that has all the songs, I don’t have enough time to change and act like this; it’s still me.” As his career has progressed, Snoop said he’s noticed the effect songs that span his catalog have on audiences. “Gin and Juice,” he said, strikes his older fans how an Al Green song gets to him, while the younger set appreciates a song like “Drop It Like It’s Hot” much more. “I have different songs for different generations and different genres,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me that I’m growing old, that the fans are growing old and my music is growing old, ’cause that’s the whole purpose of doing it, is to grow old and let your music be here when you’re gone.” What’s your favorite Snoop Dogg track? Tell us in the comments! Related Videos MTV News Extended Play: Snoop Dogg

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Snoop Dogg And R. Kelly Strive For ‘Greatness’ On ‘Platinum’

‘Me and Kells understand who we are and what we do to make each other better,’ Snoop tells MTV News. By D.L. Chandler, with reporting by Rahman Dukes Snoop Dogg Photo: MTV News West Coast icon Snoop Dogg and Chicago R&B veteran R. Kelly teamed up with production whiz kid Lex Luger for the booming track “Platinum.” Snoop sat down with MTV News to talk about the track, which will be featured on his 11th studio album, Doggumentary. saying his and R. Kelly’s approach to music is what made their partnership a natural and familiar fit. “I think me and Kells understand who we are and what we do to make each other better,” Snoop said. “He has a deep love for music, and sometimes he goes over the head of the people that’s listening just like myself, because we’re too in-depth with music. We don’t just listen to our genre. We find ourselves enjoying all walks of music.” In his 20-year career, Snoop somehow possesses the hunger of a hip-hop up-and-comer. He explained the reason behind that drive and how R. Kelly helped him on this latest journey. “We wanna be great. We don’t wanna make cool records. Because any time I hear R. Kelly, he’s great,” the cool Californian said. “Whenever he hears Snoop Dogg, I’m great. So why not come together and make some greatness?” The song, however, almost didn’t make the final cut, as Snoop had finished up recording the album. Snoop’s friend previewed the Lex Luger track for the rapper, which impressed him enough to jot down a few bars. After sending his sketch to Kelly, the crooner replied with his own rough demo, leading the pair to finally complete the record. What do you think about the combo of Snoop and Kells? Let us know in the comments! Related Artists R. Kelly Snoop Dogg

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Snoop Dogg And R. Kelly Strive For ‘Greatness’ On ‘Platinum’

Steven Tyler Talks ‘Long Road’ To ‘American Idol’ Top 24

‘Idol’ judge tells MTV News ‘it’s heartbreaking’ to let go of hopefuls with loads of ‘character’ but OK voices. By Kara Warner, with reporting by Rahman Dukes Steven Tyler Photo: MTV News Those who’ve been following the revamped 10th season of ratings juggernaut “American Idol” know that the addition of new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have spiced things up a bit. Particularly in the case of Tyler, who has peppered each episode with his colorful musings, mugging for the cameras, and interactions with contestants and fellow judges. When MTV News spoke to the Aerosmith frontman during NBA All-Star weekend, we asked how he’s doing, now that they’ve narrowed the thousands of “Idol” hopefuls down to a competitive 50. “It was a long road whittling it down from 700 [contestants] to 400, then Hollywood Week and then, aw man … letting them go,” Tyler said, adding that it’s particularly difficult to let go of the ones who are OK singers, but potentially great performers. “You know what? Not everybody that’s great sings good. They’ve got character, that certain something you can’t put your finger on,” he explained. “And man, when they sing, look out. A lot of these kids have got it, but we have to let them go and it’s heartbreaking.” Tyler went on to say that his road to success in the music industry was paved with a few more hard knocks than the “Idol” contestants have to endure. “I didn’t watch ‘Idol’ because I grew up from, you had to play clubs. If you don’t play in front of the people and get your hard knocks from that and get booed, [you don't learn] how to stand up when you fall back down,” he said before likening himself and judges Lopez and Randy Jackson as the “American Idol” school of hard knocks. “[When] they’re in front of us,” he said of the contestants. “We’re the club.” Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page , where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

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Steven Tyler Talks ‘Long Road’ To ‘American Idol’ Top 24

