By Tamara Jenkins
D-Nice and DJ Jazzy Jeff spinning amid three floors of food, games and a plentiful supply of Heineken all awaited those lucky enough to snag a ticket to the exclusive, invitation only Heineken Inspire event held June 26 in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood.
The two day event featured souvenir silk screened t-shirts, customized Rolling Stone Magazinecover photos, Wii games, movies, Heineken tasting areas and performances (on June 26) by rapper J. Cole and R&B crooner Ryan Leslie.
The day’s first performance was by J. Cole. Cole, the first artist signed to rap mogul Jay Z’s new label, Roc Nation, held his own on the stage, performing with ease amid the humidity; his impressive mic skills kept fans cool during “Lights Please” and “Who Dat” while Leslie gave a soulful performance, backed by a band, he performed a few songs including hits “Diamond Girl” and “Addiction”.
In between performances, brief interviews were granted and UnRated Urban got a chance to speak with DJ Jazzy Jeff and Ryan Leslie.
How did you get involved with Heineken Inspire?
I’ve done some events with Heineken in the past and they asked me to do a few (cities); I’m doing Chicago, Philly and Los Angeles. Whenever I work with them, the vibe is always great.
Do you have any upcoming projects, anything you’re working on right now?
Right now, I’m just in the process of doing a lot of touring, I usually do that into the Fall and then I kinda take a break and go in the studio and figure out musically what I’m going to do next. I’m just going to keep rolling until September, October, then take about a month off, and do some brain time.
Who are some of the artists that you like right now?
I’m weird because I like all kinds of stuff. I would definitely say someone like Drake, I love the Roots, love the Roots new album, Esperanza Spalding, I’m all over the place, I really like J. Cole, it’s funny that he’s here. It’s a refreshing time in music with guys like Drake and J. Cole and the Roots it’s not just the typical things you would (be) use to hearing on the radio; people are starting to stretch like they did in the 70s and 80s.
What have you been working on? Can you talk about some of your upcoming projects?
(on the) Production side, I just worked with Ne Yo. (I have a) record with Game featuring Lil Wayne and Bird Man, worked with Keri Hilson, two records with Asher Roth and my forth coming album called Les Is Moore will be out in the Fall.
What do you think about artists today, like, Lady Gaga or Drake?
I just love artists who aren’t afraid to be expressive and really utilize all of their resources and relationships to make and convey the most powerful messages that they possibly can so as long as artists are doing that, then I respect them.
Anyone new you really like right now. Someone people may not know about (yet to be discovered talent)?
A kid named Miguel that just opened for me in New York City and (he) has a record with J. Cole; he’s a talented writer and he’s on J Records.
Photos courtesy of Heineken USA
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