Archive for January 27, 2014

Photo Credit - Amanda Searle

Photo Credit – Amanda Searle

 Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure World Tour

Durham Performing Arts Center
May 21, 2014

“Sheer Comic Genius. He is the most brilliant stand-up comedian of his generation.” – The New York Times

“The funniest man in, well, pretty much all of the known universe” – The Los Angeles Times

“The greatest British standup comedian of his generation” – The London Sunday Times

“A national treasure” – The Guardian


Online at

DPAC Ticket Center: 919.680.2787, 123 Vivian Street, Durham, NC / Ticketmaster Charge by phone at 800.745.3000

Force Majeure is the most extensive comedy tour ever; launched in March of 2013, the tour will take Izzard to 25 countries on five continents. From Cardiff to Kathmandu and Moscow to Mumbai, Force Majeure will play throughout Europe, Africa, Russia, the U.K., Canada, the U.S., India, Nepal, The Far East and Australia. Izzard recently completed runs in France performing entirely in French and in Berlin performing entirely in German.

One of the most acclaimed comedians of his generation, Izzard’s unique, tangential, absurd, and surreal comic narratives are lauded for their creativity and wit, earning him a New York Drama Desk Award and two Emmys for Dress to Kill, two British Comedy Awards for Top Stand-Up Comedian, and an Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement.

In the U.S., Izzard is the first solo stand-up comedian to perform at the Hollywood Bowl, has sold-out three consecutive nights at Radio City Music Hall and toured arenas throughout the U.S. including a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden.

On TV, Izzard most recently guest starred in the series, Hannibal, on NBC.  He starred in and served as a producer on the critically acclaimed FX Network Show, The Riches, opposite Minnie Driver, guest starred in the final season of Showtime’s United States of Tara, and his 2010 documentary, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story, received an Emmy nomination.

His long list of film and stage credits includes Valkyrie opposite Tom Cruise, Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Thirteen and Ocean’s Twelve opposite George Clooney and Brad Pitt, David Mamet’s Race and The Cryptogram, the title role in Marlowe’s Edward II, and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg in London and on Broadway which won him a handful of awards, including a Tony nomination for Best Actor.






Images from Facebook


MAS – Your Proud2Pay program, and Crenshaw, have generated a ton of recognition for you as a business mind. I see interviews with you all over talking about your marketing strategies and business acumen. I’m not seeing a lot of people talking about your lyrical style or your album content. I know the old saying is “there is no such things as bad press”, but what do you think about all the attention being paid to your marketing strategy instead of your album content?

Nipsey Hussle – I think that people have already accepted that fact about Nipsey Hussle; that Nipsey is a great lyricist, that Nipsey is a true artist, and that he represents a real condition. You know what I’m saying? The condition of South-Central Los Angeles and the West Coast in general. I think that is a known fact. I think for them to see me take a stand as a businessman and innovate in the category of marketing and release strategy that was new information about Nipsey Hussle. I think that was something that was a new discovery. I think that is why you saw a lot of attention being paid to the campaign Proud2Pay, Fuck the Middle Man, $100 Mix Tape. The direction we chose to go in with our stance in the game as an owner, I think that was all new information. I think artists, like myself, who have been around 3, 4 or 5 years, that’s what people look for in your conversations. When they get a new convo from you, they look for the new information; they look for the new discovery. I think that was what was new about Crenshaw and just that moment in time. You  know?

But I felt that also, I told my team, the marketing plan was the single for this album. The tape’s strategy was the single because that was what was the most important to us. At my show, that’s where I get the feedback for my lyrics, my energy and my message; my concerts, that’s where I really check and see. The people can say whatever they want in the magazines and in the interviews. When people come out, pay money, stand in line, scream your lyrics at the top of their breath, sweat, you know what I’m saying, and get hysterical. To me, that’s the most honest form of feedback.

MAS – Right now you are still working as an independent; I know the typical path to success is to get hooked up with a major label or group like Shady, Cash Money or something like them. Are there any specific groups out there that you think you would be a good fit? I know that you tried to get something going with Rick Ross and MMG that go derailed, but are there any others that get you thinking?

Nipsey Hussle – The Rick Ross and MMG thing didn’t get derailed; it was just conversations, getting to know each other. Respecting what we are doing and seeing if there was a situation that makes sense businesswise. That is still an ally of mine and a friend and a homeboy I look to for life and advice.  Just a real individual outside of music, you know the capacity of what he can do within music. As far as just focused, passionate talented dudes, I draw them type of people.

