- Date: April 21, 2017
Venue: Banita Creek HallAddress:401 west mainNacogdoches, TX 75961
When he takes the stage to perform, Chase Rice pulls no punches. “You’re gonna be mine and I’m gonna be yours for an hour and a half. We’re gonna be in each other’s face. If you don’t like that, walk out the door.” It’s his M.O: take it or leave it. Yes, the budding country star means business when he performs. And the crowds that dutifully yell every damn word back his way? They don’t seem to mind one bit. “I’m looking for people who are looking to have the best night of their entire life,” Rice says of his raucous, get-down-or-get-out live ragers. “If you aren’t here to party, I’m gonna make you party!”
Truthful, unfiltered, unafraid to take every risk he encounters, Chase Rice is that rare artist who means what he says and backs it up with equal measure. “I’m going to speak the truth any way I can,” says the singer-songwriter, who, without a song on mainstream radio, saw last fall’s Ready Set Roll EP top the iTunes Country charts and when its titular single hit the radio waves, he watched it climb up the Billboard charts and hit Gold before it even entered the Top 20. Don’t tell this man it’s good enough, however. “Whatever it is. I’ve always been of the mindset of ‘Let’s move on to the next one,’” says the 27-year-old, hell-bent and firm in his resolve. “I’ve always been the guy to say ‘I promise you that’s not going to be my biggest accomplishment in music.’”
As if on cue, Rice, who co-wrote the Hot 100-busting Florida Georgia Line single “Cruise,” is rearing back for more with his new full-length, major-label LP Ignite The Night. It’s a genre-busting bruiser of an album that tackles tube tops and tears in equal measure, out via Columbia Nashville and his own Dack Janiel’s label. Rice laughs. “I wanted to push this album to a whole other level,” he says, and with wickedly racy songs like “Ride” buttressed up against sentimental, reflective charmers like “Carolina Can,” Rice is backing up his claim.
It’s a sonic free-for-all, Ignite The Night: see the electronic-drenched “Ready Set Roll;” or the big-buck arena-rock bombast “50 Shades of Crazy;” even the swampy-blues- meets-hip-hop banger “Do It Like This.”
“The sales and crowd singing back to me show that I am doing something right,” Rice offers. “And I can just keep giving the cold-shoulder to popular opinion.”
“Honestly, from day one I wasn’t going to let anybody tell me this wasn’t gonna work,” Rice says continuing, recounting several years spent pounding the pavement, slowly elevating his shows from small-club gigs on the back of his 2012 album, Dirt Road Communion, to opening slots on an arena tour with Dierks Bentley. “I don’t care if people call me ‘bro-country’ or they call me hip-hop or rock. All I care about is if I walk onstage and people are screaming every word back to me.”
Along the way, as he says, Rice transformed himself from “underground” to “that star, or whatever you want to call it.” Clearly, fame, and all its superfluous trappings, as far as Rice is concerned, means little to him. It’s all about hitting the stage, delivering the goods and heading on his way. “I’ll never consider myself famous, but that’s what people are saying, so whatever,” he says, chuckling. “We’ve gone from that underground artist to ‘Oh, that’s Chase Rice, that guy who’s on the radio.’ And once you get on the radio you better hold on tight!”
Rice’s live show is an adrenaline shot of energy, conservative standards be damned. He takes cues, in this regard, from his idols like Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney and, before them, the Highway Outlaws: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.
“They didn’t call themselves that,” he says of the Outlaws. “They were that because they basically gave the finger to everyone telling them how to do it. Garth, the same thing: he wanted his live show to be like Kiss.”
Quite simply, don’t expect this Florida-born, North Carolina-raised, football-playing, music-loving firestarter to go all Hollywood “I’m going to try to cling as tight as I can to the other side of it – the non-fame, the underground,” he explains. “Because as soon as you start thinking of yourself as famous or a big deal, there’s probably a mountain you’re about to fall down real quick. No matter how big fame gets, I’ve got friends to kick my ass if I start getting out of line.”
Rice, who following a football scholarship at University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, and a stint working on a NASCAR pit crew, decamped to Nashville and began writing with the members of Florida Georgia Line, always had a knack when growing up for recognizing what makes a quality song. But it was journaling in high school, a practice he’s maintained even as his touring life got crazy and hectic, that helped him evolve into an artist with whom Nashville’s most elite song crafters are eager to break bread. “I’ve got literally eight stacks of my life in these books,” he says of his ever-mounting journals. “And it’s just my life. I’ve tried to do it every day. That started the process of my mind working. It’s allowed me to let my mind go. I can let the good out, let the bad out, write it down.”
The success of “Cruise” didn’t hurt his reputation as a stellar songwriter. And while he’s quick to acknowledge an immense pride for being a part of the hit single – “Hell yeah, I’m pumped about ‘Cruise!’ It’s one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me” – with Ignite The Night in his back pocket, Rice is confident we haven’t seen anything yet. “I’ve always been of the mindset – it’s from football – if you win a game against Miami, you’ve got to go play Virginia Tech next week. Let’s write something better. Let’s write something more meaningful.”
