Jon Bellion Talks “The Definition,” Kanye, and Shaking The Shit Out of Artists


Not everyone can drop out of college and go on to become a mega successful recording artist. There is, of course Kanye West- and before long, especially after dropping his latest album, there will also be Suffolk County’s own, Jon Bellion. We recently met up with the hip-hop groomed, singer-songwriter between him trending on Twitter and his lunch (no big deal) to get the scoop on his journey from the classroom to the studio (with a short stint at a catering service somewhere in between). For a young artist who is responsible for making, as he’d put it, “possibly the best music ever,” Jon’s energetic passion, evolving style (shout out to Stephanie Singer) and fucking expensive music-videos are bound to work in perfect harmony to make him one of the most promising artists of this era.

The Definition

What does Lake Grove mean to Jon Bellion?
Ha! Oh man. I’ve been there my whole life. Things have been going well, I guess, financially and career wise. So people are always like, “You must be chillin’ in The Hills somewhere with all the guap that you got, now!” I just moved into my parent’s basement. Me and two of my homies sort of bought the bottom half of the house from my parents. I like being around my family. I don’t want to move out yet. And the basement’s so huge. I renovated it and put a studio in it and all that stuff. So its like, I get everything I want, you know. My parents are right upstairs but we soundproofed the whole thing so I can bang out, make music, do what I have to do all night and nobody’s bothered. It’s funny. People are always like, “where do you live now?” [I respond] “I live at home.” “What do you do for a living?” [I respond] “I make music.” They’re like, “oh yea, sure. I’m sure you’re really killin’ the game right now.”
But do you think that keeps you grounded? Being at home with your family and your friends?
Without a doubt. My family; they would slap me if anything ever got out of hand.
Switching gears for a second. You can actually spit.
You can rap. It’s no joke. What do you attribute your hip-hop influence to?
I grew up to just hip-hop, especially in high school. That’s really all I listened to. My brother’s 10 years older than me and he used to listen to a lot of rap. That’s why I say, in Preoccupied, “Wu-Tang raised me but Death Cab changed me. You should go and ask Rihanna if the pen game’s crazy. My artistry is everything. That’s my baby. But when it comes to publishing, fuck you, pay me.” The bars kind of give you exactly what it is. A lot of people say, “Why don’t you rap more?” That’s all I get from tweets. I’ve been rapping forever. Back in college I was cyphering. I went to a music school and it was all rappers. My homie, Blaque Keyz, who’s on "Preoccupied." I met him in college. We used to spit all the time together. But I think Childish Gambino said it recently. “Rap is kind of like Jazz. It’s dead as fuck.” We have to have Kanye go on stage and scream and do weird shit to keep rap relevant. We all love hip-hop. I love hip-hop. There’s nothing wrong with it. But at the end of the day there’s a reason why Drake’s winning. Like hash-tag, capitalized winning. It’s because he’s like, [sings melodically] “Just hold on we’re going home,” (but) he’s a rapper. He might have written it in 15 minutes, but still. You can’t boom bap 90’s hip-hop. It’s been done a million times. How many white, suburban kids are trying to take over the Internet and be a rapper? I’d rather do something relatively progressive. I’m on 2DopeBoyz and PopCrush. That speaks volumes as to what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to push through.
Absolutely. Speaking of rap and Kanye. I’m going to get you to finish a line for me.
“Told ‘em I finished school and I started my own business. They said oh you graduated?...”
Ah! I don’t know. What is it?
“No I decided I was finished”
Oh yea, yea! Yes. Without a doubt. Ha!
Which is from Kanye’s, College Dropout. Of, course. Of, course.
Kanye’s influence, and correct me if I’m wrong, had a literal effect on your life. You went to school. And left. What fears did you have, going from college to deciding, “you know what I’m going to pursue music full time.”
I had a dream one morning that I was going to drop out of school. So I did. That day. That’s literally what happened. I called my father and was like, “I’m dropping out of school.” He was like, “okay.” “You’re not living at home unless you get a full time job.” So I did. I got a job at a catering hall for six days a week. Crumbing tables, the whole nine. But I would work on beats and make songs everyday as an obsessive hobby kind of thing. I wouldn’t say it was nerve-racking. I’m not really an anxiety-ridden person. I try to keep it as just crisis-in-control and that’s how it goes down; you know?