To answer the question, you know, I think that my goal is to exist in the game the way that the people that we grew up looking up to existed in the game. Master P exists as an owner. Brian Williams and Slim Williams, you know the Williams Brothers, they exist as owners. You know what I’m saying? Jay-Z, Puffy, they all exist as owners. You know, their careers had ups and downs but I think the thing that really distinguished them from the rest of the pack is that they fought for ownership and they fought for excellence. And so, I am just doing what I was raised looking up to. I always looked up to those individuals because they fought for that and they were different than the way the industry owned artists and creators. They exceeded that, and they also were successful as artists but they reaped the benefits as owners. I’m just trying to take my craft to the next level, be as big as I can be but remain in control of the ownership and the equity, to some degree.

MAS – You got a good role model in Bryan Williams, The Birdman. If you can live up to that role-model…

Nipsey Hussle – Yeah, it’s not just Bird though; he’s one of the dudes I respect. I respect TIP. I respect and even Ludacris. They came in and got a joint venture for DTP. I’m looking at it from the perspective of a shrewd businessman. This is a billion-dollar industry you know? I don’t think we just walk through it as just happy-go-lucky artists. I think we should be concerned about where income is generated and what our true assets are.

MAS – You said it yourself, you have been in the game for some time now. You have seen some good things and some bad things. I know you’ve had your troubles with labels, just like everybody else has. With your overall, different level of business acumen, what do you think is the number 1 problem facing artists, like yourself, from being able to take that next step? If you could change something in the game, what would it be?

Nipsey Hussle – I think that I would try to integrate the systems a little bit more. I think that is one of the main things that plague major labels and big operations. Systems become separated; marketing doesn’t speak to A&R, A&R doesn’t speak to executives, executives don’t speak to business affairs, business affairs don’t speak to radio. And not necessarily only speak, but work hand in hand and mobilize everybody under the same philosophy.

That’s the advantage that small companies have; the photographer, the designer, the head of design, the brand manager, the videographer, the tour manager, the engineer, the executive branch down to the legal, everybody is 100% on the same philosophy and business understanding. This is the goal, this is what we are doing, and it’s more focused and singular. It helps everybody, artists, and the actual companies. It takes the actual process to the next level. We go off of processes of creating albums on a mainstream level. You know just evolve that process a little bit.

MAS – On the east coast, North Carolina specifically, people know Nipsey Hussle. They know you based off of some of the work you’ve done. I want to give them a little background about you. I want them to learn who you are.

The name you have chosen to perform under, Nipsey Hussle, is obviously a play on the name of the late comedian, poet and entertainer Nipsey Russell. A lot of guys in Hip Hop draw from elements of society that have a lot of negativity. We mentioned Rick Ross earlier, his namesake Ricky Ross is not known as the best guy in society. What made you decide to link yourself to someone like Nipsey Russell?

Nipsey Hussle – Originally, I just liked how it sounded. I wasn’t even educated on Nipsey Russell. It was something that one of my homeboys threw at me being playful and I liked how it sounded. I invited the Hussle part naturally, with how I grew up. The Nipsey part, come to find out, it was just a play-off of Nipsey Russell. I did do my research on him and see that he is just a lovable person; a comedian, a poet, an actor, someone that was respected. People loved to hear him; he was a fun person, somebody that did stand-up and TV shows and was just a character of love.

Originally what drew me to the name was; it rang, it sounded good. I’m a person that, I trust my instincts. When I hear something or see something I like, I don’t question it I just roll with it a lot of times. That was one of the instances of me expressing that part of my personality. I just liked how it sounded and I stuck with it.

MAS – To talk about your style and upcoming album, when you were just getting into the game, who did you look to as a guide for how you wanted to perform? Who did you draw from stylistically to help create your personal lyrical style?

Nipsey Hussle – I grew up in the 90s, I was born in 85, so I grew up in the 90s. So, you know, a cumulative collection of hip hop is where I derive my style from, everything dope. Up until 2006-07, when I ended up coming into the game. Once I got in the game, I stopped drawing and I stopped letting other artists influence me. I was at a level where I had to influence and I had to lead.

Just a collective of hip hop; everything from Snoop, Slick Rick, Jay, and even the new stuff. The dudes that came out with me I was influenced by their style. It was dope to see their take on what we grew up on. I’m sure I influenced a lot of them myself, you know. It’s just the collective of hip hop.

Urban creativity is what I was inspired by. People that came from places similar to where I came from that were also creative and successful at being creative. I looked at their story; I looked at the type of music perspective that they offered. I decided I want to evolve that, you know. I wanted to add to the conversation of urban creativity.