And so Rice continues to hit the studio, take the stage each night, view each day as an opportunity to make his mark. “I’m happy with how it’s going,” he says modestly of a career about to blow. “I’m very happy with doing my club shows right now. I mean, George Strait didn’t get to number one in a year.”
“Head down, eyes up,” says Rice of what lies ahead. “Keep on going.”
Like its predecessor, Tha Carter IV is unyielding in the amount of hits on its tracklist with songs such as'6'7," featuring Cory Gunz, "John," "How To Love" and 'She Will" featuring Drake all in heavy rotation on radio and selling across the board on the singles charts. Guests on the new album include Jadakissand Drake on "It's Good,' while T-Pain joins Lil Wayne on "How To Hate." Rick Ross, Bun B, Nas, Shyne and Busta Rhymes all round out the guest list. The latter three appear on the triumphant outro. "I wanted to make sure the LP went out with as much intensity as it begins with, so I assembled some of the best spitters in all of world to beat the track up," Wayne says of his album's ending.
The cast of the album's producers feature rising stars such as Snizzy & Keno, Willy Will, Young Fyre, Megaman as well as acclaimed boardsmen Seandrae "Mr. Bangledesh" Crawford, Polow Da Don, Detail and Cool & Dre.
"I really just took my time on this LP," Wayne described. "There were a few different stages, different incarnations on Tha Carter IV. I had a version of the album that I recorded before I went to jail last year. Then when I came home, I decided to start over for the most part. I had so many new ideas, some new outlooks on things. I wanted to give the people my most up to date perceptions of the world and articulation of my life. At this point, I don't think I need to say too much about what the quality of the album is going to be. Just know when you hear about anything named Carter, it's going to be beyond special. My creativity knows no boundaries."
Lil Wayne's adventurous life started out in New Orleans, LA. He was born Dwayne Carter in the Uptown section of Hollygrove. Outside of his family, little Lil Wayne had two loves, sports and music. At age eight, Wayne, wrote his first rhymes and immediately had aspirations of being a professional MC. The next year, Wayne caught the attention of Cash Money Records Co-CEO Bryan "Birdman" Williams and his brotherRonald "Slim" Williams, who were just starting their musical empire independently and had gained a swell of support in their hometown.
The Williams brothers were loved for the music they were putting out. Wayne, determined to follow his dream, approached the brothers one day in a record store with an attempt to catch the attention of his future mentors with his rhymes. Mission accomplished. Not only did Birdman like Weezy's unique rapid fire style, and boldness in the way he delivered his raps, but the youngster's audacious nature impressed the budding mogul. Wayne was immediately welcomed into the family and "adopted" as a son by the Williams brothers. Two years later, at just 11, Wayne would release his first album True Story, a joint effort with label-mate B. G.
In 1997, B. G. and Wayne became a part of one the most influential and lauded hip-hop groups in the history of the culture, The Hot Boys. The foursome, which included Young Turk and Juvenile, not only initiated rap and fashion styles that are still influential today, but the collective, especially Wayne, introduced many slang words and phrases that grew to be a-part of today's pop culture such as "Bling-Bling" and "Drop it like it's hot."
Wayne's breakout from the group happened in 1999, when he released his classic solo debut Block is Hot. The record debuted at # 3 on the Billboard charts and went onto platinum success. After two more successful LPs, Lights Out (2000) and 500 Degreez (2002), Lil Wayne began to elevate from hip-hop superstar to being a genre breaking pop culture megastar which he cemented with rap's most popular and successful series of albums ever, Tha Carter.
As a CEO, Wayne's Young Money Entertainment has become the premier brand in music. No other company has been able to break the amount of new acts with the success of Wayne. His franchise players Drake and Nicki Minaj both became household names in 2010 when both of their LPs Thank Me Later and Pink Friday respectfully debuted at the top of the charts and went on to become multi-platinum. Wayne himself went multi-platinum last year, twice, despite being incarcerated for most of the year. The fans clamored for his releases Rebirth and I Am Not A Human Being.
Tha Carter series (Tha Carter in 2004, Tha Carter II in 2005, Tha Carter III in 2008) has seen Wayne, a four time Grammy winner, elevate artistically and his status as the biggest name in music continues to grow. This year Lil Wayne alone was named one of Forbes Magazine's top earning rap stars, Rolling Stone Magazine's "Hip-Hop Kings," and he recently performed on MTV Network's coveted and legendary "Unplugged" series. "Every time you hear a Carter album, just know that it is a culmination of my life both musically and professionally up to that point. I've always been honest since my first recordings as a child, but on the Carters, I open up like never before and I feel like I'm at my most ferocious on the mic."
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