The more I realize that putting Christ first and just relying. He’s literally in control of everything. Like today, I’m sitting in traffic. I’m an hour late. Spotify leaked the album. All of this is going on. (exhales) It’s a crisis-in-control. I got a lot in the bank, my family’s healthy, I love my parents, and we’re good.
From the time I was introduced to your music to now, I see you as the guy who is crushing the music-video game.
And you co-direct these, right? Where do you get the ideas and the budget to do this shit?
Ha! I’ve been making my own videos since all the way back to Dead Man Walking. And a lot of the videos I hate. A lot of those songs I hate. I’m the type of person who likes to look realistically at what’s going on. My first two albums; they were phenomenal introductions to who I was. They’re great. It’s like, “he’s experimental, he’s positive, he’s great!” “He’s doing something cool.” But I didn’t expect, and it didn’t happen, to get on the Complex’s. I didn’t expect for Fader to pick me up because the music wasn’t good enough yet. I’m just that realistic of a person. This third album is destroying, everybody! But its not coming from a place of, “here’s my first album.” “This is the best album ever made.” Because that’s not realistic. I dropped “Munny Right” and then all the blogs just came out of nowhere like, “We’d love to premiere everything!” And I’m not going to say, “Fuck you because you didn’t fuck with me in the beginning,” because my records weren’t good enough in the beginning. Now my records are dope as shit. But that’s how strongly I feel about this third album. Sorry went on a tangent.
Ha! All good.
But with the videos, I signed to a label after my first mixtape. I signed a major deal after my fist mixtape.
They gave me a huge budget for these videos but I paid for half of it myself, through my songwriting. And I also wanted to prove a point and stick up for other artists out there. People think that, “oh he signed to a label. He sold out.” Now when I tell people that I’ve been signed to a label for about a year and half, two years, when my first album came out, and I’ve done all this on my own, organically. And I still stayed in creative control. It’s the age of cosign and the age of blogs. That’s why I was like; “Yo I just gotta get nice enough to where all the blogs take me.” Then I’ll work on my single. Then I’ll go to radio. I needed to make The Definition to prove to everybody that I’m better at making music than 99.999 percent of the people on the planet. But the first two albums didn’t prove that. This album, I feel, does.
Another thing I’ve noticed in your videos is the progression of your style. How important is style to you? Because I peeped those furry Margielas.
How much thought do you put into that?
For Simple and Sweet, especially, where the furry Margielas are, there’s a stylist named (Stephanie) Singer. She calls herself Singer Blinger. She’s been phenomenal. She’s a very close homie of mine. We just shared style interests and talked. And she picked a bunch of outfits for me. She’s great. That was where the furry Margielas came up. She actually copped those for me because she had connections. She was dope like that.
She crushed it.
I used to not care about style…at all. On my first, first, first album I was saying, “fashion’s a chore to me. I’m partying in mocassins.”I guess, as I got older, shapes and colors and designs, I realized, were all a part of music as well. So video aesthetics and colors and style and all of these things started to really be integrated into my life. And now it’s become a big part of me. I’m way more conscious about what I’m wearing, just to express myself. Plus there’s a little more money in the bank so it’s fun to experiment and wear what I want to wear.
Having released The Definition, your biggest album to date, what do you see happening for your career? Are you letting things happen organically or are there plans?
You can plan things to a certain degree. Today we trended (on Twitter) in 8 minutes. It was a United States trend. The Definition. Then we were trending world wide for a little bit. But I’m not going to say, “Okay we’re going to trend on this day.” The only thing you can plan on, I guess, from me, is that I’ll always try to creatively beat myself out. So whatever you feel about this project, just know I’m going to try to push something further on the next project. I’m going to be shedding artistic skin. Plan wise, I don’t know. I just found out we sold out, literally, half of the venues and there’s like 10 tickets left at each venue. It’s my first tour ever!
