It begins with charisma, smooth like the finest of Harlem's hustlers and it continues with flow; laid back yet confident, like the finest of ghetto storytellers. Now, check the resume: a new artist with a #1 R&B/ hip-hop single of the year, both on the charts and in the clubs off of the most notoriously successful hip-hop label of all time. Put it all together and what do you have? An artist ready to present himself to the world with a force and a swagger that could only have been nurtured in Harlem USA. A talent, that's ready to blow. Yeah, you know the name. Loon. The brother who needed a girl - not once, but twice. Loon. The brother with the slick Harlem style and suave lyrical delivery. Loon. The young gifted and black brother that's poised to take on the industry like a true Bad Boy. Loon did more than spit memorable rhymes on "I Need A Girl Pt. 1" & "I Need A Girl Pt. 2," he articulated the thoughts of a man for whom this story needs little introduction: Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
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No stranger to the streets or the industry, Loon's been on the come up for some time now. A Harlem baby from the Espinard Houses who "turned protecting cats into a business," as well as being the son of Carol Hawkins and William "Hamburger" Hughley, the real-life Bonnie & Clyde team that ran 116th Street like a true-to-the-game super-couple, Loon's been repping the streets. Don't let the love songs fool ya.
Loon isn't a new jack in this game either. In 1996, Loon was signed to Tommy Boy Records as a member of the two-man group Crime Family. Flash forward three years later and enter Harlem World, a rap collective put together by Mase under Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label. Packaged as a Harlem-fueled set of super-friends who could spit, but because of Mase's decision to become a man of the cloth and get out of the business, the crew fizzled out before they ever really took off. But for the brother who wrote more than half the rhymes on Harlem World's album, there was no time or use for crying over spilt milk.
That same year Loon landed another deal, one that had been waiting for him since before the Harlem World debacle, from none other than Clive Davis. No sooner than a lead single was chosen (featuring background vocals by an as-yet-unheard songstress Alicia Keys), Clive left. Down and out, lesser artists would have crumbled. Three strikes and your out, right? Wrong. Harlem's Bad Boy is back with a vengeance and ready to do the damn thing.
Toting fifteen songs of pure Bad Boy hip-hop, Loon's debut album doesn't need a catchy slogan or flashy name to get your attention. Done with the skill passion and commitment expected from one of Harlem's finest, the album shines all on its own, all on the strength of Loon. The joint is self titled because it is Loon. All Loon. And really, that's all that needs to be said.
"How You Want That," the jump off single featuring Kelis is a fierce track full of energy that cockily brings things back to the party vibe of '97. Flipping an old-school Schooly D beat, the cut is a DJ's dream and a definite club banger. "Relax Your Mind" (tk) mixes things up laying some fresh Asian bells and handclaps over a thumping bass line creating the perfect backdrop for Loon's shit-talkin' verbals. Touching on themes closer to home, "Don't Wanna Die" is a story of three different people, in three different life-and-death situations. With keen insight, Loon describes his characters' moments of transition with a dexterity that can only come from real-life experiences. Similar life experiences also drive "Like A Movie" featuring new-jack Akon and the funny "Not That Guy" to their witty but oh-so-true conclusions.
"The legacy of Harlem is what triggered and motivated me to become an artist," says Loon. "If I'm going to do this, that's what I'm going to rep." And that's exactly what he does on the blazing old-school feel-good jam "I'll Be There" featuring Carl Thomas. And best believe heads - old and new- will be bouncing to Loon's remake of the Guy classic "I Like". And yes, Aaron Hall is on the record.
Loon reps for all the ballers, pimps, players, and entertainers who never bow out. Ridin' as the first artist on next-generation Bad Boy. Rockin' for the neighbourhood and culture that he calls his own - minus the drama.
Loon, the album is as suave charming and laid back as is Loon, the man. Not lost in the hype or bright lights is the heart of a hustler born and raised in Harlem and the soul of man destined to shine. "I'm gonna get money. I'm from Harlem. Ours is a 24/7 hustle. Gimme an inch, I'm taking a yard. Gimme a rope, I'm a cowboy…" Give him a self-titled album, and it's a wrap.
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