News Column

Hit-Boy plans to keep things simple at America's Most Wanted Festival

July 13, 2013

YellowBrix

July 13--At 26 years old, Chauncey "Hit-Boy" Hollis has earned his moniker by collaborating with some of the biggest names in rap and R&B, including Kid Cudi, Justin Bieber and Snoop Lion (formerly Dogg) on numerous chart-topping singles.

He's earned a Grammy award as the producer of Jay-Z and Kanye West's song "N****s in Paris" and become a young entrepreneur as the founder of Hits Since '87 record label.

This summer, he'll perform live alongside rap bad boys Lil Wayne and T.I. as part of the America's Most Wanted Festival, which stops in Scranton on Sunday, July 21.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $101, available at the box office, through Ticketmaster by calling 800-745-3000 or online at www.livenation.com.

The next level

Though Hit-Boy has performed before large crowds at festivals in the past, America's Most Wanted represents the first extended major tour of his career. But that doesn't mean he's nervous about appearing before thousands of fans.

"I'm definitely ready," the hitmaker told The Times-Tribune during a recent phone interview from Toronto, Canada. "I had a talk with A$AP Rocky one day, and he said, 'It doesn't matter if it's five or 5,000, if you're built for it, you're built for it.'"

From his time with Jay-Z and Kanye, whose critically acclaimed album and tour "Watch the Throne" raised the bar on performances, Hit-Boy has his aspirations.

"I got to see 'Watch the Throne' and it was so inspiring. I hope to be on that level one day," the southern California native said.

For now, Hit-Boy plans to deliver a much more simplistic show, which presents his music honestly.

"One hundred percent, it's youthful essence, going and having a lot of fun, laying it all out onstage," he said of his live show. "I definitely want people to be more attuned to the music, the sonics of the music, what it sounds like. I'm not doing a big production. I want them to feel the music.

"I hope to have a show where (Lil) Wayne might want to stand and watch," Hit-Boy added. "I will be doing crazy productions one day, but right now, we're just getting our feet wet. This is going to be the grind."

Hit-Boy has earned critical and peer respect with his production work for other artists, but touring to support his own music and message is the next step for him.

"I put my personality and real life into my music. I talk about growing up in the Inland Empire, which is like the biggest county in the world," he said. "I try to make people aware of where I'm from and who I am.

"I want people to get to know me as a musician in general ... equally respect my artist side and my production side," he explained. "It is my thoughts and ideas. I definitely want people in tune to me being a normal kid from nowhere making it out there.

"People laugh when I say this, but I've already worked with every name I had my eyes on when I first started making beats," Hit-Boy said, citing Beyonce, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Kanye West.

With Hits Since '87, he's trying to help make names for a new crop of talent he believes is the future of music.

"I'm focused on youth, on myself as an artist, my own label," he said.

Constantly evolving

As far as his music stylings go, Hit-Boy isn't looking to move in the same direction as his past successes, or any certain direction at all, for that matter. He just wants to create something fresh and different that he can be proud of.

"It automatically evolves. Even with beats, trying to make new kinds of sounds, it'll change by default. I'm all about quality, whatever it is. I have rappers, R&B artists, and we're trying to push music and what we do," he said.

No matter how successful he's already become, or who he gets to share studio time with, there's one thing that performing live gives Hit-Boy that can't be matched.

"To see faces that you've never seen before and people know your lyrics, that's an unreal feeling," he said. "For these people to know your lyrics is an amazing thing."

Contact the writer: pwilding@timesshamrock.com, @pwildingTT on TwitterIf you go

What: America's Most Wanted Festival starring Lil Wayne and T.I., featuring Hit-Boy, Tyga, G-Eazy

When: Sunday, July 21, at 7 p.m.

Where: Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain

Details: Tickets are $25 to $101 and are available at the box office, through Ticketmaster by calling 800-745-3000 or online at www.livenation.com.

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(c)2013 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)

Visit The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.) at thetimes-tribune.com

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