I have to get, at least, one of those 10.
Ha! I can get you tickets for sure. We sold out highline ballroom 56 days before the show. The kids care. Whatever happens happens. I’m going on with the band, Perry for four days just because they heard a joint that I did with Audra Mae called, Luxury. As a thank you for her making the record I did a record for her. I produced the whole record.
At this point in our interview, the building’s doorman kicked us out of the private conference room for taking photos. After promising we’d stop shooting and bargaining time for lunch over the next week, we bought ourselves 15 minutes to wrap up. The interview continued with…
Ha! That guy wasn’t fuckin’ around! Considering all of today’s positive energy from releasing The Definition and prepping for The Beautiful Mind Tour, I know your phone has to be blowing up. Give me the best tweet or text message you’ve read so far.
We had a girl send an email to my manager and didn’t think it was going to be read. It was a nine-page thing about how, from when she found me until now, my music stopped her from killing herself. With that being said, I don’t even like that, myself. Knowing that people look toward us, as artists. I have the most culturally relevant album in the last 5 years. If you pay for an album, even though mine is free, you’re not going to find a better album than mine this year. At the end of the day, though, this whole music fishbowl of importance, that we’re living in (and) this (notion of), “I’m important, look at me! I have answers that these guys don’t have so follow me. I have answers and I’m going to give you answers to life. I’m a god.” Man, I’m not going to be relevant forever. From a 1-10 I just hit a 2 in my career. That’s fine; I have a whole 8 steps to go. People try to make God something else so that when they finally get it they shake the shit out of it and say be my, God. I don’t want to be anybody’s, God. I’m not a god. I serve a God and a God that loves me and I think is going to take care of me when I pass away. But for the time being, don’t shake the shit out of me and ask me to be your, God because I don’t want that. Happiness is completely relative. Ask God to give you what you need. Don’t ask me, don’t ask Jay-Z. Don’t ask Kanye West. None of that shit. I’ll be the guy on the other side of the fence reporting to the fans, saying, “I’m seeing the whole thing, I know artists, I know they’re depressed, I now they’re ready to kill themselves.” I’m contradictory. I talk about God, but I also say I’m the best. Humans, by nature, are contradictory. Don’t shake the shit out of something and expect it to be your God, once you get it, because it’s going to let you down. Whether it’s money, your wife, (or) your family. You can’t put your faith in artists. Don’t put your faith in me because I’m not going to come through like that. I can provide some great music for you. Possibly the best music ever. But when it comes to real life shit, no one cares. Jim Morrison, all the way ‘til me. From “The Beatles,” ‘til now. Everybody is trying to play, God. We’re not. I’m not. Nobody else is.

Words: Taj Reed

We also see Margot Robbie take on Sharon Tate

The new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gives a look at the Manson Family. In the previous clip, we saw Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio at their funniest. Now, we get to see Margot Robbie take on actress Sharon Tate, Lena Dunham become a cult member, and how the fictional and real-life story lines will intersect in the film.

Per a press release, the film—that follows a fictional story set around the time of the real-life Manson murders—"visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore."

In this clip, after being introduced to Dalton and Booth, viewers get to see how the latter ends up mingling with the Manson Family. As Booth picks up a girl (Margaret Qualley) on the side of the road, he unknowingly welcomes a Manson family member into his life and begins to visit their ranch. The fiction and real-life stories intersect when we find out that Dalton lives next store to Tate, who was murdered by the members of Charles Manson's cult in 1969.

Watch the new trailer for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood ahead of its July 26 theatrical release, below.


Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.

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Photo by Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images.

Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.