LOON, HIP-HOP STAR, actor, P. Diddy protégé and multi platinum selling R&B artist, was in Dubai for the first time ever on Friday to perform at The Mix, Grand Hyatt Hotel for Thanksgiving celebrations held there to mark the holiday.
Loon, real name Chauncey Lamont Hawkins, is a musician and actor who has starred in movies such as ‘State Property’ and ‘Death of a Dynasty’. He has collaborated with Usher, J-Lo, Mary J. Blige, Pharrell, Timberland, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly, Jamie Foxx, and a whole host of other renowned names from the hip-hop scene. He is probably best known for his hits with Usher ‘I Need A Girl Pt. 1’ and ‘Smile For Me’, his track with Sean Diddy Combs, ‘Down for Me’, and the single featuring Kelis & Mario Winans, ‘I Wanna Know’. Loon’s personal life appears to attract as much attention as his professional career. His feuds with other rappers notably Mase, 40 Cal and Jim Jones have led to derogatory songs being released by all parties about each other and an alleged assault in a barber shop in New York between Loon and 40 Cal. Despite these incidents Loon continues to produce his music and his second CD ‘No Friends’ was independently released in the US last October and has sold over 450,000 copies.
City Times caught up with Loon whilst he was in the UAE for his debut performance to give us an insight into the day-to-day life of a rapper.
I came to Dubai to make up for a missed performance and to embrace the new growing country.
Is this your first time in the Middle East? What is your impression of the place?
No. I love the Middle East. These are my brothers and sisters.
In your own words could you describe the tunes you write and perform? What is your inspiration behind them?
I create music that reflects the brighter side of my life and life in general. My inspiration is the experiences I’ve had with women all over the world.
You’ve collaborated with some huge stars; who was the most exciting person to work with?
I had a wonderful time working with Lenny Kravitz on the ‘Show me Soul’ video shoot.
Is there anyone else you would like to work with?
Yes, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Keisha Cole, Kanye West and Bono!
How would you describe yourself?
Very down-to-earth, straightforward, full of life and faith.
Is there any message you try to get out there with your music?
The message is just the delivery of good music.
What does your typical day involve?
Exercise, song writing, screenplay writing and playing on my Xbox 360!
What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
Coming to the Middle East in a time of war.
What is your ultimate ambition?
To increase my faith in Islam, raise my children with the same knowledge and understanding, marry the love of my life and become a very powerful man.
Do you think R&B and hip-hop have reached their pinnacle of popularity or do you think there is more to come?
There is so much more to come. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Why do you think these genres of music have become so popular?
Because it came from the streets, which is considered the lowest form of society and it is now a billion dollar industry. Just shows that the sky’s the limit.
What is on your Ipod?
T.I., Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Coldplay, Britney Spears, Ginuwine’s second album, Keisha Cole, Young Jeezy, and myself. There’s a mixture of old and new.
If you could only listen to five songs for the rest of your life what would they be?
‘Love Lockdown’, ‘Lollipop’, ‘One More Chance’ remix, ‘I Love the Dough’ Biggie ft. Jay Z and ‘Like a Movie’ on my solo album ‘Bad Boy’.
Where do you go from here?
To Abidjan, I’m building a music school there. Then I go back to the States to finish working on ‘The Miracle Project’ (a music project for autistic children). Then last but not least I am in the final stages of completing my new album on my new label, SMG music, which is also the label behind the Miracle Project album ‘FLY- into the world of Autism’. This features duets with children with autism and some of the world’s greatest entertainers.
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