Nas Reveals He Considered Giving Up Solo Projects

MC tells MTV News he got deep into Distant Relatives collabo, ‘but it’s that time’ for a Nas album. By Jayson Rodriguez, with reporting by Rahman Dukes Nas Photo: MTV News He went from Nasty Nas to Nas Escobar, blossoming into a mature voice that could collaborate with the likes of dancehall star Damian Marley for a full-length album. But As Nas’ street-edged material has continued to leak online, the question is which Nas will show up on his next effort, due later this year: Nasty or an entirely new persona? Neither, according to the Queensbridge MC. “Sometimes, you can approach a record and can think, I got to take care of this person and I got to take care of that person, but you really got to take care of you,” Nas recently told MTV News. “I look at Michael Jackson, and before he passed away, I can only imagine the pressure he had to live up to for the next moonwalk,” he continued. “And the reality is physically, he wasn’t able to live up to that. I would have loved to see him come up with the next level, without even dancing, just using his creativity. It’s all about evolving and that’s what I want to do, evolve.” Nas spent last year touring in support of Distant Relatives, his joint project with Marley. The rapper said he was so comfortable working alongside Bob Marley’s offspring that he momentarily considered putting his solo career on the back burner. “I been so caught up into me and [Damian's] thing that I started to get used to it,” Nas recalled. “Like, I didn’t want to do the solo thing for a while. Me and D have just been doing our thing, reaching millions of people, but it’s that time.” For his next album, Nas said he expects to bundle the material with the latest volume of his Lost Tapes series . He still isn’t sure, however, whether his current label will release the album. “It’s not safe to say that it’s gonna be on Def Jam,” he told MTV News. “You know, news at 11,” he laughed. “We coming with the information on that soon.” Are you looking to the next Nas album? Tell us in the comments! Related Artists Nas

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Nas Serves Christmas Dinner To Families Affected By HIV/AIDS

‘The community is in me so giving back is important,’ MC says of helping out during the holidays. By Mawuse Ziegbe, with reporting by Rahman Dukes Nas Photo: MTV News Nas is in the giving spirit for the holidays. The renowned Queens lyricist headed to Harlem on Wednesday (December 22) to serve Christmas dinner to families affected by HIV/AIDS as part of an event run by music industry professional turned activist Maria Davis. And the Illmatic MC was more than willing to lend a hand, and his celebrity, to help the cause. “This event is Maria Davis’ thing. She’s HIV-positive, a part of the community of Harlem, so she does her thing for [the] holiday season for the people who are infected by AIDS or affected by AIDS,” he explained to MTV News. “I came through [on the] strength of her friend Melba, who owns Melba’s Restaurant — great soul food on 114th street here in Harlem. She called me [and] I came through just for the support.” Esco maintained that despite his status as an influential hip-hop lyricist and hitmaker, showing support to those who are less fortunate continues to remain a top priority. “For me, it’s like I can’t get away from the community. The community is in me so giving back is important,” he said. Nas also added that helping others doesn’t have to include logging hours at charity events, but said people can inspire by being successful game-changers in their own right. “I think when you give back, you just do your thing. You come from a neighborhood like I came from and you just do your thing, that’s all you gotta do [to inspire],” he said. ” ‘Cause every kid that sees you doing your thing, you can’t even imagine what you’re doing for that kid or that grown up. They see you doing your thing, that’s inspiration. There’s kids that went to school with me who are grown men now. There’s dudes that’s been listening to my music for a long time and the more they see me continue, that’s enough. That’s all they need to say ‘Yo, I could do it.’ ” The Distant Relatives MC admitted that he has plenty to learn when it comes to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and noted that social stigma surrounding the disease has often stymied the public’s informed awareness of the issue. “The thing about AIDS is you start to raise your eyebrow at how it affects certain communities. [The] homosexual community [and] African-American community was really the first [to report cases of HIV infection], right, so, kinda, those two communities got blamed for it — even almost like they invented it. That’s not the truth. So it’s affected everybody now, every community. It makes you want to learn about it,” he said. “When Eazy-E caught it … and my man Magic Johnson, it touched us. But then we waiting, like, to see what’s next [and] that’s not cool. So my whole thing is to learn more about it.” What do you think about Nas’ comments about HIV/AIDS? Let us know in the comments! Related Artists Nas

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Nas Serves Christmas Dinner To Families Affected By HIV/AIDS