MAS – Of your mixtapes/albums, I have listened to Crenshaw and I am working on The Marathon and The Marathon Continues. From what I have heard so far, your lyrics carry a tone positivity and being lifted out of struggles or problems. Normally when we think of artists that have, or claim, any affiliations their lyrics are attached to drugs and violence exclusively. What has led you to go a different way with your lyrics while still being devoted to, and repping, the 60’s?

Nipsey Hussle – I think it is just refreshing to me bro.  I think that one thing I learned about music; “the closer to an artist you are, the better the music comes off.” Recognizing that makes artists probe themselves and really focus on who they are, try to get to the core of what makes them who they are. Once I went down that path I started to see that I’m a believer, I have faith, I believe. I’m a motivator. I’m a person that, I don’t accept, “you can’t”. I don’t believe that. I think that there is a difference between everything; the people that believe they can and people that believe they can’t. I think, if I can offer anything to the world, it would be that understanding. There is nothing that you can’t do; it is all about what you can convince yourself to believe in.

As humans we have a lot of power that we don’t necessarily tap into or that we are not necessarily conscious of or aware of. Or, that we sometimes use our power in a negative direction, in a negative way we create unflattering circumstances in our life. But, it’s just easier to expend energy to create positive circumstances. I believe that in my core and I live by that. So, through my music, if you were to go into the core of what my message is, it would be a law of attraction or mind over matter. Faith in your thoughts, that’s what I am really trying to get across.

I came from Crenshaw and Slauson, I came from 60th street. I grew up in the environment and in the culture of gangbanging. So, naturally, my conversation is going to start there. When it came time to really present myself, and present the person and the spirit that’s at the core of this person in this flesh. That’s what it is and that’s what I would like my message to represent; positivity, evolution, and forward progress.

MAS – I know calling out people by name can be more trouble than it is worth, so I’m not going to do it and I’m not asking you to do any of that either. But when you are described, you are often portrayed as a return to the glory days of rap. Back to when lyrics had edge and meant something. What do you think has happened to Hip-Hop and Rap? How did we get to this point where the guys getting air play are so slack and not really putting in the effort they should. They don’t have the talent or skill? How did we get to this point?

Nipsey Hussle – If you look at the history of Hip Hop, it goes in cycles just like everything else. We just came out of a real serious era before our generation came of age and became physical, before the Nipsey Hussles started popping up and the other artists from our generation that came around when I came in. You had seriousness; it was 50 Cent, it was G-Unit, it was Game, there was Street, everything, it was Young Buck. I think that, out of that, the people kind of got that story. They were like, “alright, we get that.”

Not to say that, if somebody from these environments or that lifestyle contributes something true to Hip Hop that it’s not going to connect. I still believe that’s not. I just think overall, collectively, the cultural message is about love, there are messages about free-spirited carelessness, and there are messages about partying. These are all things that happened in real-life.

For someone that is in lover lyrics or serious content, that might not be your cup of tea. But at the same time there is a level of, it’s necessary, to a degree. And also, it’s a form of evolution. It takes us out of the era that we were just in the thick of and brings us somewhere else.

I always think that being a street artist, and an artist that comes from the streets, the condition that we speak to never changes bro. It’s our place, it’s always a struggle, and it’s always the ambition to do better in the streets.  Street artists are going to be good at all times, but I think that the production might have changed a little bit. The angles artists take change a little but because of the wave of new age “emo rappers” or pop style stuff that’s working. It just changed the way street artists do what they are doing a little bit. It may influence the street artist to get with a different producer or be a little more melodic or come with a different cadence with their flow. As long as people are telling their truth and being honest about their experience, there is no one type of rap that is better than the other. It’s just cups of tea.

Me personally, I’m going to listen to the motivation music. I’m going to listen to the Jada, Jeezy. I’m going to listen to the… When you hop in your Benz and your leather smelling brand new, the song you want to hear when you do that. I want to listen to the songs that motivate you to reach for more and do better, that is “my cup of tea.” I can’t knock the party rappers; I can’t knock people that’s putting records in the club every week and talking about doing drugs and partying. As long as that is what their lifestyle is, and they are true to that, it’s all taste, it is all “eye of the beholder” type stuff.

MAS – In the coming weeks and months you are going to be releasing your next album Victory Lap, who all can we expect to hear featured on the album, producers and such?

Nipsey Hussle – As of now, we are so much in a record mode I don’t want to start leaking too much info yet. I want the story to be hot when the album date gets set. This is my full focus, is Victory Lap. It’s a lot of people that I have been working with; it’s a couple of people that I haven’t worked with before that came in on the project, producer wise.

Coming Soon: Movies In Theatres This Week

Posted: January 27, 2014 by MichaelSmithNC in All, Movies, Trailers
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That Awkward Moment

Labor Day